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

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

The role played by air pollutants on sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in childhood thus far has been little analyzed, although susceptibility to environmental toxicity is higher in children than in adults. This ecological study, carried out in the province of Varese, Italy, explores the geographical pattern of SDB among children and investigates its relationship with combustion-related pollution. For each of the 754 patients admitted to the Sleep-Disorder Breathing Center of Varese due to sleep respiratory disturbances, the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) upon which SDB diagnosis is based was recorded. Through spatial analysis methods, the geographical heterogeneity of SDB and its severity were analyzed using AHI-based indicators.

From available nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels, the geographical pattern of the pollutant—regarded as a marker for combustion-related mixtures—was obtained and compared with that of SDB. We identified an area of significantly higher SDB case density (p < .05) and found that the relative risk (RR) of SDB increased significantly for the children living in this area (RR = 1.307, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.155, 1.477]). In this area, annual NO2 levels were 1.5 times the provincial average. For the whole study region, moreover, we found a significant positive correlation (p < .01) between SDB severity and NO2. These findings suggest that traffic-related pollution might contribute to SDB onset and level of severity.

 

December 2018
December 2018
81.5 | E1-E7
Federica Manzoni, MD, University of Pavia, Stefania Tentoni, MSc, IMATI–CNR, Luana Nosetti, MD, Insubria University, Filippo del Ponte Hospital, Alessandra Niespolo, MD, Insubria University, Filippo del Ponte Hospital
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health

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

Abstract

This study examines the analytical methods used to test drinking water for atrazine along with the seasonal variation of atrazine in drinking water. Samples from 117 counties throughout Kentucky from January 2000 to December 2008 were analyzed. Methods 507 and 508.1 were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. Median values of these methods were similar (p = .7421). To examine seasonal variation, data from each year and from the entire period were analyzed using one-way ANOVA; pairwise multiple comparisons were made for years with significant differences. All the years except 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2007 had significantly different atrazine concentrations between seasons. The Seasonal Kendall Test for Trend was used to identify trends in atrazine over time. Yearly means ranged from 0.000043 mg/L (± 0.000011 mg/L) to 0.000995 mg/L (± 0.000510 mg/L). The highest levels were observed during spring in most years. A significant (p = .000092) decreasing trend of -7.6 x 10-6 mg/L/year was found. Decreasing trends were also present in all five regions of the state during this period. This study illustrates the need for changes in sampling methodology used today, so that effective exposure assessments can be conducted to study the public’s exposure to atrazine in drinking water.

December 2016
December 2016
79.5 | E1-E6
Jonathan Suhl, MPH, Vijay Golla, MPH, PhD, Jessica L. Rinsky, MPH, Claudia Hopenhayn, MPH, PhD

Abstract

The objective of this study is to evaluate the possibility or extent of asbestos pollution in small-scale preschools, which are asbestos-containing buildings (ACBs), and to provide management plans for them. Korea is legally managing preschools with a total ground area of 430 m2 or above as ACBs, but is not legally regulating preschools smaller than 430 m2 (small-scale preschools) that account for 90.4% of all preschools. Thus, this study selected 46 small-scale preschools in Seoul, collected airborne samples at 91 points, and analyzed the samples with phase contrast microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The result by the ISO 10312 method satisfied the Korean Indoor Air Quality Control Act (≤0.01 fibers/cc) (International Organization for Standardization, 1995). The analysis result by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act method was lower than the filter background level. There is a method to remove or eliminate asbestos, but this method increases the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos, so it seems better to effectively maintain and manage the buildings of small-scale preschools to prevent airborne asbestos.

July 2017
July/August 2017
80.1 | E1-E6
Kwangtae Ha, Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research, Sooknye Chung, Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research, Suhyun Lee, Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research, Mihae Kang, Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research
Additional Topics A to Z: Institutions / Schools

Abstract

Community-acquired Legionnaires’ disease (LD) cases reported in Dallas County, Texas, from 2000 through 2010 were analyzed to determine the characteristics of disease incidence and burden of community-acquired LD and identify any temporal or geographic variation of the disease occurrences. As elsewhere in the U.S., annual reported cases of LD increased in the county, rising 380% from 2000 to 2010. Almost all cases were sporadic. Clustering of cases both geographically and temporally was observed and cases were found to be concentrated in the northern and eastern parts of the county. The rising incidence of community-acquired LD may require development of a public health policy that takes into consideration risk factors, particularly age. An environmental study would be helpful to identify modifiable environmental factors in the areas with clustered cases.

April 2016
April 2016
78.8 | E1-E6
Woldu Ameneshoa, MPH, Joon-Hak Lee, MS, PhD, John T. Carlo, MSE, MD
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Abstract

The current population of South Africa has been migrating into informal urban settlements that lack adequate sanitation service delivery, caused at least in part by the lack of the necessary skills in the local government sector and the lack of buy in from the community into the provided sanitation facilities. The authors report results of policy research into the relevant disaster management options that could be applied to improve the sanitation service delivery in South Africa. The best policy option was identified as the draft Disaster Management Regulations: Disaster Management. Local government can use these tools through the formation of the volunteer units from the nongovernmental organization sector, the business community, and from among the end users of sanitation facilities. Formation of the volunteer unit should follow the principles of cooperative governance and participatory approach to disaster management. Implementation should be facilitated through the adoption of locally specific municipal by laws.

March 2016
March 2016
78.7 | E1-E7
Shafick Hoossein, MSc, Roman Tandlich, PhD, Kevin Whittington-Jones, PhD, Richard Laubscher, MSc, MBA

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