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.

Motor vehicle crashes (MVC) are the leading cause of death from severe injuries on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (PRIR), averaging 16 MVC deaths per year from 2002 to 2011. The Sacred Cargo Coalition was established in PRIR in 2007 to implement intervention strategies to increase seat belt usage and reduce MVC fatalities, including seat belt law enforcement, creating a traffic court system, and educational campaigns on MVC prevention. The study described in this article examined the effectiveness of the interventions on increasing the seat belt usage rates and reducing MVC deaths. Secondary data were collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal and local agencies. Seat belt usage rates increased an average of 6.8 percentage points from 2007 (10%) to 2012 (44%). MVC fatalities decreased by 46.7% from the preintervention to the intervention period. Maintenance and improvement of the intervention strategies may be achieved by seeking additional funding and including appropriate engineering activities in PRIR.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 46-52
Joseph Amiotte, MSEH, REHS, Jo Anne Balanay, PhD, CIH, Charles Humphrey, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Injury Prevention

Article Abstract

Handheld temperature and relative humidity (T/RH) meters are commonly used in residential indoor air surveys. Although popular, T/RH meters are prone to sensor drift and consequent loss of accuracy, and thus instrument manufacturers often recommend annual calibration and adjustment. Field-use conditions, however, have been shown to accelerate electronic sensor drift in outdoor applications, resulting in out-of-tolerance measurements in less than one year. In the study described in this article, sensor drift was evaluated under residential field use for 30 handheld T/RH meters to predict needed calibration intervals based on hierarchical linear modeling. Instruments were used in 43 home visits over a 93-day period and were calibrated (without adjustment) 49 times over the study period with a laboratory standard. Analysis of covariance showed significant drift among temperature sensors for all three instrument types (p < .0001) and among humidity sensors in two instruments. The authors’ study suggests calibration frequency should be based on instrument performance under specific sampling conditions rather than on predetermined time intervals.

October 2014
77.3 |
Scott A. Bernhardt, Scott C. Collingwood, Kyle Mumford, Dennis Eggett
Additional Topics A to Z: Ambient Air


Industrial emissions, deteriorating or improperly removed lead paint, and the use of lead additives in fuel have left a substantial burden of heavy metals, such as lead, in urban soils. Much of this lead remains near the surface where it has the potential to impact human health. Exposure to lead, especially in children, can have lasting impacts on neurological development and academic achievement. Urban gardening, in particular, is an activity that could result in increased exposure to soil lead for many unsuspecting gardeners. During the summer of 2012, more than 1,061 surface soil samples were collected from an approximately 1.25 acre urban community garden in Terre Haute, Indiana. Samples were collected to evaluate the spatial distribution of lead across the community garden on the plot level. The results highlight the variability that can be seen within small areas of a former residential property, for example lead concentrations that are low (<200 parts per million [ppm]) within the same 10 x 10 foot garden plot as concentrations that are considered high (>600 ppm). Based on the results of this work, several areas of concern were identified and the community garden was reconfigured to reduce potential lead exposure to gardeners and the local community.

October 2016
October 2016
79.3 | 28-35
Jennifer C. Latimer, MS, PhD, David Van Halen, James Speer, Stephanie Krull
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials


Restaurants serve more than 70 billion meals in the U.S. each year. Annually, approximately 48 million foodborne illnesses occur in the U.S., yet only over 800 foodborne disease outbreaks get reported. From 1998–2013, 56% of the 17,445 outbreaks reported were associated with restaurants. While scientifically validated cleaning and sanitation strategies are available, microbial cross-contamination from environmental surfaces remains an issue. For instance, previous research shows that the cleaning tool itself can become a source of contamination. The objective of this study was to test if a flatware rest provides a physical barrier between contaminated tabletop surfaces and eating utensils. Data confirmed that flatware rests prevented the contamination of utensils from microorganisms when compared with utensils placed directly on surfaces inoculated with E. coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, and MS2 bacteriophage (a surrogate for norovirus). This study demonstrates that flatware rests are a practical solution to prevent cross-contamination of foodborne pathogens from tabletop to utensil, and potentially are an added layer of consumer protection.


November 2019
November 2019
82.4 | 24-28
Giselle Almeida, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Sarah L. Jones, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Kristen E. Gibson, PhD, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Chuck Lichon, R.S., M.P.H., Deputy Health Officer at District Health Department #2 in Michigan, developed a Children’s Environmental Health Power Point Program with the financial assistance of the Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI.  The Power Points are approximately 25-35 minutes in length, allowing for a presentation to be made during one classroom setting, or to be used for a community presentation, allowing time for Q & A.  Some of the topics include: Sunwise, Body Art, Household Hazardous Waste, Meth, Recreational Water, and more.  They are free to download and use for presentations in your school, health department community presentations, or for media use.  Changes in the presentations should not be made without consent from the author, and/or the NEHA Board of Directors.  

The Sun Wise PowerPoint is available via the link listed below:   

Chuck Lichon, R.S., M.P.H.
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health


To assess the behavior and precautions that swine workers take during suspected influenza outbreaks in swine, six commercial swine farms in the Midwest U.S. region were visited when influenza outbreaks were suspected in herds during the fall/winter of 2012–2013. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and type of task performed by swine workers were recorded based on farm representative reports. Between one to two workers were working on the day of each visit and spent approximately 25 minutes performing work-related tasks that placed them in close contact with the swine. The most common tasks reported were walking the aisles (27%), handling pigs (21%), and handling equipment (21%). The most common PPE were boots (100%), heavy rubber gloves (75%), and dedicated nondisposable clothing (74%). Use of N95 respirators was reported at three farms. Hand hygiene practices were common in most of the farms, but reportedly performed for only 20% to 25% of tasks.

May 2016
May 2016
78.9 | 22-26
Blanca Paccha, MPH, Victor Neira-Ramirez, DVM, PhD, Shawn Gibbs, MBA, PhD, CIH, Montserrat Torremorell, DVM, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks