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.

This session reviews an outbreak investigation conducted in a mega hotel in Jamaica. Along the way, we discover gaps in the investigation process, describe challenges in disease surveillance, and determine the barriers to effective outbreak prevention and control.

See how the existing regulations stack up against changing trends in the tourism sector and possible remedies for the shortcomings. Use this case study to identify the emerging challenges and possible solutions in your outbreak investigation process before they happen.

July 2015
Taraleen Malcolm, PhD, MPH, CP-FS; Sylvanus Thompson, MS, PhD, CPHI
Potential CE Credits: 1.00
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Food safety in hospitals is important to protect patients whose immunity may be compromised by their illness. The safety of food served to patients is dependent on its handling acquisition of raw food items, to preparation, packaging and distribution. The study described in this article assessed the knowledge and food handling practices of nurses in the food chain to patients in the hospital wards. The mean age of respondents was 33.7±9.3 years and 180 (56.6%) had worked in the hospital for 1–5 years. While respondents had good knowledge scores overall, only 22 (6.5%) knew the correct temperature for maintaining hot, ready-to-eat food. Also, 332 (97.6%) respondents knew the importance of hand washing before handling food while 279 (84.1%) always wash hands before handling food. The study revealed a decline in performance over time, from knowledge and attitudes to practice in food handling. Therefore, regular training on safe food handling procedures should be mainstreamed into the training curriculum of staff nurses in health care institutions.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 32-38
Aluko Olufemi Oludare, Abiodun Ogundipe, Abimbola Odunjo, Janet Komolafe
Additional Topics A to Z: Institutions / Schools

Marijuana use has been legalized in some form in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Most of the laws limit prosecution of users, but are silent when discussing the affect on the EH regulatory community. This session will explore the impacts legalized marijuana has already had and will continue to have on the EH community.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Emerging Environmental Health


On July 9, 2013, an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) was identified at Long-Term Care Facility A in central Ohio. This article describes the investigation of the outbreak and identification of the outbreak source, a cooling tower using an automated biocide delivery system. In total, 39 outbreak LD cases were identified; among these, six patients died. Water samples from a cooling tower were positive for Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1, reactive to monoclonal antibody 2, with matching sequence type to a patient isolate. An electronic control system turned off cooling tower pumps during low-demand periods, preventing delivery of disinfectant by a timed-release system, and leading to amplification of Legionella in the cooling tower. Guidelines for tower maintenance should address optimal disinfection when using automated systems.

December 2015
December 2015
78.5 | 8-13
Celia Quinn, MPH, MD, Alicia Demirian, MMSc, MD; Louise Francois Watkins, MPH, MD; and Sara Tomczyk, MSc, PHN, Claressa Lucas, PhD; Ellen Brown; Natalia Kozak-Muiznieks, PhD; and Laurel E. Garrison, MPH, Jasen Kunz, MPH
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks


Lung cancer is largely preventable by eliminating tobacco smoke and radon exposure. This exploratory study assessed the relationships of demographic factors, including having one or more smokers living in the household, and a) lung cancer worry and b) completion of home screening for radon and secondhand smoke (SHS) among renters. A convenience sample of renters (N = 47) received free test kits for radon and SHS as part of a larger study. Demographic factors, lung cancer worry, and completion of home testing were assessed at baseline. The sample was mostly Caucasian (68%), female (62%), and educated beyond high school (70%). The average age was 43 years (SD = 15), and roughly half lived with at least one smoker (49%). Gender, race/ethnicity, education, and whether they had smokers in the home accounted for 35% of the variability in lung cancer worry, F(4, 42) = 5.6, p = .001. Lung cancer worry was associated with lower level of education, b = 0.77; SE(b) = 0.32, and having at least one smoker living in the home, b = 0.71; SE(b) = 0.31. Renters tested their homes for radon and SHS whether they had smokers in the home or not. Constructing and delivering educational messages that target low-educated populations may promote radon testing and smoke-free homes.

January 2017
January/February 2017
79.6 | 8-13
Ellen J. Hahn, PhD, RN, FAAN, Marissa Hooper, RN, Carol Riker, MSN, RN, Karen M. Butler, DNP, RN


This study compared the effectiveness of using a commercially available robotic mop versus hand mopping as the second step of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recommended three-step vacuum–mop–vacuum process to remove lead dust debris from residential floors. A total of 1,703 floors were cleaned using the robotic mop. Lead dust wipe tests from these floors were compared with 995 lead dust wipe tests for floors cleaned with hand mopping. Analysis of the dust wipes showed that cleaning floors with a robotic mop resulted in a clearance failure rate significantly lower than that obtained by cleaning floors by hand (4.8% versus 10.0%; p < .05). The use of newer technologies like robotic mops can help improve the efficiency and thoroughness of floor-cleaning efforts, as well as decrease costs associated with re-cleaning floors following regulated renovations.

September 2016
September 2016
79.2 | 8-12
Lisa Smestad, REHS, Alexander Vollmer, REHS, Jennifer Tschida, REHS, Angeline Carlson, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Our increasingly globalized food supply means that contamination problems originating in remote regions of the world can rapidly impact communities in the United States of America. During this panel-type session, the presenters will review: the Federal effort to establish Rapid Response Teams; State efforts to implement the RRT concept; and state and local efforts to build capacity for response using innovative, less costly training approaches. Lessons learned during RRT implementation and the first year of a unique training pilot project in Michigan (funded by FDA grant under the Food Safety Modernization Act) will be presented, and the progress being made to better integrate local, state, and federal food emergency response capabilities. You will learn new approaches to coordinated response and leave this session with strategies you can implement at your agency for building capacity to respond to food emergencies even with shrinking budgets.

July 2015
John Tilden, MPH; Paul S. Makoski, RS, MPA; Matthew R. Ettinger, MS
Potential CE Credits: 2.00