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.


Landscaping and groundskeeping workers are exposed to excessive amounts of loud noise from powered lawn equipment and tools that can lead to adverse health effects, including noise-induced hearing loss. The main objectives of this project were to evaluate attitudes and behavior of wearing hearing protection devices (HPDs) and to test the effectiveness of knowledge following an educational training among these workers. This was a cross-sectional intervention study. Bivariate analysis was conducted to evaluate worker perceptions about the importance and frequency of wearing HPDs. Pre- and post-tests were distributed to workers to evaluate significant differences in learned knowledge following a multifaceted noise and hearing loss training. Although nearly all workers recognized the importance of wearing either earplugs or earmuffs, actual use for wearing HPDs was approximately only half of the time when working around loud noise. Following the training intervention, there was a significant increase between mean pre- and post-test scores. Targeted trainings can be effective for increasing worker knowledge about the effects of noise, hearing loss, and hearing protection. Sustained efforts, however, must be made by employers to ensure that regular trainings are routinely provided and that the use of HPDs are promoted in the workplace.

October 2017
October 2017
80.3 | 8-15
Gregory D. Kearney, MPH, DrPH, REHS, Brody School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, East Carolina University, Jo Anne G. Balanay, MOH, PhD, CIH, Environmental Health Sciences Program, Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, Adam J. Mannarino, MSEH, MPH, East Carolina University
Additional Topics A to Z: Injury Prevention


Air pollution has a detrimental effect on public health. Several policies have been proposed in European cities to tackle emissions, including transport policies. The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was introduced in April 2019 and is an area in London where a fee is charged for polluting vehicles that drive through that area. Our study examined the effects of the ULEZ on local NO2 and PM10 levels. Using secondary data recorded at 16 permanent monitoring stations by continuous ambient air monitoring systems and gathered by London Air, we conducted descriptive analyses of historical trends and inferential pre- and post-comparisons of seasonal levels of emissions. Results show statistically significant reductions of NO2 levels in every site between spring 2018 and spring 2019, while reductions of PM10 levels reached statistical significance in 3 out of 5 sites. Control sites outside the ULEZ did not show statistically significant reductions of NO2 and PM10. Findings indicate that the ULEZ contributed to a decrease of air pollution and is an effective policy for reducing air pollution, which can also lead to public health benefits. Emission levels remain, however, above European Union legal limits in specific instances and thus further action is needed. Additional research is required to assess these changes in the long term.


July 2022
July/August 2022
85.1 | 16-23
Hannen Fredrick John Bishop, Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing, University of the West of England, Anna Bornioli, MA, PhD, Erasmus Centre for Urban, Port, and Transport Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Article Abstract

The authors conducted a survey of small streams to evaluate the effects of centralized and onsite wastewater treatment on the occurrence of selected traditional and emerging contaminants in small streams in the upper Neuse River basin, North Carolina. An undeveloped site was included to assess effects of residential land use activities on stream quality. Concentrations of nutrients and ions were higher in samples from streams in residential sites than from the stream in an undeveloped area. Overall, streams draining residential areas showed relatively small differences with respect to type of wastewater treatment. Two sites, however—one in an area of centralized wastewater treatment apparently near a suspected sewer line leak, and the second in an area of onsite wastewater treatment—showed effects of wastewater. Organic wastewater compounds were detected more frequently in samples from these two sites than from the other sites. Optical brighteners levels were correlated (r2 = .88) with the number of organic wastewater and pharmaceutical compounds detected at the residential sites and could potentially serve as a screening method to assess wastewater effects on small streams.


Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 18-27
Sharon Fitzgerald, G.M. Ferrell, B.H. Grimes
Additional Topics A to Z: Wastewater


Private wells are unregulated and often at risk for arsenic contamination. Research objectives included distribution of groundwater arsenic concentrations, identification of arsenic sources, and establishment of best practices for well construction to minimize risk for wells in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. We sampled 68 wells over 3 years with 393 water samples and 79 rock samples. Geochemical modeling was used to better understand arsenic mobilization. Arsenic in groundwater ranged from 1.0 to less than 10.0 μg/L for 75 water samples and 31 water samples had arsenic concentrations greater than or equal to 10 μg/L. The arsenic source is naturally occurring sulfide minerals (typically pyrite) in the bedrock aquifers. The shallow (100–150 feet) Lime Creek Aquifer was most at risk for arsenic. Arsenic is likely mobilized from the rock into the water in the shallow aquifer under more oxidizing conditions, subject to water level changes. The study resulted in a policy change for arsenic testing and well completion in Cerro Gordo County to better protect domestic well users.

May 2017
May 2017
79.9 | 32-39
Douglas J. Schnoebelen, PhD, The University of Iowa, Sophia Walsh, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health, Brian Hanft, MPA, REHS, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health, Oscar E. Hernandez-Murcia, PhD, The University of Iowa


Public health interventions in North Carolina were implemented only for children with blood lead levels (BLLs) ≥10 µg/dL until the end of the year in 2017, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established 5 µg/dL as a revised reference value for identifying children with elevated BLLs in 2012. This study quantified and characterized the children with elevated BLLs in Buncombe County, North Carolina. A review of case reports of Buncombe County children was conducted through the North Carolina Lead Surveillance System online database. In all, 23 children had confirmed elevated BLLs (≥10 µg/dL) from 2005–2015, while 146 children had BLLs within 5 to <10 µg/dL from 2012–2015. Most of the identified children (62%) lived in Asheville and were 1–2 years old (65%). A significant number of children will be aided and prevented from further lead exposure since North Carolina has lowered the BLL intervention standard to the CDC reference value in 2012. The need for additional staffing at local health departments has been identified to adapt to such change.


June 2018
June 2018
80.10 | 16-22
Casey Parris Radford, MSEH, Buncombe County Department of Health, Jo Anne G. Balanay, PhD, CIH, East Carolina University, Ashley Featherstone, MSPH, Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency, Timothy Kelley, PhD, East Carolina University
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health

Emergency Public Health provides a unique and practical framework for disaster response planning at local, state, and national levels. This is the first book of its kind to systematically address the issues in a range of environmental public health emergencies brought on by natural calamity, terrorism, industrial accident, or infectious disease. It features historical perspectives on a public health crisis, an analysis of preparedness, and a practical, relevant case study on the emergency response. Study reference for NEHA’s REHS/RS exam.


568 pages / Paperback / Catalog #1121
Member: $96 / Nonmember: $101 

July 2011
G. Bobby Kapur, Jeffrey P. Smith
Additional Topics A to Z: Emergency Preparedness

Pharmaceuticals are emerging contaminants in water and, to date, cannot be removed as part of wastewater treatment options. So what can be done to mitigate their effects upon the environment, yet maintain their efficacy for human and animal use? In this session, we examine this topic from a lifecycle approach using hands-on demonstrations, and discuss several solutions and policies you can take home to mitigate and address these contaminants in your community.

July 2015
Julie Becker, MA, PhD, MPH
Potential CE Credits: 1.00

Updated and reviewed by leading experts in the field, this revised edition offers new coverage of industrial solid wastes utilization and disposal, the use of surveying in environmental engineering and land use planning, and environmental assessment. Stressing the practicality and appropriateness of treatment, the sixth edition provides realistic solutions for the practicing public health official or environmental engineer.

Additional Topics A to Z: Wastewater