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.

Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis and the most common cause of food-borne illness in the United States affecting 19-21 million people and costing over $2 billion in healthcare costs every year.

Using an outbreak that occurred at a Midwestern casino, this presentation discusses the epidemiology of Norovirus, prevention and control measures, laboratory testing considerations, and sampling techniques. The ability to apply this information could help prevent the spread of Norovirus in your jurisdiction, or, worldwide if an outbreak occurred in a tourist destination like Las Vegas.

July 2015
Eric Bradley, MPH, REHS/RS, CP-FS, DAAS; and Kristen Obbink, DVM, MPH
Potential CE Credits: 1.00
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

An analysis of drinking water contamination at both the community and household level was conducted in Shatila camp, Lebanon. To ascertain the health impacts of water contamination in children under five, questionnaires were used to elicit community and household practices as well as child health indicators. Results, suggested interventions, and risk communication and targeted health education will be discussed in the context of human rights and marginalized populations.

 

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health

Article Abstract

Combined exposure to secondhand (SHS) smoke and radon increases lung cancer risk 10-fold. The authors assessed the feasibility and impact of a brief home screening and environmental feedback intervention to reduce radon and SHS (Freedom from Radon and Smoking in the Home [FRESH]) and measured perceived risk of lung cancer and synergistic risk perception (SHS x radon). Participants (N = 50) received home radon and SHS kits and completed baseline surveys. Test results were shared using an intervention guided by the Teachable Moment Model. Half of the participants completed online surveys two months later. Most (76%) returned the radon test kits; 48% returned SHS kits. Of the returned radon test kits, 26% were >4.0 pCi/L. Of the returned SHS kits, 38% had nicotine >.1 μg/m3. Of those with high radon, more than half had contacted a mitigation specialist or planned contact. Of those with positive air nicotine, 75% had adopted smoke-free homes. A significant increase occurred in perceived risk for lung cancer and synergistic risk perception after FRESH. 

Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 156-161
Ellen J. Hahn, RN, PhD, FAAN, Mary Kay Rayens, PhD, Sarah E. Kercsmar, PhD, Sarah M. Adkins, MS
Additional Topics A to Z: Radon

Abstract

This article uses township-level mortality registry databases to examine environmental health disparities in Dalian, China, and potential associations with geographic, social, and economic factors. It is the first time that these Chinese databases have been used for research in environmental health. The findings highlight the fact that environmental health risks and benefits of urban development are unequally distributed between urban centers and their suburbs. Consequently, environmental conditions have been drastically degraded in the suburbs. Furthermore, associated death rates and cancer mortality rates (CMR) have increased. A link between high CMR and industrial pollution was discovered through space-time clusters and statistical analyses. In addition, population aging was found to be a factor in understanding the spatial inequalities of cancer and death. This article suggests that Environmental Model Cities should be required to have no negative impact on environmental health in other areas.

 

June 2018
June 2018
80.10 | E1-E9
Zhenguo Zhang, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Dalian Nationalities University, Lee Liu, School of Environmental, Physical and Applied Sciences, University of Central Missouri
Additional Topics A to Z: Environmental Justice

Abstract

Groundwater is the main water resource in rural areas throughout the world. The present study aimed to measure nine heavy metals (arsenic, chromium, cobalt, iron, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, and zinc) in rural areas of Saqqez, Iran. Water samples were collected from 150 sampling stations (wells, springs, and tanks). The heavy metal concentrations were measured using inductively coupled plasma and the spatial distribution of the heavy metal concentrations was mapped. Risk assessment was performed using average daily dose and hazard quotient. The mean concentration of heavy metals in drinking water from different sources were found in order of iron > zinc > chromium > molybdenum > nickel > cobalt > arsenic > mercury > manganese. The concentrations of arsenic, iron, and molybdenum were, however, higher than World Health Organization and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards in a few of the samples. Moreover, the statistical analysis revealed that there are no significant variations between well, spring, and tank sources (p < .05). In addition, no significant difference was observed between water quality with different geographical directions and slopes (p < .05). The mean human health risk values for mercury in well and tank water sources were above 1, indicating potential risk.

January 2018
January/February 2018
80.6 | E1-E9
Shadi Kohzadi, Environmental Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Behzad Shahmoradi, Environmental Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Daem Raushani, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Asad Nouri, Environmental Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences

Abstract

In Australia, inspections of food premises are routinely conducted by environmental health officers (EHOs) using a checklist approach; the checklist is either manually written or stored into an electronic device. EHOs primarily assess cleanliness by visual inspection. Microbiological sampling is limited to those occasions requiring statutory evidence collection. The evidence gap between visual inspection and microbial sampling might be assisted by using commercially available rapid adenosine triphosphate (ATP) testing devices. This article presents a pilot study using ATP testing together with a new sampling algorithm in the assessment of surface cleanliness. Surfaces and implements were tested in eight food premises using ATP testing to determine cleanliness on items that passed the visual test of cleanliness. Cleanliness was verified using a cleaning intervention step. Of the 49 of 72 (68%) surfaces and implements assessed as visually clean, they were shown to have inadequate cleanliness (p = .001). The findings support using ATP testing with the new algorithm, as this could provide a reliable approach for surveillance of surface cleanliness by EHOs.

