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

There are multiple factors that affect human health and well-being and the environment is among the major determinants. Nevertheless, health research and interventions are generally isolated from environmental research. The main objective of this research work is to assess the challenges of developing a national surveillance system that can bridge the knowledge gaps among environmental hazards/stressors, human exposure, health outcomes and interventions. Various environmental health frameworks and approaches to developing environmental health indicators (EHIs) were examined. Semistructured interviews with key stakeholders were conducted to assess the feasibility of collecting EHIs and the challenges of developing an environmental health surveillance system (EHSS). Thematic analysis was employed to examine and evaluate the transcripts comprehensively. Based on the outcomes of the interviews, we were able to identify various indicators in Lebanon that were scrutinized with regards to availability, quality, and usefulness—as well as applicability to the context of Lebanon. Stakeholders reported that the most significant solutions consist of institutionalizing the system within the government, raising awareness of the private and public sector on EHSS, centralizing one entity responsible for leading implementation of the system, establishing a national council for environmental health surveillance, and developing a comprehensive database.

April 2017
April 2017
79.8 | E1-E7
May A. Massoud, Department of Environmental Health, American University of Beirut, Tala Moukaddem, Department of Environmental Health, American University of Beirut, Nasser Yassin, Department of Health Management and Policy, American University of Beirut

Abstract

Electronic waste (e-waste) generation is increasing worldwide, and its management becomes a significant challenge because of the many toxicants present in electronic devices. The U.S. is a major producer of e-waste, although its management practice and policy regulation are not sufficient to meet the challenge. We reviewed e-waste generation, current management practices and trends, policy challenges, potential health impact, and toxicant exposure prevention in the U.S. A large amount of toxic metals, flame retardants, and other persistent organic pollutants exist in e-waste or can be released from the disposal of e-waste (e.g., landfill, incineration, recycling). Landfill is still a major method used to dispose of obsolete electronic devices, and only about half of the states have initiated a landfill ban for e-waste. Recycling of e-waste is an increasing trend in the past few years. There is potential, however, for workers to be exposed to a mixture of toxicants in e-waste and these exposures should be curtailed. Perspectives and recommendations are provided regarding managing e-waste in the U.S. to protect public health, including enacting federal legislation, discontinuing landfill disposal, protecting workers in recycling facilities from toxicant exposure, reducing toxicant release into the environment, and raising awareness of this growing environmental health issue among the public.

October 2016
October 2016
79.3 | 8-16
Jessica Seeberger, MPH, Radhika Grandhi, MPH, Stephani S. Kim, MPH, William A. Mase, DrPH
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Abstract

Insufficient cleaning can create reservoirs of microorganisms, resulting in the spread of infection in the workplace. In this study, we examined the effects of increased cleaning of high-frequency touch sites on bioburden and absence rates at an office building. Daily cleaning of computer keyboards, mice, and telephones was performed on one floor and compared with a control floor. Contact plate samples were taken weekly from keyboards and bacterial contamination was assessed over a 3-month period. Increased cleaning and bioburden were compared to employee absence rates. Increased cleaning reduced overall bioburden on keyboards from 27–44 CFU/25 cm2 to 7–11 CFU/25 cm2 (n = 550), when compared with standard practice. Keyboards were found, however, to be recontaminated once used. Levels of bacteria from control floors decreased over the intervention period. Skin flora was most commonly isolated. Isolation of Enterococcus spp., suggesting fecal contamination, was reduced after increased cleaning. Regular cleaning reduces bioburden and has a lasting effect. Despite efficacy of increased cleaning, there was no significant effect on absences due to the wide variability of absence rates over time.

 

June 2020
June 2020
82.10 | 16-19
Samuel Yui, MSc, Environmental Research Laboratory, University College London Hospitals, Shanom Ali, PhD, Environmental Research Laboratory, University College London Hospitals, Monika Muzslay, MSc, Environmental Research Laboratory, University College London Hospitals, Peter Wilson, MA, MD, FRCP, FRCPath, Department of Microbiology and Virology, University College London Hospitals

Abstract

Recruitment of participants into any community-based project can be a significant challenge, particularly for Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes grantees funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. One of these grantees, the 2013–2016 Henderson Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes Program, implemented six recruitment strategies: 1) person-to-person referrals, 2) direct mail, 3) door-to-door neighborhood canvassing, 4) child-oriented community event outreach, 5) passive program information, and 6) general event outreach. Program staff reached more than 10,000 individuals via these methods, and 136 participants ultimately were enrolled. The success of each method was determined by its percentage yield of enrolled participants. Community event outreach resulted in the greatest number of contacts, while person-to-person referrals and direct mailings yielded the most enrolled participants with minimal staff time required. Landlords were essential to the enrollment of rental units. These results might help provide insight to some of the most effective strategies for recruitment into Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes programs.

