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

Biological hazards such as exposure to ticks and mosquitoes can affect health. Permethrin-treated clothing is available to the public. We don’t currently understand, however, the effects of environmental factors such as fabric type, washing, sunlight, and temperature on permethrin content in treated clothing with respect to mosquito knockdown and mortality. We evaluated the extent to which fabric type (100% cotton denim jeans, 100% polyester work shirt, 35% cotton/65% polyester work shirt), light exposure (0 or 100%), temperature (18 °C, 32 °C), and number of washes (0, 3, 12, 36) affected mosquito knockdown 2 hours post-exposure, mosquito mortality 24 hours post-exposure, and permethrin content. All fabrics used in this study were treated with permethrin at a concentration of 125 µg/cm2. Denim fabric having no washes and no light exposure showed the highest amount of permethrin. Washing and light exposure significantly reduced the ability of permethrin-treated fabrics to induce mosquito knockdown and/or mortality under the simulated conditions used for this test. Temperatures tested did not affect permethrin content or mosquito knockdown and mortality. Long-lasting impregnation of uniforms protects against mosquito bites under simulated laboratory conditions. Employers and employees should consider the use of permethrin-impregnated clothing and uniforms in addition to daily repellent sprays.

April 2017
April 2017
79.8 | 8-15
Stephanie L. Richards, MSEH, PhD, East Carolina University, Jo Anne G. Balanay, PhD, CIH, East Carolina University, Jonathan W. Harris, MSEH, East Carolina University, Victoria M. Banks, East Carolina University

Abstract

Researchers from Oregon State and Louisiana State Universities convened a diverse gathering of leaders of Gulf Coast regional nongovernmental organizations, regulatory agencies, residents, and researchers to examine events following environmental disasters. The overall goals of the workshop were to develop unique findings from participant experiences that could be beneficial and to offer specific recommendations for the improvement of response, recovery, and resilience in future disasters. We examined three topics related to enhancing resilience to environmental disasters: rapid response for characterizing exposure; recovery and the role of the citizen scientist; and increased resilience with community participation. The participants shared their experiences and recommended solutions including increased training for citizen scientists, expanded use of innovative sampling technologies, and greater sharing of environmental conditions and information among stakeholders and agencies postevent. The recommendations will improve future response and recovery efforts, and should strengthen communities by supporting key theoretical attributes of resilience.

September 2017
September 2017
80.2 | 8-15
Margaret A. Reams, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, Louisiana State University, Anna K. Harding, PhD, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Wilma Subra, MS, Subra Company, Inc., Nina S. N. Lam, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, Louisiana State University

Abstract

Pathogen growth caused by improper or slow cooling of hot foods was a contributing factor in 504 of restaurant- and deli-related outbreaks in the U.S. from 1998–2008. Little is known, however, about restaurant cooling practices. To fill this gap, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) conducted an observational study to identify and understand factors that might determine which methods restaurants follow to rapidly cool food. These methods include refrigerating food at ≤41 °F, at shallow depths, and in containers that are ventilated, unstacked, and have space around them. EHS-Net personnel collected data through manager interviews and observation of cooling processes in 420 randomly selected restaurants. Regression analyses revealed characteristics of restaurants most likely to use the cooling methods assessed. These characteristics included ownership by restaurant chains, manager food safety training and certification, few foods cooled at a time, many meals served daily, and a high ratio of workers to managers. These findings suggest that regulatory food safety programs and the retail industry might improve cooling methods—and reduce outbreaks—by providing and encouraging manager food safety training and certification, and by focusing intervention efforts on independent and smaller restaurants.

 

June 2020
June 2020
82.10 | 8-13
Kirsten Reed, MPH, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Laura Brown, PhD, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Danny Ripley, Metro Nashville/Davidson County Public Health Department, Nicole Hedeen, MPH, Minnesota Department of Health

Abstract

Restaurant food safety is monitored by local health departments through routine inspections. Given the historical use of different inspection formats, the purpose of this study was to assess how word choices used to categorize violations could influence restaurant manager interpretation of inspection results. This study used a scenario-based questionnaire to examine manager perceptions and preferences among inspection formats, including the three-tier system currently recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. Results suggest that managers were able to determine the relative seriousness of violations, but perceptions of risk were influenced by the words used to classify the violation. In particular, use of the words "priority foundation" and "core" as part of the three-tier violation format were confusing. Managers preferred the letter grade and numeric score systems because they were perceived to be easy to understand, easy to use, accurate, and require the least amount of time. Managers had some concerns about the new three-tier system in the area of accuracy. Results suggest the need for additional training for restaurant managers, especially on the meaning of different classifying terms when changing to a new inspection format, as well as the rationale and benefits of changing to a new system such as the three-tier format.

