Topics A to Z

As part of NEHA's continuos effort to provide convenient access to information and resources, we have gathered together for you the links in this section. Our mission is "to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all,” as well as to educate and inform those outside the profession.


Researchers from Oregon State and Louisiana State Universities convened a diverse gathering of leaders of Gulf Coast regional nongovernmental organizations, regulatory agencies, residents, and researchers to examine events following environmental disasters. The overall goals of the workshop were to develop unique findings from participant experiences that could be beneficial and to offer specific recommendations for the improvement of response, recovery, and resilience in future disasters. We examined three topics related to enhancing resilience to environmental disasters: rapid response for characterizing exposure; recovery and the role of the citizen scientist; and increased resilience with community participation. The participants shared their experiences and recommended solutions including increased training for citizen scientists, expanded use of innovative sampling technologies, and greater sharing of environmental conditions and information among stakeholders and agencies postevent. The recommendations will improve future response and recovery efforts, and should strengthen communities by supporting key theoretical attributes of resilience.

September 2017
September 2017
80.2 | 8-15
Margaret A. Reams, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, Louisiana State University, Anna K. Harding, PhD, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Wilma Subra, MS, Subra Company, Inc., Nina S. N. Lam, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, Louisiana State University

Pioneering, award-winning work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, UK has demonstrated the remarkable residual antimicrobial activity of chlorhexidine on surfaces, thereby maintaining their continuous cleanliness over time.

In this school-setting trial, we demonstrate significant improvements in continuous cleanliness of restroom door handles. We discuss the possible benefits of applying this simple, inexpensive technique beyond clinical and office environments.

July 2015
Peter Young, MD; and Holly Young
Potential CE Credits: 1.00
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks


Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) in Indianapolis, Indiana, was awarded funding in 2009 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Healthy Homes Demonstration Grant Program as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This funding is currently supporting activities addressing health and safety hazards in homes of low- and very low-income residents living in an urban community within Marion County with an extensive history of heavy industry and lead smelting. One portion of this grant is being used to fund IRB-approved research conducted by MCPHD for the period of the grant. Development and implementation of this study has provided both unique challenges and positive opportunities for study participants, MCPHD, and community stakeholders. The following commentary provides insight into the benefits and rewards of implementing a successful study process, as well as challenges in implementing a community-based research study for the first time in a preexisting Healthy Homes Demonstration Grant Program health department.

July 2016
July/August 2016
79.1 | 20-23
Juanita Ebert Brand, MSN, EdD, RN, WHNP-BC, Virginia A. Caine, MD, Jo Rhodes, MSG, HHS, CRT, Jason Ravenscroft, MPH, REHS, CHMM

Article Abstract

Water quality of rooftop-collected rainwater is an issue of increased interest particularly in developing countries where the collected water is used as a source of drinking water. Bacteriological and chemical parameters of 25 samples of rooftop-harvested rainwater stored in ferrocement tanks were analyzed in the study described in this article. Except for the pH and lower dissolved oxygen levels, all other physicochemical parameters were within World Health Organization guidelines. Bacteriological results revealed that the rooftop-harvested rainwater stored in tanks does not often meet the bacteriological quality standards prescribed for drinking water. Fifty percent of samples of harvested rainwater for rural and urban community use and 20% of the samples for individual household use showed the presence of E. coli. Fecal coliform/fecal streptococci ratios revealed nonhuman animal sources of fecal pollution. Risk assessment of bacterial isolates from the harvested rainwater showed high resistance to ampicillin, erythromycin, penicillin, and vancomycin. Multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) indexing of the isolates and elucidation of the resistance patterns revealed that 73% of the isolates exhibited MAR.


Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 114-121
A.A. Mohamed Hatha, PhD, Y. Jesmi, MPhil, K.M. Mujeeb Rahiman, PhD, Lal Deepu, MSc
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water

In the study described in this article, the concentrations of metals (cadmium, copper, chromium, aluminum, lead, nickel, zinc, cobalt, manganese, and iron) in samples of some commonly used hair dyes and tattoo inks were determined with a view to providing information on the hazards associated with the use of these products. The concentrations of metals were measured after nitric acid/perchloric acid/hydrogen peroxide digestion by atomic absorption spectrometry. Results indicated that the tattoo ink samples contained allergenic metals such as nickel, chromium, and cobalt at concentrations above the suggested  limit of 1 µg/g for greater skin protection, and the toxic metals were below their respective prescribed limits, as impurities in ingredients for use for cosmetics, in the majority of the samples.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 26-30
Chukwujindu M.A. Iwegbue, Sunday O. Onyeloni, Francisca I. Bassey, Godswill O. Tesi
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Motor vehicle crashes (MVC) are the leading cause of death from severe injuries on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (PRIR), averaging 16 MVC deaths per year from 2002 to 2011. The Sacred Cargo Coalition was established in PRIR in 2007 to implement intervention strategies to increase seat belt usage and reduce MVC fatalities, including seat belt law enforcement, creating a traffic court system, and educational campaigns on MVC prevention. The study described in this article examined the effectiveness of the interventions on increasing the seat belt usage rates and reducing MVC deaths. Secondary data were collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal and local agencies. Seat belt usage rates increased an average of 6.8 percentage points from 2007 (10%) to 2012 (44%). MVC fatalities decreased by 46.7% from the preintervention to the intervention period. Maintenance and improvement of the intervention strategies may be achieved by seeking additional funding and including appropriate engineering activities in PRIR.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 46-52
Joseph Amiotte, MSEH, REHS, Jo Anne Balanay, PhD, CIH, Charles Humphrey, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Injury Prevention

Article Abstract

Handheld temperature and relative humidity (T/RH) meters are commonly used in residential indoor air surveys. Although popular, T/RH meters are prone to sensor drift and consequent loss of accuracy, and thus instrument manufacturers often recommend annual calibration and adjustment. Field-use conditions, however, have been shown to accelerate electronic sensor drift in outdoor applications, resulting in out-of-tolerance measurements in less than one year. In the study described in this article, sensor drift was evaluated under residential field use for 30 handheld T/RH meters to predict needed calibration intervals based on hierarchical linear modeling. Instruments were used in 43 home visits over a 93-day period and were calibrated (without adjustment) 49 times over the study period with a laboratory standard. Analysis of covariance showed significant drift among temperature sensors for all three instrument types (p < .0001) and among humidity sensors in two instruments. The authors’ study suggests calibration frequency should be based on instrument performance under specific sampling conditions rather than on predetermined time intervals.

October 2014
77.3 |
Scott A. Bernhardt, Scott C. Collingwood, Kyle Mumford, Dennis Eggett
Additional Topics A to Z: Ambient Air