March 2018
March 2018
80.7 | 20-26
Casey Barber, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Josh Huebner, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Erika Marquez, MPH, PhD, 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

Abstract

Landscaping and groundskeeping workers are exposed to excessive amounts of loud noise from powered lawn equipment and tools that can lead to adverse health effects, including noise-induced hearing loss. The main objectives of this project were to evaluate attitudes and behavior of wearing hearing protection devices (HPDs) and to test the effectiveness of knowledge following an educational training among these workers. This was a cross-sectional intervention study. Bivariate analysis was conducted to evaluate worker perceptions about the importance and frequency of wearing HPDs. Pre- and post-tests were distributed to workers to evaluate significant differences in learned knowledge following a multifaceted noise and hearing loss training. Although nearly all workers recognized the importance of wearing either earplugs or earmuffs, actual use for wearing HPDs was approximately only half of the time when working around loud noise. Following the training intervention, there was a significant increase between mean pre- and post-test scores. Targeted trainings can be effective for increasing worker knowledge about the effects of noise, hearing loss, and hearing protection. Sustained efforts, however, must be made by employers to ensure that regular trainings are routinely provided and that the use of HPDs are promoted in the workplace.

October 2017
October 2017
80.3 | 8-15
Gregory D. Kearney, MPH, DrPH, REHS, Brody School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, East Carolina University, Jo Anne G. Balanay, MOH, PhD, CIH, Environmental Health Sciences Program, Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, Adam J. Mannarino, MSEH, MPH, East Carolina University
Additional Topics A to Z: Injury Prevention

Article Abstract

The authors conducted a survey of small streams to evaluate the effects of centralized and onsite wastewater treatment on the occurrence of selected traditional and emerging contaminants in small streams in the upper Neuse River basin, North Carolina. An undeveloped site was included to assess effects of residential land use activities on stream quality. Concentrations of nutrients and ions were higher in samples from streams in residential sites than from the stream in an undeveloped area. Overall, streams draining residential areas showed relatively small differences with respect to type of wastewater treatment. Two sites, however—one in an area of centralized wastewater treatment apparently near a suspected sewer line leak, and the second in an area of onsite wastewater treatment—showed effects of wastewater. Organic wastewater compounds were detected more frequently in samples from these two sites than from the other sites. Optical brighteners levels were correlated (r2 = .88) with the number of organic wastewater and pharmaceutical compounds detected at the residential sites and could potentially serve as a screening method to assess wastewater effects on small streams.

 

Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 18-27
Sharon Fitzgerald, G.M. Ferrell, B.H. Grimes
Additional Topics A to Z: Wastewater

Abstract

Private wells are unregulated and often at risk for arsenic contamination. Research objectives included distribution of groundwater arsenic concentrations, identification of arsenic sources, and establishment of best practices for well construction to minimize risk for wells in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. We sampled 68 wells over 3 years with 393 water samples and 79 rock samples. Geochemical modeling was used to better understand arsenic mobilization. Arsenic in groundwater ranged from 1.0 to less than 10.0 μg/L for 75 water samples and 31 water samples had arsenic concentrations greater than or equal to 10 μg/L. The arsenic source is naturally occurring sulfide minerals (typically pyrite) in the bedrock aquifers. The shallow (100–150 feet) Lime Creek Aquifer was most at risk for arsenic. Arsenic is likely mobilized from the rock into the water in the shallow aquifer under more oxidizing conditions, subject to water level changes. The study resulted in a policy change for arsenic testing and well completion in Cerro Gordo County to better protect domestic well users.

May 2017
May 2017
79.9 | 32-39
Douglas J. Schnoebelen, PhD, The University of Iowa, Sophia Walsh, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health, Brian Hanft, MPA, REHS, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health, Oscar E. Hernandez-Murcia, PhD, The University of Iowa

Abstract

Public health interventions in North Carolina were implemented only for children with blood lead levels (BLLs) ≥10 µg/dL until the end of the year in 2017, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established 5 µg/dL as a revised reference value for identifying children with elevated BLLs in 2012. This study quantified and characterized the children with elevated BLLs in Buncombe County, North Carolina. A review of case reports of Buncombe County children was conducted through the North Carolina Lead Surveillance System online database. In all, 23 children had confirmed elevated BLLs (≥10 µg/dL) from 2005–2015, while 146 children had BLLs within 5 to <10 µg/dL from 2012–2015. Most of the identified children (62%) lived in Asheville and were 1–2 years old (65%). A significant number of children will be aided and prevented from further lead exposure since North Carolina has lowered the BLL intervention standard to the CDC reference value in 2012. The need for additional staffing at local health departments has been identified to adapt to such change.

 

June 2018
June 2018
80.10 | 16-22
Casey Parris Radford, MSEH, Buncombe County Department of Health, Jo Anne G. Balanay, PhD, CIH, East Carolina University, Ashley Featherstone, MSPH, Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency, Timothy Kelley, PhD, East Carolina University
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health

Emergency Public Health provides a unique and practical framework for disaster response planning at local, state, and national levels. This is the first book of its kind to systematically address the issues in a range of environmental public health emergencies brought on by natural calamity, terrorism, industrial accident, or infectious disease. It features historical perspectives on a public health crisis, an analysis of preparedness, and a practical, relevant case study on the emergency response. Study reference for NEHA’s REHS/RS exam.

 

568 pages / Paperback / Catalog #1121
Member: $96 / Nonmember: $101 

July 2011
G. Bobby Kapur, Jeffrey P. Smith
Additional Topics A to Z: Emergency Preparedness

Pages