 

June 2019
June 2019
81.10 | 8-14
Jing Ma, PhD, University of Delaware, Jooho Kim, PhD, James Madison University, Barbara Almanza, PhD, RD, Purdue University

Abstract

The interest in fermenting foods at retail and food service levels is increasing. Foodborne pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes, however, have been implicated in foodborne illness in several fermented and acidic foods. This study evaluated and validated the lethality of potentially acid-tolerant pathogens E. coli O157 and L. monocytogenes in sauerkraut that was made using traditional fermentation techniques. Fresh cabbage juice prepared with 2.5% salt was inoculated separately with a 5-strain mixture of E. coli O157 and a 5-strain mixture of L. monocytogenes and then was allowed to ferment at 25 °C. The pH decreased at a steady rate for the first 7 days and remained relatively stable thereafter. There was a significant decrease in E. coli O157 from Day 1 to Day 7 (p < .05) and a significant decrease in L. monocytogenes count from Day 2 to Day 7 (p < .05) with a 5-log reduction for both pathogens at Day 7 and no pathogens detected after Day 9. The data indicate that fermentation of cabbage at ambient temperature is lethal to the survival of E. coli O157 and L. monocytogenes. This study can be used to support the safety of sauerkraut fermentations in retail and food service operations.

 

December 2021
December 2021
84.5 | 8-12
Sujan Acharya, Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences Department, Utah State University, Brian A. Nummer, PhD, Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences Department, Utah State University

Abstract

This article will identify the state of science on the generation, production, and transport of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Additionally, this article will focus on the transport of these environmental contaminants through air sources. It is important to explore why air exposure is critical to bring awareness to a problem that is not always immediately apparent. From a biological standpoint, clean air is necessary to sustain healthy life. Thus, it is key to understand the environmental transport of chemicals such as PFOS and PFOA with regard to their ability to migrate (i.e., air to water and water to air) and thus create unsafe air. The fluorinated backbone of these substances is both hydrophobic and oleophobic/lipophobic, while the terminal functional group is hydrophilic (water loving). Therefore, PFOS and PFOA compounds tend to partition to interfaces, such as between air and water with the fluorinated backbone residing in air and the terminal functional group residing in water. This article will identify opportunities for research to further the understanding of their potential impacts to human health.

 

January 2021
January/February 2021
83.6 | 20-27
Clyde V. Owens, Jr., PhD, Air and Energy Management Division, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Abstract

Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) in Indianapolis, Indiana, was awarded funding in 2009 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Healthy Homes Demonstration Grant Program as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This funding is currently supporting activities addressing health and safety hazards in homes of low- and very low-income residents living in an urban community within Marion County with an extensive history of heavy industry and lead smelting. One portion of this grant is being used to fund IRB-approved research conducted by MCPHD for the period of the grant. Development and implementation of this study has provided both unique challenges and positive opportunities for study participants, MCPHD, and community stakeholders. The following commentary provides insight into the benefits and rewards of implementing a successful study process, as well as challenges in implementing a community-based research study for the first time in a preexisting Healthy Homes Demonstration Grant Program health department.

July 2016
July/August 2016
79.1 | 20-23
Juanita Ebert Brand, MSN, EdD, RN, WHNP-BC, Virginia A. Caine, MD, Jo Rhodes, MSG, HHS, CRT, Jason Ravenscroft, MPH, REHS, CHMM

Article Abstract

Water quality of rooftop-collected rainwater is an issue of increased interest particularly in developing countries where the collected water is used as a source of drinking water. Bacteriological and chemical parameters of 25 samples of rooftop-harvested rainwater stored in ferrocement tanks were analyzed in the study described in this article. Except for the pH and lower dissolved oxygen levels, all other physicochemical parameters were within World Health Organization guidelines. Bacteriological results revealed that the rooftop-harvested rainwater stored in tanks does not often meet the bacteriological quality standards prescribed for drinking water. Fifty percent of samples of harvested rainwater for rural and urban community use and 20% of the samples for individual household use showed the presence of E. coli. Fecal coliform/fecal streptococci ratios revealed nonhuman animal sources of fecal pollution. Risk assessment of bacterial isolates from the harvested rainwater showed high resistance to ampicillin, erythromycin, penicillin, and vancomycin. Multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) indexing of the isolates and elucidation of the resistance patterns revealed that 73% of the isolates exhibited MAR.

 

Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 114-121
A.A. Mohamed Hatha, PhD, Y. Jesmi, MPhil, K.M. Mujeeb Rahiman, PhD, Lal Deepu, MSc
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water

Abstract

While an increasing number of households are keeping rodents as pets, rats and mice are considered pests and efforts are undertaken to control rodent populations to avoid human–rodent encounters. Tracking the burden of rodent bite injuries can guide prevention efforts. Data for this study were from the 2001–2015 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP), a stratified probability sample of U.S. hospitals. Records included information about age, body part affected, cause, diagnosis, case disposition, and sex. We coded narrative descriptions for the source of the bite. Every year, an estimated 12,700 injuries from rodent bites are treated in emergency departments, amounting to roughly one rodent bite injury treated every hour. Rats, mice, and squirrels were the most frequently reported rodents that bit people. The largest percentage of bites, approximately 27%, occurred in individuals <10 years and most bites occurred during the summer months. Injuries, zoonotic diseases, allergies, mental health adverse effects, and the environmental impact of rodent exposures exemplify the need for a multisectoral approach to prevention.

 

March 2021
March 2021
83.7 | 18-24
Ricky Langley, MPH, MD, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Marilyn Goss Haskell, MPH, DVM, MGH Innovative One Health Solutions, Dariusz Hareza, MD, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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