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

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.

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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

Description

This special report examines two federal laws, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and considers the role each law plays in discussions about employees’ symptoms or illnesses. It is possible that existing state laws might restrict restaurant manager actions on this issue. Industry food safety professionals, however, specifically mentioned federal laws, so this special report will focus on federal regulations.

December 2017
December 2017
80.5 | 24-26
Julia Charles, JD, Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Taylor Radke, MPH, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Abstract

The objective of this study was to describe changes in carbon monoxide (CO) safety knowledge and observed CO detector use following distribution of a CO detector use intervention in two environments, a pediatric emergency department (Ohio) and an urban community (Maryland). A total of 301 participants completed the 6-month follow up (Ohio: n = 125; Maryland: n = 176). The majority of participants was female, 25–34 years of age, and employed (full or part time). We found that CO safety knowledge did not differ between settings at enrollment, but significantly improved at the follow-up visits. The majority of CO detectors observed were functional and installed in the correct location. Of those with CO detectors at follow up, the majority had not replaced the battery. The success of the intervention varied between settings and distribution methods. The majority of participants showed improved knowledge and behaviors. Improved device technology may be needed to eliminate the need for battery replacement.

May 2017
May 2017
79.9 | 24-30
Lara B. McKenzie, MA, PhD, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, The Ohio State Uni, Kristin J. Roberts, MS, MPH, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Wendy C. Shields, MPH, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Eileen McDonald, MS, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Abstract

Proper hand washing practices in food service establishments are important for the adequate reduction of microorganisms on hands. To address practical barriers associated with active and direct interventions, this study employed passive and indirect interventions to examine whether the simple use of a water flow timer and an informational poster could influence food handler hand washing practices. A within-group, multiple-intervention experiment including baseline, single intervention, multiple intervention, and withdrawal phases was conducted at a student-operated, full-service restaurant over 4 weeks. We recorded a total of 839 hand washing practices over 112 hr of observation using a motion-detecting camera. Findings showed that the presence of a water flow timer increased the duration of hand washing and the compliance rate to proper scrubbing duration. The effects were robust in the weeks when establishments were busy with high-customer volume. The findings provide useful data regarding the use of passive and indirect interventions to change food handler hand washing practices.

 

April 2019
April 2019
81.8 | 8-13
EunSol Her, MS, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, Carl Behnke, PhD, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, Barbara Almanza, PhD, RDN, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University

An analysis of drinking water contamination at both the community and household level was conducted in Shatila camp, Lebanon. To ascertain the health impacts of water contamination in children under five, questionnaires were used to elicit community and household practices as well as child health indicators. Results, suggested interventions, and risk communication and targeted health education will be discussed in the context of human rights and marginalized populations.

 

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health

Article Abstract

Combined exposure to secondhand (SHS) smoke and radon increases lung cancer risk 10-fold. The authors assessed the feasibility and impact of a brief home screening and environmental feedback intervention to reduce radon and SHS (Freedom from Radon and Smoking in the Home [FRESH]) and measured perceived risk of lung cancer and synergistic risk perception (SHS x radon). Participants (N = 50) received home radon and SHS kits and completed baseline surveys. Test results were shared using an intervention guided by the Teachable Moment Model. Half of the participants completed online surveys two months later. Most (76%) returned the radon test kits; 48% returned SHS kits. Of the returned radon test kits, 26% were >4.0 pCi/L. Of the returned SHS kits, 38% had nicotine >.1 μg/m3. Of those with high radon, more than half had contacted a mitigation specialist or planned contact. Of those with positive air nicotine, 75% had adopted smoke-free homes. A significant increase occurred in perceived risk for lung cancer and synergistic risk perception after FRESH. 

Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 156-161
Ellen J. Hahn, RN, PhD, FAAN, Mary Kay Rayens, PhD, Sarah E. Kercsmar, PhD, Sarah M. Adkins, MS
Additional Topics A to Z: Radon

Abstract

The use of a portable wood dust collector (PWDC) to reduce exposure to wood dust during sanding with a belt sander or sawing with a miter saw was studied and an assessment was conducted of the effect of this collector on noise exposure. This pilot study used Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) samplers to collect wood dust samples and personal noise dosimeters to measure noise exposure. The PWDC was used to study various setup configurations for sanding and sawing. Other variables of interest were wood type, PDWC filter type, and sandpaper use frequency. The setup configuration of a commercially available hood was an important factor in the inhalable dust exposure when using sanding (p = .0001) and also sawing (p < .0001). The PDWC did not increase the noise during either task. None of the variables of interest predicted the noise level while sanding with a belt sander (p = .56). The type of wood was a significant predictor of noise for sawing with a miter saw (p = .01). The time it takes to adjust the PDWC hood and how this additional task affects productivity should be assessed to further understand the effectiveness of this control strategy.

 

December 2020
December 2020
83.5 | 12-17
Donna J.H. Vosburgh, MS, PhD, RS, Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Reid T. Barnhart, Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Connor Carrington, Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Morgan R. Drewek, Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
Additional Topics A to Z: Injury Prevention

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