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.


Arsenic and boron can naturally occur in well water and chronic exposure to both is associated with a wide variety of health effects. In 2016, two New Jersey townships were targeted for a school-based outreach and testing event because the population relies on private well water for potable use, the aquifer is known to be at risk for arsenic and boron contamination, and young children are particularly vulnerable. Within 1 week, 376 homes submitted water samples. The results showed 94 homes (25%) exceeded the New Jersey arsenic maximum contaminant level and 18 homes (5%) exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency boron health advisory for children. A short survey attached to sample bottles provided information about reasons for testing and asked if a treatment method was installed. School-based recruitment for private well testing was an efficient public health outreach method to quickly obtain many private well samples and is a promising model for future private well outreach.


September 2020
September 2020
83.2 | 26-32
Megan Rockafellow-Baldoni, MPH, PhD, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Rutgers University, Brady L. Lubenow, MS, New Jersey Geological and Water Survey, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Nicholas A. Procopio, MS, PhD, Division of Science and Research, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Jessie A. Gleason, MSPH, Environmental and Occupational Health Surveillance Program, New Jersey Department of Health

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

December 2020 issue of the Journal of Environmental HealthAbstract

To contain the COVID-19 outbreak and mobilize mitigation efforts, public health surveillance relies heavily on individual COVID-19 test results. A shortage of supplies, equipment, facilities, public health professionals, and trained laboratory personnel creates challenges for detection and management of the outbreak, especially in rural and underserved communities. Clinical testing might not be feasible or cost-effective for monitoring the community spread of COVID-19, especially in rural areas. Robust surveillance approaches with a greater coverage potential are needed for developing effective public health strategies during the current pandemic. Findings from recent studies show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be detected in stool samples collected from hospitalized individuals, which has led to a new surveillance approach for testing sewage to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. This approach offers a tremendous potential for real-time screening of community spread of COVID-19. This month’s cover highlights a guest commentary, “Sewage Monitoring in Rural Communities: A Powerful Strategy for COVID-19 Surveillance,” that explores the merit, limitations, and challenges of implementing sewage monitoring methods in rural parts of the U.S. to protect public health and inform policy and decision making.


December 2020
December 2020
83.5 | 8-10
Asli Aslan, PhD, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Gulzar Shah, PhD, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Vinoth Sittaramane, PhD, College of Science and Mathematics, Georgia Southern University, Padmini Shankar, PhD, Waters College of Health Professions, Georgia Southern University


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


Mosquito adulticides are tools to manage populations and reduce human disease risks. We examined the spatial impact of policies that affect the ability to conduct adult mosquito control. We used the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District (NWMAD) to illustrate how various constraints can impact vector control. Almost 12.7% of the 233 mi2 covered by NWMAD is owned by the Forest Preserve District (FPD) or has been designated as a Nature Preserve Area (NPA). Pesticide application is prohibited in both FPDs and NPAs. Additionally, NWMAD allows residents to opt out of having their property parcel sprayed for mosquitoes by being placed on a "do not spray" (DNS) list. As of February 2019, 162 residential and beehive parcels encompassing 1,059.2 acres are listed. As a result of this policy, 2,686 residential and beehive parcels (1.3% of all parcels) received reduced or no mosquito adulticide sprays in 2018. These parcels were distributed unevenly across the district's eight townships, with approximately 90% of residential DNS acreage in two townships. Nearly 14% of all NWMAD acreage is exempt from treatment, which could affect the ability to respond effectively to disease outbreaks.


May 2022
May 2022
84.9 | 22-28
Patrick Irwin, PhD, Northwest Mosquito Abatement District, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Dan Bartlett, Northwest Mosquito Abatement District, Kristina Lopez, University of Wisconsin–Madison