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

Though physiological effects of exposure to airborne lead on cognitive function and crime have been discussed in literature, to date, no studies examined other outdoor or ambient air pollutants and their potential impact on reported crime. Data were collected through open public records provided by study location municipalities to assess the impact of outdoor air pollution on daily crime rates in Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Poisson regression analyses were performed to examine associations between outdoor air concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM) including fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10) respirable fractions, ozone (O3), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) with several types of crime along with weather variables known to correlate with air pollution concentrations and/or impact crime. Increased PM2.5 was associated with increases in assault, damage, and theft crimes. Pollutants known to cause irritation, like PM10 and O3, were associated with decreases in crime rates. Weather variables were also found to be associated with increases in crime rates when apparent temperature, cloud cover, visibility, and wind speed increased from the 25th to 75th percentile of measurements. Additional research to further understand potential relationships between outdoor air quality and crime is needed.

December 2017
December 2017
80.5 | 8-22
Ashley E.M. Mapou, MS, PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Rutgers School of Public Health, Derek Shendell, MPH, DEnv, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Rutgers School of Public Health, Pamela Ohman-Strickland, MS, PhD, Department of Biostatistics, Rutgers School of Public Health, Jaime Madrigano, MPH, ScD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Rutgers School of Public Health

Abstract

In the U.S., 60% of norovirus outbreaks are attributed to long-term care facilities (LTCFs). A descriptive study of 26 LTCFs in South Carolina was conducted to determine the presence of environmental factors associated with transmission of human noroviruses. Sanitary conditions in one common area, one staff/visitor bathroom, and the main kitchen were assessed using two audit forms. While surfaces in all kitchens were in good sanitary condition, 23 LTCFs used quaternary ammonium-based sanitizers and three LTCFs used chlorine bleach for kitchen sanitization. All common areas were also clean and in good condition; however, 20 LTCFs had upholstered chairs, and five LTCFs had carpeted floors. Seven facilities used quaternary ammonium-based disinfectants exclusively, whereas six LTCFs used chlorine bleach exclusively, and eight LTCFs used both to disinfect common areas. Seven staff/visitor bathrooms were accessible to residents, and hand washing signage was missing from 10. These results reveal the presence of environmental factors that might facilitate norovirus transmission within LTCFs.

September 2016
September 2016
79.2 | 22-29
Lalani Jayasekara, MS, Cortney M. Leone, MS, Julia Sharp, PhD, Morgan Getty, MS
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Abstract

This article uses township-level mortality registry databases to examine environmental health disparities in Dalian, China, and potential associations with geographic, social, and economic factors. It is the first time that these Chinese databases have been used for research in environmental health. The findings highlight the fact that environmental health risks and benefits of urban development are unequally distributed between urban centers and their suburbs. Consequently, environmental conditions have been drastically degraded in the suburbs. Furthermore, associated death rates and cancer mortality rates (CMR) have increased. A link between high CMR and industrial pollution was discovered through space-time clusters and statistical analyses. In addition, population aging was found to be a factor in understanding the spatial inequalities of cancer and death. This article suggests that Environmental Model Cities should be required to have no negative impact on environmental health in other areas.

 

January 2021
January/February 2021
83.6 | 30-38
Zhenguo Zhang, Inst. of Geographic Sci & Nat Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences/College of Economics & Mgmt, Dalian Nationalities Univ, Lee Liu, School of Environmental, Physical, and Applied Sciences, University of Central Missouri
Additional Topics A to Z: Environmental Justice

Abstract

Previous research has suggested differences between public and professional understanding of the field of environmental health (EH) and the role of EH services within urban and rural communities. This study investigated EH priority differences between 1) rural and urban residents and 2) residents and EH professionals, and presents quantitative and qualitative methods for establishing locality-specific EH priorities. Residents (N = 588) and EH professionals (N = 63) in Alabama identified EH priorities via a phone or online survey. We categorized rurality of participant residences by rural–urban commuting area codes and population density, and tested whether or not EH priorities were different between urban and rural residents. Built environment issues, particularly abandoned houses, and air pollution were high priorities for urban residents—whereas, water and sanitation issues, and paper mill-related pollution were high priorities in rural communities. EH professionals ranked food safety and water and sanitation issues as higher priorities than residents did. Results highlight the importance of urbanicity on environmental risk perception and the utility of simple and inexpensive engagement methods for understanding these differences. Differences between residents and EH professionals suggest improving stakeholder participation in local-level EH decision making might lead to greater awareness of EH services, which might in turn improve support and effectiveness of those services