 

July 2018
July/August 2018
81.1 | E1-E8
Greg S. Whiteley, MSc, PhD, DAICD, Western Sydney University, Whiteley Corporation, Mark Nolan, MSc, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Paul P. Fahey, MMS, Western Sydney University

Abstract

This cross-sectional survey was conducted to understand parents’ perceptions regarding air pollution and its effect on children’s respiratory health in Nanchang, China, to offer baseline information useful to the government of the People’s Republic of China. Data collected from 1,056 residents (response rate = 93.7%) was analyzed using descriptive analysis, chi-square test, nonparametric rank-sum test, Spearman rank correlation coefficient, and linear trend test. The results showed that most parents would worry more about their children’s health if air quality became worse, especially in families with high education and income. The top three respiratory conditions associated with poor air quality among children were cough (90.5%), upper respiratory infection (72.9%), and bronchitis (47.2%). Parents believed motor vehicle emissions (95.9%), secondhand smoke (95.4%), and dust (92.9%) to be the risk factors largely responsible for respiratory illnesses among children. Furthermore, most respondents supported government intervention to improve air quality with several suggestions: controlling industrial pollution (69.9%), increasing public transportation and reducing private cars (51.0%), and controlling and reducing waste incineration (45.6%).

March 2017
March 2017
79.7 | E1-E9
Si Fan, Zhaokang Yuan, MS, MD, Xiong Liao, Hong Tu
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health

Abstract

Food business operators (FBOs) are required to implement hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) procedures to manage risks associated with products they handle. The aim of this study was to assess the level of knowledge on zoonotic parasites associated with raw seafood of 23 FBOs responsible for sushi restaurants. The survey, carried out in the city of Florence in 2012, and repeated in 2014, was based on a questionnaire focusing mainly on the freezing treatments applied to manage parasitological risks. Despite a slight increase between the two surveys (70% in 2012 to 89% in 2014) in the awareness of FBOs of the need for a preventive treatment to be applied to fishery products before being served raw, our results highlight that FBOs who act in accordance with this regulation is low. In particular, only 40% of FBOs in 2012 and 54.5% in 2014 used the blast chiller according to the relevant regulations. We observed shortcomings in the use of inappropriate temperatures and/or treatment duration. Thus, there is an urgent need to raise the training level of FBOs and to increase their awareness on the parasitological hazards related to the serving of raw seafood.

September 2017
September 2017
80.2 | E1-E8
Andrea Armani, DVM, PhD, FishLab, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa, Priscilla D’Amico, DVM, FishLab, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa, Luca Cianti, DVM, Local Health Authority of Florence, Marco Pistolesi, FishLab, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa

Abstract

Elevated sound pressure levels can lead to sleep disturbance, annoyance, hearing impairment, speech interference, and severe stress on the auditory and nervous systems if sound levels are continuous and greater than international standard limits. The aim of this study was to evaluate the noise level distributions in Lagos, Nigeria. We selected 32 locations across the Lagos metropolis for this study. A digital sound meter capable of measuring 32 dB–130 dB was used. At each location, minimum and maximum noise levels were determined. Measurements were taken in morning (8–10 a.m.), afternoon (2–4 p.m.), and evening (6–8 p.m.) periods. The obtained values were presented as mean ± standard deviation in decibels (dB). The highest average sound pressure level was found to be 90.3 ± 15.3 dB, while the lowest value was 55.30 ± 4.6 dB. There was no statistical significant difference in the noise level distributions in the three monitoring sessions (p = .74). Noise level distributions in the city exceeded the acceptable standard limits set by the World Health Organization. Health effects related to incessant exposures to high noise levels are likely to be common and may result in negative impacts on the well-being of the inhabitants of the city.

June 2017
June 2017
79.10 | E1-E5
Zaccheaus Ayo Ibitoye, MSc, Adebayo Moses Aweda, PhD, Peace Chizoba Ofojebe, MSc

Abstract

Keeping pet animals might enhance allergic diseases, although studies have yielded inconsistent results. This case-control study investigated whether previously keeping pets was associated with the development of allergic rhinitis. A questionnaire was distributed to first-year university students in 2012 and 2013, and responses were obtained from 3,061 individuals. Matching of demographic factors, including age, sex, family history, hometown region, number of siblings, daycare center attendance, and the type of fuel used for heating yielded 570 case-control pairs. Previous experience keeping pets, including cats and indoor or outdoor dogs, was evaluated at all ages from 0 to 18 years continuously. The odds ratios for developing allergic rhinitis of keeping a dog inside or outside the home and of keeping a cat at age 0 were 2.50, 1.26, and 1.64, respectively. These odds ratios decreased with increasing age, however, falling below 1.0 at ages 10, 4, and 11 years, respectively. This study could facilitate further understanding of the effects of pets on allergic diseases.

November 2016
November 2016
79.4 | E1-E8
Mitsuo Uchida, MD, PhD, Minoru Kaneko, MD, PhD, Shigeyuki Kawa, MD, PhD

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