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.


Lead exposure causes an array of significant health problems in adults and especially in children. Therefore, reducing lead exposure is an important public health goal. Here, we analyzed data collected about the lead content in two product types, candy and purses. We show that following litigation, the prevalence of these products containing lead in California declined significantly. Results from products purchased online suggest that the decline was national, not just limited to California. Our results indicate that state consumer protection laws can be successful in reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals.


March 2019
March 2019
81.7 | 28-31
Caroline Cox, MS, Center for Environmental Health, Howard Hirsch, JD, Lexington Law Group
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials


Repeated warnings by the scientific community on the dire consequences of climate change through global warming to the ecology and sustenance of our planet have not been give appropriate attention by the U.S. public. Research has shown that climate change is responsible for catastrophic weather occurrences--such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and heat waves--resulting in environmental and public health issues. The purpose of this report is to examine factors influencing public views on climate change. Theoretical and political perspectives are examined to unpack opinions held by the public in the U.S. on climate change. The Health Belief Model is used as an example to showcase the efficacy of an individual behavior change program in providing the synergy to understand climate change at the microlevel. The concept of reframing is discussed as a strategy to alter how the public views climate change.

April 2017
April 2017
79.8 | 24-27
Caitlin Weems, MS, Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, Ithaca College, Prithwi Raj Subramaniam, PhD, Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, Ithaca College

A re-emergence of bedbugs and resultant impacts on community resources led to the convening of a “Bedbug Summit." Attendees represented professionals from a broad spectrum of affected sectors including housing providers, homeless-shelters, education, pest control services, public health, waste stream management, and social services. During the summit, this group worked together and identified collaborative approaches to address bedbugs in the region. The resulting Bed Bug Workgroup has made significant achievements including successful advocacy for additional funding, launching an information telephone hotline, developing a multi-lingual educational clearinghouse website, and identification of a collaborative surveillance system that protects pest control operators and the communities they serve. Attend this session to learn about how engaging nontraditional partners results in more robust environmental health outcomes and apply a community organizing model to emergent public health issues.

July 2015
Matt Davis, MPH, Christie  Sweitz, REHS
Potential CE Credits: 1.00

Article Abstract

Infants and young children under five years of age are uniquely vulnerable to certain environmental contaminants. Some of these contaminants have been found in early learning environments (ELEs), or child care and family child care settings where children spend an average of 40 hours a week. These contaminants as well as infants’ and children’s unique physiology, exposures, and behaviors in child care settings are the focus of this article. Current child care and family child care licensing requirements specific to environmental health–related issues are also reviewed. Data were reviewed and analyzed from the following surveys: the 2008 Child Care Licensing Survey, the First National Environmental Health Survey of Child Care Centers, and the Children’s Total Exposure to Persistent Pesticides and Other Persistent Organic Pollutants. The authors’ analysis suggests that current state licensing programs impose only the most basic environmental health protection requirements. No mandatory federal regulations standardize child care and family child care regulatory efforts nationally. Resources are available, however, from federal agencies and other children’s environmental health organizations that may provide guidance for how to establish better environmental health protection measures in ELEs.



March 2014
76.7 | 24-34
Gwendolyn Hudson, MPH, PhD, CPH, Gregory G. Miller, MS, Kathy Seikel, MBA
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health


Most foodborne illnesses reported to health departments originate from food service establishments. The District of Columbia Department of Health conducts periodic inspections to assess the risk of foodborne illness. The occurrence trends of priority violations and their relationships to foodborne illness and resident complaints have not yet been investigated in the District of Columbia. This research studied the relationship between foodborne illness complaints reported by patrons and observed priority violations in food establishments. This study used a nonexperimental quantitative methodology that relied on preexisting data, including food establishment inspection reports and health statistics. The results showed that observed priority violations in food establishment inspections in the District of Columbia were positively correlated with two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-identified foodborne illness risk factors: poor personal hygiene and contaminated equipment. The study results showed that patron-generated foodborne illness complaints were significantly correlated with improper holding temperatures and contaminated equipment. This study can act as a motivator to reevaluate existing food safety inspection enforcement practices and thereby reduce foodborne illnesses in the District of Columbia.

April 2018
April 2018
80.8 | 14-19
Temesgen A. Jemaneh, MSc, DrPH, REHS, CP-FS, ASP, District of Columbia Department of Health , Mark Minelli, MA, MPA, PhD, Central Michigan University, Abimbola Farinde, PhD, PharmD, Capella University, Edward Paluch, PhD, Capella University


Parks benefit public health in many ways, from improving stormwater management to mitigating disparities associated with physical and mental health. Parks and recreational areas can be adversely impacted by disasters. Perceptions of postdisaster environmental contamination of parks can limit residents’ willingness to use parks and thus their benefits. In this study, teams of trained interviewers surveyed residents in Houston, Texas, who were using parks in the months following Hurricane Harvey. Data about resident perception of and emotional response to environmental pollution, as well as self-rated postdisaster mental and physical health, were collected. Respondents felt certain that Hurricane Harvey caused environmental contamination in their communities and that this contamination would impact health. Of respondents, 40% reported anger, while only 21.4% felt afraid. Survey respondents had significantly lower mental health composite scores than a national comparison group. Although residents report strong concerns and need information about hurricane-associated environmental contamination, little data have been collected or made available to residents by federal or state agencies. The use of recreational areas for flood mitigation potentially exposes residents to environmental contamination after flooding. More information is needed about risks to health from these exposures.


July 2020
July/August 2020
83.1 | 8-16
Jennifer A. Horney, MPH, PhD, CPH, Department of Epidemiology, University of Delaware, Katy L. Stone, MPH, Department of Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Ibraheem M. Karaye, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, University of Delaware, Emily A. Rauscher, PhD (deceased), Department of Communication, University of Utah


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