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.


Windborne fungal spores are able to move across international borders, which is a health issue because many fungi are pathogenic and can infect humans. Moreover, pathogens can shift their geographic range under climate change, infecting previously unexposed populations. We used a macrosystems approach to identify future research priorities related to windborne dispersal of fungal pathogens. We focused on the fungus Coccidioides, the causal agent for valley fever in humans. The geographic range of Coccidioides spp. includes the U.S.–Mexico border region, where cases of valley fever have increased. As Coccidioides does not adhere to international boundaries, we advocate for a binational approach to understand valley fever from a public health and ecological perspective. Knowledge gained from research on Coccidioides can be leveraged to other windborne fungal pathogens, especially those that have an environmental stage in their life cycle. Finally, we argue that air dispersal of Coccidioides should be a research priority in light of future climate challenges that will require informed science policy decisions.


April 2019
April 2019
81.8 | 14-22
Linh Anh Cat, MS, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, Morgan E. Gorris, MS, Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, James T. Randerson, PhD, Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, Meritxell Riquelme, PhD, Department of Microbiology, Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education


We investigated a gastrointestinal illness cluster among persons who attended a baseball tournament (>200 teams) during July 2015. We interviewed representatives of 19 teams; illness was reported among only the 9 (47%) teams that stayed at Hotel A (p < .01). We identified 55 primary cases. A case-control study demonstrated that pool exposure at Hotel A was significantly associated with illness (odds ratio: 7.3; 95% confidence interval: 3.6, 15.2). Eight out of nine (89%) stool specimens tested were positive for Cryptosporidium, with C. hominis IfA12G1 subtype identified in two specimens. The environmental health assessment detected a low free available chlorine level, and pool water tested positive for E. coli and total coliforms. A possible diarrheal contamination event, substantial hotel pool use, and use of cyanuric acid might have contributed to this outbreak and magnitude. Aquatic facilities practicing proper operation and maintenance (e.g., following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Model Aquatic Health Code) can protect the public’s health.

May 2017
May 2017
79.9 | 16-22
Mary-Margaret A. Fill, MD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tennessee Department of Health, Jennifer Lloyd, MSPH, Shelby County Health Department, Tamal Chakraverty, MPH, MD, CPH, Shelby County Health Department, David Sweat, MPH, Shelby County Health Department
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 Crystal Meth PowerPoint is available via the link listed below:   

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


Unintentional nonfire-related (UNFR) carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is among the leading causes of unintentional poisoning deaths in the U.S. Our objective was to determine risk factors for UNFR CO poisoning deaths during the cold season in New York City (NYC). We examined data from death certificates and NYC Office of Medical Examiner records to describe decedent demographics, exposure circumstances, and CO sources during the cold months (October–April) between 2005–2013. Over the study period there were 32 UNFR CO deaths, with an average annual death rate of 0.4 per million people. Average annual cold-season death rates were higher among older adults (1.2 per million people ≥65 years) and men (0.8 per million men). The most common source of exposure was automobile engines (n = 15, 47%). The UNFR CO poisoning death rate in NYC is lower than the national average. Older adults and men are at greatest risk of death. Automobile exhaust is a significant and preventable source of exposure and should be emphasized in public health messaging and prevention efforts.


May 2019
May 2019
81.9 | 16-22
Aletheia Donahue, MPH, MD, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, Kathryn Lane, MA, MPH, Bureau of Environmental Surveillance and Policy, New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Thomas Matte, MPH, MD, Bureau of Environmental Surveillance and Policy, New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


The large global production of plastics and their presence everywhere in society and the environment have created a need for assessing chemical hazards and risks associated with plastic products. Plastics from polystyrene can release potentially toxic products (including styrene), particularly when heated. In this study we used a Fluo-Imager Analyser with software for spectral fluorescence signature (SFS) analysis. The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare the amount of styrene released into food and beverages by using SFS on a Fluo-Imager Analyser. Our results showed that concentrations of released styrene were in the range of 1.45–9.95 µg/L for hot water and 0.10–2.78 µg/L for room temperature water. The results indicate that this fluorescence diagnostic method is an effective tool for analysis of styrene released into food and beverages from polystyrene containers and cups, and could be useful in further investigations of styrene toxicity.


May 2019
May 2019
81.9 | 24-30
Bruno Cvetkovic, Andrija Stampar Teaching Institute of Public Health, Branko Kolaric, MD, PhD, Andrija Stampar Teaching Institute of Public Health, University of Rijeka, Zelimira Cvetkovic, PhD, Andrija Stampar Teaching Institute of Public Health, Sanja Pintaric, PhD, First School of Economics
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

The Great East Japan Earthquake was the first disaster ever recorded that included an earthquake, a tsunami, a nuclear power plant accident, a power supply failure, and a large-scale disruption of supply chains. Amid the deep devastation and massive recovery efforts, came the challenge of how to collect, store, sort, recycle, and process disaster debris in an efficient and sustainable manner. View this session to learn how this is being done at the largest outdoor Municipal Recycling Facility in operation, and return to your organization with a model for how to work with government and planning departments to permit and build temporary disaster debris processing facilities.

July 2015
Leonard Grossberg, MPA, REHS/RS
Potential CE Credits: 1.00
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazards

January/February 2021 issue of the Journal of Environmental HealthAbstract

The significant proportion of foodborne illnesses attributed to restaurants highlights the importance of food establishment inspections. The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to characterize local inspection programs and evaluate the effects of programmatic characteristics, such as active public disclosure of inspection results, on select operational and foodborne illness outcomes. Between January 7 and April 6, 2020, an online 36-question survey was administered to 790 government-run food establishment inspection programs at state and local levels. Of 149 survey respondents, 127 (85%) represented local food establishment inspection agencies. Agencies that disclosed at the point-of-service reported fewer mean numbers of re-inspections by 15%, foodborne illness complaints by 38%, outbreaks by 55% (p = .03), and Salmonella cases by 12% than agencies that disclosed online only. Agencies that used some type of grading method for inspection results reported fewer mean numbers of re-inspections by 37%, complaints by 22%, outbreaks by 61%, and Salmonella cases by 25% than agencies that did not grade inspections. Programmatic characteristics appear to be associated with foodborne illness outcomes. These results warrant future research to improve the effectiveness of food establishment inspection programs.

Read the Full Article (PDF)


January 2021
January/February 2021
83.6 | 8-13
Thuy N. Kim, MPH, CFOI, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Melanie J. Firestone, MPH, PhD, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Natasha DeJarnett, MPH, PhD, National Environmental Health Association, Laura Wildey, CP-FS, National Environmental Health Association