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

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer mortality among nonsmokers. Lung cancer leads cancer deaths in Utah, a state with 10% smokers and high radon emission potential. Understanding public awareness can help improve voluntary radon testing. The objective of this study was to identify patterns in radon awareness and testing in Utah. Utah's 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System included questions about radon awareness and testing. We examined differences by demographics and county (moderate versus high estimated radon, rural versus urban) using Rao–Scott chi-squared tests and logistic regression. In total, 75% of Utah residents never tested their home for radon and 80% could not identify radon as a risk factor for lung cancer. Of nontesters, 40% were unaware of radon itself or testing. Testing was slightly more common in moderate radon counties (17%) than in the high radon counties (14%). Women, Hispanics, renters, persons with annual incomes $50,000, and persons without college degrees generally did not test for radon. People 55 years or older and living in rural counties were the least likely to identify radon as a risk factor for lung cancer. Radon testing and meaningful awareness of radon's link to lung cancer are low in Utah. Support is needed to improve radon education, awareness, and testing throughout the state.

 

October 2019
October 2019
82.3 | 8-17
Judy Y. Ou, MPH, PhD, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Division of Epidemiology, University of Utah, Joemy M. Ramsay, MS, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Jessica Smith, Department of Public Health, Brigham Young University, Wallace Akerley, MD, Huntsman Cancer Institute
Additional Topics A to Z: Radon

Abstract

A growing body of research links exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and adverse health outcomes. PFOA was discovered in private drinking water wells in Bennington, Vermont, in 2016, prompting an investigation by the Vermont Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation. The objectives of the investigation were to assess potential exposure pathways in Bennington, to inform participants of their serum PFOA level, and to compare serum levels with U.S. background levels. Serum PFOA concentrations were strongly correlated with PFOA concentrations in well water (rs = .65, p < .01) and cumulative exposure to PFOA in residential drinking water (rs = .65; p < .01). Response to large-scale private drinking water contamination incidents in real time provides unique challenges. In Vermont, open communication with the public, proactively addressing community concerns, and the presence of an Environmental Contingency Fund allowed some of those challenges to be overcome. Our findings provide insights for future public health responses to PFOA and other perfluoroalkyl substance contamination.

 

April 2020
April 2020
82.8 | 8-15
Lauren Prinzing, MPH, Vermont Department of Health, Brianna Moore, PhD, Colorado School of Public Health, David Grass, PhD, Vermont Department of Health, Sarah Vose, PhD, Vermont Department of Health
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water

Article Abstract

Growing societal interest to permit animals into retail food outlets presents both risks and benefits to the dining public and consumers. This article summarizes a literature review that evaluated the associated potential public health issues related to this subject. Using the EBSCOhost research protocol and Google search engines between March 2010 and June 2011, the authors have compiled and synthesized scientific research articles, empirical scientific literature, and publicly available news media. While pets are known carriers of bacteria and parasites, among others, the relative risk associated with specific pet-human interactions in the dining public has yet to be established in a clear and consistent manner. Much of the available health-risk-factor evidence reflects pets in domestic conditions and interaction with farm animals. Special consideration is recommended for vulnerable populations such as children, asthmatics, the elderly, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised. 

December 2013
76.5 | 24-30
David T. Dyjack, DrPH, CIH, Jessica Ho, RD, Rachel Lynes, MPH, Jesse C. Bliss, MPH
Additional Topics A to Z: Food Safety

Come learn about how environmental public health (EPH) professionals can help elevate the importance of EPH programs within their health department. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from experienced peers about the connections between EPH and public health accreditation and the steps EPH professionals can take to identify types of documentation that their health department may use to help meet public health accreditation.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Workforce Development

In recent years nitrogen in the environment has become a nationwide concern due to the sensitivity of many water bodies to excess nitrogen loading from many different sources, including Onsite Wastewater Systems (OWS). Complimentary to the Florida Onsite Sewage Nitrogen Reduction Strategies study, the Colorado School of Mines evaluated denitrification via subsurface via a soil treatment unit (STU). This presentation will share the rates of denitrification achieved and how to substantially increase them. See how the onsite wastewater treatment system design plays a key role in the removal of nitrogen.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Wastewater

The Rabies Prevention Program at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) recognized that their annual laboratory testing data wasn’t working for them or their constituents, even though they were publicly available. They collaborated with the Bureau of Laboratories and the Department's GIS office to develop a user-friendly mapping application - Rabies By The Numbers. Learn how the information is being leveraged to benefit all stakeholders, and how your data could do the same for you.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Zoonotic Diseases

Abstract

Radon gas exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers in the U.S. People exposed to elevated levels of radon gas have a higher risk of developing lung cancer. Public health workers are change agents and their roles in protecting and improving the health of their communities are well documented. This study surveyed 386 public health educators, health officers, nurses, and registered environmental health specialists working in public health departments. We found significant differences (p < .01) in knowledge about radon gas exposure among public health workers. These findings suggest that the role of public health workers in disseminating information about environmental hazards to the communities they serve should be well-defined. Government agencies, including public health departments, will have to combine efforts to achieve the long-term goal of the 1988 Indoor Radon Abatement Act (IRAA). Training of public health workers about environmental hazards should be a priority to achieve the IRAA goal.

 

January 2020
January/February 2020
82.6 | 22-28
Paschal Nwako, MPH, PhD, REHS, DAAS, Camden County Department of Health and Human Services, Terrence Cahill, EdD, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Seton Hall University
Additional Topics A to Z: Radon

Risk communication on the health effects of radon encounters many challenges and requires a variety of risk communication strategies and approaches. The concern over radon exposure and its health effects may vary according to people’s level of knowledge and receptivity. Homeowners in radon-prone areas are usually more informed and have greater concern over those not living in radon-prone areas. The latter group is often found to be resistant to testing. In British Columbia as well as many other parts of the country, some homes have been lying outside of the radon-prone areas have radon levels above the Canadian guideline, which is the reason Health Canada recommends that all homes should be tested.

Over the last five years, the Environment Health Program (EHP) of Health Canada in the British Columbia region has been using a variety of different approaches in their radon risk communications through social media, workshops, webinars, public forums, poster contests, radon distribution maps, public inquiries, tradeshows and conference events, and partnership with different jurisdictions and nongovernmental organizations. The valuable lessons learned from these approaches are discussed in this special report.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 102-106
Winnie Cheng, MET
Additional Topics A to Z: Radon

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