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

Recent studies that have investigated arsenic content in juice, rice, milk, broth (beef and chicken), and other foods have stimulated an interest in understanding how prevalent arsenic contamination is in the U.S. food and beverage supply. The study described here focuses on quantifying arsenic levels in wine. A total of 65 representative wines from the top four wine-producing states in the U.S. were analyzed for arsenic content. All samples contained arsenic levels that exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) exposure limit for drinking water of 10 parts per billion (ppb) and all samples contained inorganic arsenic. The average arsenic detected among all samples studied was 23.3 ppb. Lead, a common co-contaminant to arsenic, was detected in 58% of samples tested, but only 5% exceeded the U.S. EPA exposure limit for drinking water of 15 ppb. Arsenic levels in American wines exceeded those found in other studies involving water, bottled water, apple juice, apple juice blend, milk, rice syrup, and other beverages. When taken in the context of consumption patterns in the U.S., the pervasive presence of arsenic in wine can pose a potential health risk to regular adult wine drinkers.

October 2015
78.3 | 16-22
Denise Wilson
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Public wells in the United States are regularly tested for arsenic, but private wells typically are not. However, when arsenic was found in 47% of wells tested in Iowa in 2008, a case study was designed to determine the source. This pilot study in Cerro Gordo County tests 29 parameters of wells and maps them against their depth and source aquifers. See which factors are associated with arsenic contamination in groundwater, recommendations for avoiding contamination, and how researchers, public health officials, and private wells drillers built a successful team to serve the homeowners for this serious threat.

July 2015
Douglas Schnoebelen, PhD; Sophia Walsh
Potential CE Credits: 1.00

Abstract

The growing grocery market industry is under increasing pressure to improve profit margins to maintain profitability. With the offerings at grocery stores continually evolving toward more profitable niches, food safety risks can be introduced or elevated as operations are added or modified. This study surveyed 132 private and corporate-owned grocery stores to assess food safety risk. A 2009 Food and Drug Administration Food Code risk category assessment score was assigned to each of the departments at these stores for comparison of risks associated with their processes and policies. Private stores had slightly more risk when compared with corporate-owned stores. High-risk processes, including reduced oxygen packaging and smoking and curing operations, existed in 13% of the grocery stores. Bakeries, delicatessens, and/or meat departments sharing the same operating space also increased the risk scoring.

November 2016
November 2016
79.4 | 16-21
Robert Newsad, MPH, Danny Ripley, Craig A. Shepherd, MPH, REHS, DAAS

Abstract

This study assessed the training needs and knowledge gaps across five competency domains among the food protection staff of the Cincinnati Health Department. The five overarching competency domains assessed included 1) scientific knowledge; 2) foodborne illness knowledge, rules, and regulations; 3) temperature and storage; 4) inspection equipment; and 5) communication. A full network workforce assessment was conducted in a 3-year prospective longitudinal study design. Key findings show that competency areas identified as needing attention improved over time. The domain that consistently showed the highest percentage of workforce needing improvement was foodborne illness knowledge, rules, and regulations.

November 2017
November 2017
80.4 | 30-35
William A. Mase, MA, MPH, DrPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Bobbie Jo Newell, MEd, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, H. Pamela Pagano, MPH, DrPH, CPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University , Jessica Arrazola, MPH, DrPH, CHES, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that coastal beach sand as well as coastal ocean water can be contaminated with fecal indicator Enterococcus bacteria (ENT). A study of sand ENT concentrations over a four-week period at 12 Rhode Island beaches was conducted during the summer of 2009. While average contamination was low relative to water quality standards, every beach had at least one day with very high sand ENT readings. On 10 of the 12 beaches, a statistically significant gradient occurred in geometric mean ENT concentrations among tidal zones, with dry (supratidal, or above high tide mark) sand having the highest level, followed by wet (intratidal, or below high tide mark) and underwater sand. Beaches with higher wave action had significantly lower ENT levels in wet and underwater sand compared to beaches with lower wave action.

April 2016
April 2016
78.8 | 12-17
Eugenie Coakley, MA, MPH, Amie L. Parris, Al Wyman, Gretchen Latowsky, MEd
Additional Topics A to Z: Recreational Waters

Article Abstract

In order to assess the prevalence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths in the Yenagoa Metropolis, 480 soil samples were collected from five communities for 12 months. The soil samples were collected along two transects from the waterfront and community playgrounds. Analysis was by standard methods. The results obtained from the study described in this article showed that 44.79% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 40.34%–49.24%) of the soil samples tested positive for nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths. Ascaris lumbricoides was the most common helminth with a prevalence rate of 35% (95% CI = 30.73%–39.27%). Mixed occurrence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths was 10.21%. Although the community playgrounds had a higher prevalence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths than the waterfront (p > .05), more cases of mixed occurrence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths occurred in the waterfront  than the community playgrounds (p > .05). The wet season had a higher prevalence rate of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths than the dry season (p < .05). The observed high prevalence of nonzoonotic soil-transmitted helminths in soil is considered a potential public health risk to swimmers and children playing outdoors in the Yenagoa metropolis.

Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 108-112
Perekibina A. Bariweni, PhD, Ikem K.E. Ekweozor, PhD, David N. Ogbonna, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: General Environmental Health

The aim of the study described in this article was to assess the physicochemical quality of water resources in Isfahan province, located in the central part of Iran, from June to November 2012. Comparison of the results with the acceptable limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for drinking water showed that nitrate, chloride, iron, and fluoride concentrations exceeded the maximum acceptable level in 12.3%, 9.2%, 6.8%, and 1.5% of samples, respectively. Total dissolved solids (TDS) and turbidity values also exceeded the maximum acceptable level in 9.2% and 3.1% of samples, respectively. In general, the quality of drinking water resources in the central part of Iran at present is mostly acceptable and satisfactory. It may be deteriorated in the future, however, because water quantity and quality in arid and semiarid areas are highly variable over time. Therefore, continued monitoring of the water resources quality is extremely important to environmental safety.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 40-45
Ali Shahryari, Mahnaz Nikaeen, Mehdi Hajiannejad, Hossein Saffari
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water

Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of asthma hospital visits with ozone concentrations in Maricopa County, Arizona. We used time plots and distributed lag nonlinear models to achieve these objectives while accounting for some potential confounders including temperature and day of the week. A total of 90,381 asthma hospitalizations were retrieved from the dataset (daily median = 39, range: 8–122). Asthma hospitalizations were highest in 2008 (16,949), during the months of November through December, and lowest in 2011 (13,213), during the months of June through July. By contrast, the average daily ozone concentration ranged from 27.05 parts per billion (ppb) in 2012 to 30.15 ppb in 2008 and from 13.96 ppb in December to 40.58 ppb in May. The association between asthma hospitalizations (relative risk [RR/per 10 ppb increase of ozone]) start at ~1.046 (95% confidence interval [1.029, 1.064] at lag 0) and gradually decrease over several days. Our findings suggest exposure to ozone is associated with increased RR of asthma hospital visits in Maricopa County lasting several days. This study used recently developed methods that are freely available and could be used to evaluate other health events that are measured over time.

May 2016
May 2016
78.9 | 8-13
Ahmed Mohamed, MSc, PhD, Kate Goodin, MPH, Ronald Pope, PhD, Mark Hubbard

Most prior research investigating the health effects of extreme cold has been limited to temperature alone. Only a few studies have assessed population vulnerability and compared various weather indicators. The study described in this article intended to evaluate the effects of cold weather on admissions due to ischemic heart disease, especially acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and to examine the potential interactive effects between weather factors and demographics on AMI. The authors found that extremely low universal apparent temperature in winter was associated with increased risk of AMI, especially during lag4–lag6. Certain demographic groups such as the elderly, males, people with Medicaid insurance, people living in warmer areas, and areas with high PM2.5 concentration showed higher vulnerabilities to cold-AMI effects than other groups.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 66-74
Shao Lin, MD, PhD, Aida Soim, MS, MD, Kevin A. Gleason, Syni-An Hwang, PhD

Article Abstract

Exposure-response relationship between particulate matter less than 10 µm in diameter (PM10) and human health in different seasons from 2001 to 2005 was examined based on hospital admissions data of respiratory system diseases from four major hospitals in Lanzhou, China. To quantify associations of respiratory system diseases with multiple air pollutants and meteorological conditions, a semiparametric generalized additive model was used in the authors’ study by implementing daily ambient sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and PM10 data collected from the Lanzhou Environmental Monitoring Station and daily meteorological data from Lanzhou Meteorological Bureau.

Results showed that daily averaged PM10 increased per interquartile range the hospital admissions number of respiratory diseases by 3.3% in spring, 1.4% in summer, 3.6% in autumn, and 4.0% in winter from a single-pollutant model, or 3.1%, 1.4%, 3.0%, and 4.0% from a multi-pollutant model, respectively. The effect of PM10 on respiratory hospital admissions was lowest in summer and highest in winter. The relative risks of PM10 on female or the elderly (≥65 yrs.) were higher, showing a stronger association of PM10 with respiratory diseases in female and the elderly groups than in males and people younger than 65.

Jan/Feb 2015
77.6 | 64-71
Tao Yan, An Xingqin, Mi Shengquan, Sun Zhaobin
Additional Topics A to Z: Ambient Air

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