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.

Drinking groundwater is a significant pathway for human exposure to heavy metals. To evaluate the health effect of some heavy metals ingestion through the groundwater drinking pathway, the authors collected 35 groundwater samples from the drinking water wells of local residents and the exploitation wells of waterworks in Baotou, China. The monitoring results indicate that the groundwater had been polluted by heavy metals in some regions of the study area. A health risk assessment model derived from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was used to determine the noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic effects to residents who drink groundwater. All the respondents in the study area were at potential risk of carcinogenic health effects from arsenic when using the lowest safe standard for carcinogenic risk (1E-06). The hazard quotient values for noncarcinogenic health risk of arsenic exceeded 1 in 14.3% of the sampling wells in the study area. The research results could provide baseline data for groundwater utilization and supervision in the Baotou plain area.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 84-90
Liping Bai, Yeyao Wang, Yongli Guo, Youya Zhou
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water

Ebola virus disease presents a frank and obvious health risk to international aid workers in West Africa. More mundane health and safety threats such as malaria, typhoid fever, or vehicle accidents remain despite the disease outbreak. See how environmental health professionals, who are uniquely equipped to address occupational, environmental, health and safety risks, and risk communication, can respond to international health emergencies. This presentation will illustrate the EH role in response to the West African Ebola outbreak.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Emergency Preparedness


The increasing popularity of powdered shake mixes as nutritional supplements or convenient meal replacements, combined with the complex formulations incorporating multiple ingredients of unknown origin in many of these products, might pose public health risks because of possible contamination with harmful substances such as heavy metals. Our aim was to determine levels of four heavy metals in a select group of popular powdered protein and botanical shake mixes purchased from local stores specializing in sales of whole/organic foods. To measure levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead, analyses using inductively coupled plasma dynamic reaction cell mass spectrometry were performed. In 56% of the products individually tested, metal levels for one daily serving exceeded the daily thresholds and standards recommended by various regulatory agencies, particularly for rice-based shakes. This study highlights that commercial shake mixes can be a significant source of exposure to toxic heavy metals and emphasizes the need for consumers to limit their exposures to these metals.  

November 2017
November 2017
80.4 | 8-14
Christine F. Skibola, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jianqing Zhang, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jacques E. Riby, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Do you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data collection that must be done for your programs to fulfill state or federal reporting mandates?

July 2015
Elise Rothschild, REHS/RS; Darryl Booth
Potential CE Credits: 1.00
Additional Topics A to Z: General Environmental Health


Many studies have found that the cleanliness of hotel rooms has a great impact on hotel guest satisfaction. Relatively little attention, however, has been given to the comprehensive guest experience related to cleanliness. This study focuses on the cleanliness of hotel room key cards as a source of contamination for guest hands and assesses the contamination of hotel key cards collected from 25 hotels using an adenosine triphosphate meter, a way to rapidly detect actively growing microorganisms. Results expand knowledge about hotel cleaning practices and appropriate handling of hotel room key cards. Implications and suggestions for practitioners are discussed.

September 2017
September 2017
80.2 | 16-19
Haeik Park, PhD, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, Jooho Kim, PhD, James Madison University, Mengyu Zhang, Purdue University, Barbara Almanza, PhD, RD, Purdue University
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Chuck Lichon, R.S., M.P.H., Deputy Health Officer at District Health Department #2 in Michigan, developed a Children’s Environmental Health Power Point Program with the financial assistance of the Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI.  The Power Points are approximately 25-35 minutes in length, allowing for a presentation to be made during one classroom setting, or to be used for a community presentation, allowing time for Q & A.  Some of the topics include: Sunwise, Body Art, Household Hazardous Waste, Meth, Recreational Water, and more.  They are free to download and use for presentations in your school, health department community presentations, or for media use.  Changes in the presentations should not be made without consent from the author, and/or the NEHA Board of Directors.  

The Household Hazardous Waste Collections PowerPoint is available via the link listed below:   

Chuck Lichon, R.S., M.P.H.
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials


Pseudorandomized cluster sampling was used to select households from an initial pool of households geographically clustered in two Michigan counties, Ottawa and Kent. In Ottawa County and Kent County, 17.6% of 346 households sampled were above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) action level for radon (4 pCi/L). In Ottawa County, approximately 22.9% (N = 131) of sampled households exceeded U.S. EPA limits, and in Kent County, approximately 14.4% (N = 215) had indoor radon concentrations greater than U.S. EPA limits. Elevated indoor radon levels are broadly correlative with two bedrock formations, the Marshall and Michigan Formations, and areas where these two bedrock formations are overlain by glacial outwash and postglacial alluvium. More detailed mapping using GIS can help educate and motivate homeowners. This information will inform homeowners of radon risk and allow them to implement preventive measures in cooperation with local health departments and other stakeholders.

October 2017
October 2017
80.3 | 16-20
Azizur R. Molla, MPH, PhD, Grand Valley State University, Peter J. Wampler, PhD, RPG, Grand Valley State University
Additional Topics A to Z: Radon


Current evidence of hotel room cleanliness is based on observation rather than empirically based microbial assessment. The purpose of the study described here was to determine if observation provides an accurate indicator of cleanliness. Results demonstrated that visual assessment did not accurately predict microbial contamination. Although testing standards have not yet been established for hotel rooms and will be evaluated in Part II of the authors’ study, potential microbial hazards included the sponge and mop (housekeeping cart), toilet, bathroom floor, bathroom sink, and light switch. Hotel managers should increase cleaning in key areas to reduce guest exposure to harmful bacteria. 

July 2015
July/August 2015
78.1 | 8-13
Barbara A. Almanza, PhD, RD, Katie Kirsch, Sheryl Fried Kline, PhD, Sujata Sirsat, PhD