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

Restaurants serve more than 70 billion meals in the U.S. each year. Annually, approximately 48 million foodborne illnesses occur in the U.S., yet only over 800 foodborne disease outbreaks get reported. From 1998–2013, 56% of the 17,445 outbreaks reported were associated with restaurants. While scientifically validated cleaning and sanitation strategies are available, microbial cross-contamination from environmental surfaces remains an issue. For instance, previous research shows that the cleaning tool itself can become a source of contamination. The objective of this study was to test if a flatware rest provides a physical barrier between contaminated tabletop surfaces and eating utensils. Data confirmed that flatware rests prevented the contamination of utensils from microorganisms when compared with utensils placed directly on surfaces inoculated with E. coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, and MS2 bacteriophage (a surrogate for norovirus). This study demonstrates that flatware rests are a practical solution to prevent cross-contamination of foodborne pathogens from tabletop to utensil, and potentially are an added layer of consumer protection.

 

November 2019
November 2019
82.4 | 24-28
Giselle Almeida, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Sarah L. Jones, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Kristen E. Gibson, PhD, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas
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 Sun Wise PowerPoint is available via the link listed below:   

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

Abstract

This 2017–2019 project started with a systematic assessment of three independent environmental and occupational health-related doctoral (PhD) programs, which are sponsored by different agencies, institutes, and schools within Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey: Exposure Science, Toxicology, and Environmental Health. In addition, we examined other graduate and undergraduate environment-related schools, departments, divisions, and institutes with degree programs (majors and minors) and certificate programs at Rutgers. Then, we conducted a survey of students. Data collected can result in enhancements to connections between entities, with multiple potential benefits. For example, for Rutgers School of Public Health, data can inform efforts to increase student applications to both master’s and doctoral programs, as well as increase faculty participation in teaching and student advising. The project should result in more qualified student applications from students in their final year of master’s programs. Subsequently, acceptances into and matriculations from PhD programs should also increase. Overall, this approach should provide more continuity of scholarship at schools, institutes and/or other environmental programs at Rutgers. In summary, this project’s data can help support positive yet complex relationships across engaged entities at Rutgers and inform other U.S. environmental health programs.

 

April 2020
April 2020
82.8 | 28-33
Derek G. Shendell, MPH, DEnv, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, New Jersey Safe Schools Program, Rutgers School of Public Health, Nimit N. Shah, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, New Jersey Safe Schools Program, Rutgers School of Public Health, Laura E. Jones, MPH, Departments of Epidemiology and Urban-Global Public Health, New Jersey Safe Schools Program, Rutgers School of Public Health
Additional Topics A to Z: Workforce Development

Abstract

This study examined the survival of Listeria monocytogenes in 18 commercially available cold-brewed coffees with and without added ingredients that had been under refrigeration at 4 °C. The pH of the cold-brewed coffees ranged from 4.97 to 6.14. Each sample was inoculated with a 5-strain mixture of L. monocytogenes and incubated at 4 °C for 60 days. No growth in the L. monocytogenes population was observed; in contrast, a decrease in L. monocytogenes counts was seen in all the cold-brewed coffees evaluated. L. monocytogenes counts reached <1 CFU/ml in 10 of the 18 cold-brewed coffee samples within the 60 days of incubation. Among the 8 samples where L. monocytogenes survived after 60 days, 3 demonstrated >4-log reduction in final counts. The remaining 5 samples did not achieve a 4-log reduction, with the total reduction observed ranging from 1.69 to 3.28 log CFU/ml.

The decrease of L. monocytogenes counts regardless of the concentration and pH of the samples suggests a lack of nutrients for metabolism or possible antimicrobial activity originating from the coffee itself. The comparable reduction in L. monocytogenes counts between cold-brewed coffee with and without added ingredients also suggests the possible antimicrobial activity of the coffee components even in the presence of added dairy or nondairy ingredients. Although there were significant decreases in L. monocytogenes counts, the survival of L. monocytogenes for up to 60 days at 4 °C in some of the cold-brewed coffees we evaluated necessitates the need for good manufacturing practices and hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) method consideration.

 

September 2022
September 2022
85.2 | 18-22
Sujan Acharya, PhD, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, Utah State University, Brian A. Nummer, PhD, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, Utah State University

Abstract

This first article in a series of three on land reuse highlights sustainable brownfields redevelopment in Europe. Sustainability is a key European concept. Europe’s densely populated urban areas are facing specific challenges that include urban sprawl and environmental pollution. Redeveloping brownfields, or reusing the abandoned built landscape, can positively impact the economic, social, and environmental health security of cities. Many European Union (EU) cities benefit from policy and financial assistance in renovating their urban areas. This article reviews the EU’s policy and funding frameworks that support sustainable brownfields redevelopment. Brownfield site problems are common to many countries in Europe and around the world, and this article aims to share knowledge and resources that support the transformation of these abandoned or underused areas into public or private uses.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE (PDF)

 

November 2021
November 2021
84.4 | 24-31
Cezar Morar, PhD, University of Oradea, Romania, Laurel Berman, PhD, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Sharon Unkart, PhD, National Environmental Health Association, Serap Erdal, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago

Abstract

To assess the behavior and precautions that swine workers take during suspected influenza outbreaks in swine, six commercial swine farms in the Midwest U.S. region were visited when influenza outbreaks were suspected in herds during the fall/winter of 2012–2013. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and type of task performed by swine workers were recorded based on farm representative reports. Between one to two workers were working on the day of each visit and spent approximately 25 minutes performing work-related tasks that placed them in close contact with the swine. The most common tasks reported were walking the aisles (27%), handling pigs (21%), and handling equipment (21%). The most common PPE were boots (100%), heavy rubber gloves (75%), and dedicated nondisposable clothing (74%). Use of N95 respirators was reported at three farms. Hand hygiene practices were common in most of the farms, but reportedly performed for only 20% to 25% of tasks.

May 2016
May 2016
78.9 | 22-26
Blanca Paccha, MPH, Victor Neira-Ramirez, DVM, PhD, Shawn Gibbs, MBA, PhD, CIH, Montserrat Torremorell, DVM, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Abstract

Previous research has revealed that firefighters have an increased risk for noise-induced hearing loss; however, firefighters do not reach an 8-hr time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 dB. The high variability in occupational tasks and intermittent noise exposure of firefighters offers an explanation for the low 8-hr TWA. Our study evaluated specific occupational tasks, firefighting positions, and fire engine noise during a live fire training exercise. Researchers then identified the tasks and firefighting positions that presented the greatest risk to firefighters’ hearing health. Firefighting positions were statistically significantly different (p = .04) in terms of decibel levels; we determined that the firefighter in the position of water pump operator experienced the greatest decibel level (91 dBA). Noise exposure while traveling in a response vehicle varied by the type of vehicle (p = .009), with the newest vehicle having the smallest noise level (81 dBA). Analysis of the data revealed that the occupational tasks with the highest noise levels were cleanup at the scene and cleanup at the fire station (88 dBA each).

 

May 2020
May 2020
82.9 | 22-26
Lynn R. Gilbertson, PhD, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Donna J.H. Vosburgh, PhD, RS, Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
Additional Topics A to Z: Injury Prevention

This guest commentary examines a series of well-documented nosocomial viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, including the October 2014 Dallas Ebola index case, to provide guidance for future preparedness and response in the health care setting. Hazard vulnerability assessments, occupational safety, relevant and appropriate personal protective equipment, and biosurveillance topics are discussed through the all-hazards preparedness lens.

September 2015
September 2015
78.2 | 28-32
Christopher Eddy, MPH, REHS, RS, CP-FS, Eriko Sase, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

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