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

Amid the rapid expansion of global air traffic, aviation food safety is a critical issue (Huizer, Swaan, Leitmeyer, & Timen, 2015). More than 1 billion in-flight meals are served annually (Jones, 2006) and the aviation catering market is expected to be worth $18 billion by 2021 ("Global $18 billion in-flight catering services market," 2017). Food served on planes is prepared in industrial kitchens close to airports and then transported to planes where it is stored, reheated, and served. The process is complex, with many opportunities for food contamination. Although food preparation on the ground is subject to considerable regulation at both the national and international level, similar rules do not apply to food served in-flight. Airline caterers might need to comply with local food safety regulations, those of the country of the aircraft registration, those of the destination country, and international food safety guidelines (Solar, 2019). While there are greater challenges to ensuring in-flight food safety, we argue that the same food safety principles used in establishments "on-ground" should be applied to in-flight food services. This guest commentary considers one key factor of in-flight food hygiene: the availability of hand washing facilities for cabin crew.

 

November 2019
November 2019
82.4 | 30-32
Andrea Grout, MSc, College of Business, Law, and Governance, James Cook University, Elizabeth M. Speakman, MA, MSc, Edinburgh Napier University, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Abstract

Exposure limits for arsenic in drinking water and minimal risk levels (MRLs) for total dietary exposure to arsenic have long been established in the U.S. Multiple studies conducted over the last five years have detected arsenic in foods and beverages including juice, rice, milk, broth (beef and chicken), and others. Understanding whether or not each of these foods or drinks is a concern to certain groups of individuals requires examining which types of and how much arsenic is ingested. In this article, recent studies are reviewed and placed in the context of consumption patterns. When single sources of food or drink are considered in isolation, heavy rice eaters can be exposed to the most arsenic among adults while infants consuming formula containing contaminated organic brown rice syrup are the most exposed group among children. Most food and drink do not contain sufficient arsenic to exceed MRLs. For individuals consuming more than one source of contaminated water or food, however, adverse health effects are more likely. In total, recent studies on arsenic contamination in food and beverages emphasize the need for individual consumers to understand and manage their total dietary exposure to arsenic.

October 2015
78.3 | 8-14
Denise Wilson
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Abstract

Recent studies that have investigated arsenic content in juice, rice, milk, broth (beef and chicken), and other foods have stimulated an interest in understanding how prevalent arsenic contamination is in the U.S. food and beverage supply. The study described here focuses on quantifying arsenic levels in wine. A total of 65 representative wines from the top four wine-producing states in the U.S. were analyzed for arsenic content. All samples contained arsenic levels that exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) exposure limit for drinking water of 10 parts per billion (ppb) and all samples contained inorganic arsenic. The average arsenic detected among all samples studied was 23.3 ppb. Lead, a common co-contaminant to arsenic, was detected in 58% of samples tested, but only 5% exceeded the U.S. EPA exposure limit for drinking water of 15 ppb. Arsenic levels in American wines exceeded those found in other studies involving water, bottled water, apple juice, apple juice blend, milk, rice syrup, and other beverages. When taken in the context of consumption patterns in the U.S., the pervasive presence of arsenic in wine can pose a potential health risk to regular adult wine drinkers.

October 2015
78.3 | 16-22
Denise Wilson
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Abstract

The growing grocery market industry is under increasing pressure to improve profit margins to maintain profitability. With the offerings at grocery stores continually evolving toward more profitable niches, food safety risks can be introduced or elevated as operations are added or modified. This study surveyed 132 private and corporate-owned grocery stores to assess food safety risk. A 2009 Food and Drug Administration Food Code risk category assessment score was assigned to each of the departments at these stores for comparison of risks associated with their processes and policies. Private stores had slightly more risk when compared with corporate-owned stores. High-risk processes, including reduced oxygen packaging and smoking and curing operations, existed in 13% of the grocery stores. Bakeries, delicatessens, and/or meat departments sharing the same operating space also increased the risk scoring.

November 2016
November 2016
79.4 | 16-21
Robert Newsad, MPH, Danny Ripley, Craig A. Shepherd, MPH, REHS, DAAS

Abstract

Airbnb is the world’s leading platform for peer-to-peer (P2P) short-term housing rentals. There are more than 100,000 Airbnb venues across Canada. Legislative efforts to regulate the P2P housing marketplace have not broadly considered public health impacts including injury prevention, tobacco smoke exposure, and food safety. Using publicly available data, our study quantified the proportion of Airbnb venues in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City that report 1) having injury prevention amenities (smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits); 2) allowing smoking; and 3) providing breakfast. Data were collected in May 2018 for 31,535 Airbnb venues in Vancouver (n = 6,385), Toronto (n = 15,722), Montreal (n = 6,702), and Quebec City (n = 2,726). Most venues reported having a smoke alarm (89%), approximately one half reported having a carbon monoxide detector (56%), and less than one half reported having a fire extinguisher (47%) or first aid kit (35%). A small proportion reported providing breakfast (13%) and fewer reported allowing smoking (4%). We found safety deficiencies in thousands of Airbnb venues in these four cities. Would-be guests might be exposed to secondhand or thirdhand smoke in some Airbnb rentals. This study identified thousands of venues that are serving food, which potentially presents challenges related to food safety. Government agencies should take into account public health concerns when regulating the P2P housing marketplace.

