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.

Abstract

Private wells throughout central Florida have arsenic levels above the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 µg/L. We conducted a biomonitoring project of residents with wells above the MCL (higher risk) and below 8 µg/L (lower risk) to determine the relative importance of dietary and water sources of arsenic. Urinary arsenic did not differ by risk status, though higher-risk residents were more likely to use bottled or filtered well water as their primary source for drinking, cooking, and brushing teeth. Higher income, home ownership, and more servings of fish, seafood, white rice, and wine were associated with higher urinary arsenic levels. Similar relationships were seen when excluding individuals who consumed fish or seafood within 3 days of sampling. Provision of filters and bottled water to higher-risk households provided protection from arsenic exposure through well water. Diet and lifestyle factors, however, contributed to higher urinary arsenic levels among participants, regardless of household risk status.

October 2017
October 2017
80.3 | 22-32
Kristina W. Kintziger, PhD, Public Health Research Unit, Division of Community Health Promotion, Florida Department of Health, Melissa M. Jordan, MS, Public Health Research Unit, Division of Community Health Promotion, Florida Department of Health, Chris DuClos, MS, GISP, CPM, Public Health Research Unit, Division of Community Health Promotion, Florida Department of Health, Albert C. Gray, MPH, Environmental Health Section, Florida Department of Health in Hernando County
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water

Abstract

In January 2017, during a routine food service inspection at a local medical marijuana dispensary, Coconino County Public Health Services District (Health District) discovered that the dispensary was processing and bottling potentially hazardous food items, including marinara sauce, and selling the product as shelf stable. Prior to distribution, these jarred potentially hazardous foods did not go through any food processing review or testing for biological hazards. These food products posed a danger to consumers. Therefore, the Health District initiated a voluntary recall, which was the first time a medical marijuana-infused food product had been recalled in Arizona.

March 2018
March 2018
80.7 | 8-10
Marlene Gaither, MPA, ME, REHS, Coconino County Public Health Services District, Marie Peoples, PhD, Coconino County Public Health Services District, Randy Phillips, Coconino County Public Health Services District, Trish Lees, Coconino County Public Health Services District

Fumigation techniques such as chlorine dioxide, vaporous hydrogen peroxide, and paraformaldehyde previously used to decontaminate items, rooms, and buildings following contamination with Bacillus anthracis spores are often incompatible with materials (e.g., porous surfaces, organics, and metals), causing damage or residue. Alternative fumigation with methyl bromide is subject to U.S. and international restrictions due to its ozone-depleting properties. Methyl iodide, however, does not pose a risk to the ozone layer and has previously been demonstrated as a fumigant for fungi, insects, and nematodes. Until now, methyl iodide has not been evaluated against Bacillus anthracis. Sterne strain Bacillus anthracis spores were subjected to methyl iodide fumigation at room temperature and at 55°C. Efficacy was measured on a log-scale with a 6-log reduction in CFUs being considered successful compared to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency biocide standard. Such efficacies were obtained after just one hour at 55°C and after 12 hours at room temperature. No detrimental effects were observed on glassware, PTFE O-rings, or stainless steel. This is the first reported efficacy of methyl iodide in the reduction of Bacillus anthracis spore contamination at ambient and elevated temperatures.

September 2015
September 2015
78.2 | 14-19
Mark Sutton, PhD, Staci R. Kane, MS, PhD, Jessica R. Wollard
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Abstract

Although microbial contamination of ice machines has been reported, no previous study has addressed microbial contamination of ice produced by machines equipped with activated charcoal (AC) filters in hospitals. The aim of this study was to provide clinical data for evaluating AC filters to prevent microbial contamination of ice. We compared microbial contamination in ice samples produced by machines with (n = 20) and without an AC filter (n = 40) in Shunan City Shinnanyo Municipal Hospital. All samples from the ice machine equipped with an AC filter contained 10–116 CFUs/g of glucose non-fermenting gram-negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Chryseobacterium meningosepticum. No microorganisms were detected in samples from ice machines without AC filters. After the AC filter was removed from the ice machine that tested positive for Gram-negative bacteria, the ice was re-sampled (n = 20). Analysis found no contaminants. Ice machines equipped with AC filters pose a serious risk factor for ice contamination. New filter-use guidelines and regulations on bacterial detection limits to prevent contamination of ice in healthcare facilities are necessary.

June 2016
June 2016
78.10 | 32-35
Katsuhiro Yorioka, PhD, Shigeharu Oie, PhD, Koji Hayashi, Hiroo Kimoto

Abstract

Ice might contribute meaningfully to foodborne illness. Ice machines and ice scoops can be contaminated by microbial pathogens, resulting in people consuming contaminated ice. Typical of most states within the U.S., in Ohio assessments of ice machines and related equipment are part of mandated food service facility inspections by local health agencies. These visual inspections, however, might provide insufficient protection from microbial contamination. To explore the potential for disease transmission, we conducted microbiological surveys of ice throughout the Toledo–Lucas County Health Department service area in Ohio.

We regularly found microbial contaminants, mostly nonpathogenic bacteria and fungi, within ice machines. The relative abundance of bacteria and fungi was significantly greater on the gaskets of ice machines than on ice machine bin walls or ice scoops. Microbial contamination of ice machines did not vary significantly by facility hazard potential class or inspection results.  

The regular nature of microbial colonization of ice machines indicates that a meaningful potential exists for disease transmission. The nature of the colonization suggests that pathogenic contamination should not be present routinely, but rather occur sporadically. Management strategies could benefit from moving beyond visual inspection, to considering adoption of routine cleaning programs and implementing other barriers to microbial colonization.

November 2017
November 2017
80.4 | 22-28
Hailu Kassa, MSOH, MPH, PhD, Bowling Green State University, Brian Harrington, MPH, PhD, University of Toledo, Karim Baroudi, MPH, RS, REHS, Hancock Public Health, Gary S. Silverman, D Env, RS, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Sharptown is located in an agriculturally dominated portion of the Delmarva Peninsula of Maryland. Groundwater quality compliance samples have reflected elevated nitrate concentrations for years. Non-point agricultural sources were thought to be the source of the nitrates, but a detailed study as part of an updated Source Water Protection Plan assessment has now revealed a differing and surprising nitrate source interpretation, for which implementing a remedy is much more feasible. During this session you will apply geochemical analysis to water quality compliance data and observe the use of environmental tracers for identifying water contamination sources.

July 2015
Mark Eisner
Potential CE Credits: 1.00

Abstract

Indoor hockey officials might be at high risk of hearing loss at an earlier age because their noise exposures have not been evaluated and officiating can begin as early as 10 years of age. Officials of junior and collegiate hockey leagues in northern Colorado participated in noise dosimetry and pre and postgame pure-tone audiometry to determine if a ≥10 decibels (dB) decrease in hearing sensitivity resulted from noise exposures during the game. All of the officials (N = 23) were exposed to equivalent sound pressure levels ≥85 A-weighted decibels (dBA) and 65% were overexposed based on noise criteria set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Of the sampled officials, 10 of 18 demonstrated a ≥10 dB increase in hearing threshold, seven of whom included shifts in more than one ear and/or frequency and two of whom demonstrated a 15 dB shift. The results of this study suggest exposure to hazardous levels of noise and a possible increased risk for hearing loss among hockey officials.

November 2016
November 2016
79.4 | 22-26
Karin L. Adams, PhD, Ammon Langley, MS, William Brazile, PhD, CIH
Additional Topics A to Z: Injury Prevention

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