December 2017
December 2017
80.5 | 28-36
Connor Y.H. Wu, PhD, Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia–Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Mary B. Evans, MA, Center for the Study of Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Paul E. Wolff, Survey Research Unit, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Julia M. Gohlke, PhD, Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia–Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech

Abstract

There is no single, uniform nationwide method for organizing and delivering governmental environmental health (EH) services to residents of the U.S. and its territories. A comprehensive effort to describe existing EH service delivery models has not been conducted. To address this gap in knowledge, the authors investigated EH organization and delivery methods among states and territories in fall 2017. The aim was to provide a synthesized understanding of EH system delivery to assist in efforts to target and deliver workforce capacity building and professional development support. We contacted EH directors of every state and territory through an informational survey to 1) describe how services are delivered, 2) quantify service delivery jurisdictions, and 3) determine the administrative home of core EH programs. We achieved a 98% survey rate response. Service delivery administrative models were heterogeneous and fell into three categories: centralized, decentralized, and mixed/shared organization. The number of jurisdictions within states and territories ranged from 1–351 jurisdictions. The administrative agency home of EH varied widely. With this research, we hope to better understand the structure of each regional agency and the efficacy of each agency’s performance as it relates to its structure and distribution.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE (PDF)

 

December 2019
December 2019
82.5 | 22-27
Reem Tariq, MSEH, National Environmental Health Association, Diana Jaramillo, MPH, Center for Health, Work, & Environment, Colorado School of Public Health, David T. Dyjack, DrPH, CIH, National Environmental Health Association
Additional Topics A to Z: Workforce Development

Abstract

Infectious disease outbreaks related to outdoor sporting events are an underacknowledged environmental health risk. We reviewed documented instances of sporting events that led to outbreaks of illness due to interactions of athletes with environmental pathogen reservoirs such as soil or water. We note that aspects of outdoor athletic activities can mediate a suppression in immune function. The implications of this review are of particular interest to environmental health professionals and healthcare professionals, as they show that populations of young, otherwise healthy adult athletes and other members of their communities are a contextually at-risk group to be aware of in order to improve and speed ability to cluster individuals in outbreaks, and for diagnosis and prevention for individual patients. This review highlights an opportunity where environmental health professionals can provide a critical linkage between patients and the environment.

 

October 2020
October 2020
83.3 | 22-27
Siddhi Ramesh, University of Pennsylvania, Sunit P. Jariwala, MD, Division of Allergy & Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, David A. Hewitt, PhD, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania; Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Article Abstract

The study described in this article evaluated surface survivability of culturable Pseudomonas aeruginosa by time and type (glass, stainless steel, and laminate) using two sampling techniques: contact plates and surface swabs. Recovery of P. aeruginosa decreased logarithmically over time and varied by surface type. P. aeruginosa survival averaged 3.75, 5.75, and 6.75 hours on laminate, glass, and stainless steel, respectively. Culturable P. aeruginosa loss on stainless steel and glass were not different (p > .05); however, laminate had significantly greater loss at each time point than either glass or stainless (p < .05). A comparison of surface swab and contact plate collection efficiencies found no significant difference for laminate surfaces. Swabs, however, had a higher collection efficiency than contact plates (p < .05).

For the first time, the authors report P. aeruginosa mean survival time of 3.75–6.75 hours on clinically relevant surfaces, with P. aeruginosa on stainless steel surviving the longest. Their data also indicate that culturable surface sampling appears to most accurately represent actual P. aeruginosa surface loading when swab sampling is used.

 

May 2014
76.9 | 16-20
Eric A. Lutz, PhD, Tia M. Jones
Additional Topics A to Z: General Environmental Health

Article Abstract

Extensive literature has already documented the deleterious effects of heavy metal toxins on the human brain and nervous system. These toxins, however, represent only a fraction of the environmental hazards that may pose harm to cognitive ability in humans. Lead and mercury exposure, air pollution, and organic compounds all have the potential to damage brain functioning yet remain understudied. In order to provide comprehensive and effective public health and health care initiatives for prevention and treatment, we must first fully understand the potential risks, mechanisms of action, and outcomes surrounding exposure to these elements in the context of neurocognitive ability. This article provides a review of the negative effects on cognitive ability of these lesser-studied environmental toxins, with an emphasis on delineating effects observed in child versus adult populations. Possible differential effects across sociodemographic populations (e.g., urban versus rural residents; ethnic minorities) are discussed as important contributors to risk assessment and the development of prevention measures. The public health and clinical implications are significant and offer ample opportunities for clinicians and researchers to help combat this growing problem.

 

Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 130-138
Jianghong Liu, PhD, Gary Lewis
Additional Topics A to Z: Children's Environmental Health

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