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

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) use the Healthy Home Rating System (HHRS), a tool developed to quantitatively assess the reduction of health-related housing hazards during the implementation of OLHCHH programs. This study evaluated the reduction of home-based hazards in 62 homes after remediation work was completed. The most common hazards identified in all homes were lead-based paint and domestic hygiene, pests, and refuse. The program was successful in reducing a variety of hazards, resulting in 100% reduction of lead-based paint hazards, 69% of water supply issues, 68% of concerns related to entry by intruders, and 60% reduction in hazards related to flames and hot surfaces. Still, other issues in the home could not be addressed due to cost and limitations in funding. While there is utility in using the HHRS, we need to consider changes to improve upon ways in which data are collected and impact is measured.

 

September 2018
September 2018
81.2 | 8-14
Erika Marquez, MPH, PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Amanda Sokolowsky, MPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Erin Sheehy, MPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Josh Huebner, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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

Abstract

As environmental health practice increasingly shifts from a regulatory focus toward community-based approaches to prevention, more communities are adopting a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach. This approach uses a systems approach to policy making to ensure that policies have neutral or beneficial health impacts. As communities engage in cross-sector collaborations, however, the lack of a consistent vision and defined role for environmental health professionals can limit implementation. We address this challenge by proposing a framework for understanding the various terms and methods used to describe HiAP efforts; we also identify roles for environmental health. Our framework begins with collaboration as the core of intersectoral work, then overlays other government-based and health-based approaches. HiAP sits at the final intersection of these elements. The resulting framework provides practitioners with a common language for working with partners, assessing current HiAP work, and planning and evaluating HiAP implementation.

 

November 2018
November 2018
81.4 | 22-28
Tiffany J. Huang, MPH, MA, Department of Sociology, Columbia University, Bridget Kerner, MS, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Sandra Whitehead, PhD, National Environmental Health Association

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