 

October 2020
October 2020
83.3 | 8-12
Hudson Robert Kennedy, River Hill High School, Cathy Egan, MBA, CPHI(C), CIC, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Kevin Welding, PhD, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Abstract

This study assessed the training needs and knowledge gaps across five competency domains among the food protection staff of the Cincinnati Health Department. The five overarching competency domains assessed included 1) scientific knowledge; 2) foodborne illness knowledge, rules, and regulations; 3) temperature and storage; 4) inspection equipment; and 5) communication. A full network workforce assessment was conducted in a 3-year prospective longitudinal study design. Key findings show that competency areas identified as needing attention improved over time. The domain that consistently showed the highest percentage of workforce needing improvement was foodborne illness knowledge, rules, and regulations.

November 2017
November 2017
80.4 | 30-35
William A. Mase, MA, MPH, DrPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Bobbie Jo Newell, MEd, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, H. Pamela Pagano, MPH, DrPH, CPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University , Jessica Arrazola, MPH, DrPH, CHES, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that coastal beach sand as well as coastal ocean water can be contaminated with fecal indicator Enterococcus bacteria (ENT). A study of sand ENT concentrations over a four-week period at 12 Rhode Island beaches was conducted during the summer of 2009. While average contamination was low relative to water quality standards, every beach had at least one day with very high sand ENT readings. On 10 of the 12 beaches, a statistically significant gradient occurred in geometric mean ENT concentrations among tidal zones, with dry (supratidal, or above high tide mark) sand having the highest level, followed by wet (intratidal, or below high tide mark) and underwater sand. Beaches with higher wave action had significantly lower ENT levels in wet and underwater sand compared to beaches with lower wave action.

April 2016
April 2016
78.8 | 12-17
Eugenie Coakley, MA, MPH, Amie L. Parris, Al Wyman, Gretchen Latowsky, MEd
Additional Topics A to Z: Recreational Waters

Article Abstract

In order to assess the prevalence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths in the Yenagoa Metropolis, 480 soil samples were collected from five communities for 12 months. The soil samples were collected along two transects from the waterfront and community playgrounds. Analysis was by standard methods. The results obtained from the study described in this article showed that 44.79% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 40.34%–49.24%) of the soil samples tested positive for nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths. Ascaris lumbricoides was the most common helminth with a prevalence rate of 35% (95% CI = 30.73%–39.27%). Mixed occurrence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths was 10.21%. Although the community playgrounds had a higher prevalence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths than the waterfront (p > .05), more cases of mixed occurrence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths occurred in the waterfront  than the community playgrounds (p > .05). The wet season had a higher prevalence rate of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths than the dry season (p < .05). The observed high prevalence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths in soil is considered a potential public health risk to swimmers and children playing outdoors in the Yenagoa metropolis.

Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 108-112
Perekibina A. Bariweni, PhD, Ikem K.E. Ekweozor, PhD, David N. Ogbonna, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: General Environmental Health

The aim of the study described in this article was to assess the physicochemical quality of water resources in Isfahan province, located in the central part of Iran, from June to November 2012. Comparison of the results with the acceptable limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for drinking water showed that nitrate, chloride, iron, and fluoride concentrations exceeded the maximum acceptable level in 12.3%, 9.2%, 6.8%, and 1.5% of samples, respectively. Total dissolved solids (TDS) and turbidity values also exceeded the maximum acceptable level in 9.2% and 3.1% of samples, respectively. In general, the quality of drinking water resources in the central part of Iran at present is mostly acceptable and satisfactory. It may be deteriorated in the future, however, because water quantity and quality in arid and semiarid areas are highly variable over time. Therefore, continued monitoring of the water resources quality is extremely important to environmental safety.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 40-45
Ali Shahryari, Mahnaz Nikaeen, Mehdi Hajiannejad, Hossein Saffari
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water

Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of asthma hospital visits with ozone concentrations in Maricopa County, Arizona. We used time plots and distributed lag nonlinear models to achieve these objectives while accounting for some potential confounders including temperature and day of the week. A total of 90,381 asthma hospitalizations were retrieved from the dataset (daily median = 39, range: 8–122). Asthma hospitalizations were highest in 2008 (16,949), during the months of November through December, and lowest in 2011 (13,213), during the months of June through July. By contrast, the average daily ozone concentration ranged from 27.05 parts per billion (ppb) in 2012 to 30.15 ppb in 2008 and from 13.96 ppb in December to 40.58 ppb in May. The association between asthma hospitalizations (relative risk [RR/per 10 ppb increase of ozone]) start at ~1.046 (95% confidence interval [1.029, 1.064] at lag 0) and gradually decrease over several days. Our findings suggest exposure to ozone is associated with increased RR of asthma hospital visits in Maricopa County lasting several days. This study used recently developed methods that are freely available and could be used to evaluate other health events that are measured over time.

May 2016
May 2016
78.9 | 8-13
Ahmed Mohamed, MSc, PhD, Kate Goodin, MPH, Ronald Pope, PhD, Mark Hubbard

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