The use of letter grades, colored placards, or a numbered score is seen across the country to convey to restaurant patrons information on how safe and clean a restaurant is (i.e., the findings of the local health department's inspection of the facility). This column goes beyond exploring this practice or its efficacy—it explores how local health departments go about developing such programs and if unnecessary staff and resources are being consumed by such projects. The column poses an interesting question on the creation of a unified brand to support capacity and calls upon the environmental health leadership to develop and present a standard by which a local health department can quickly and efficiently launch a grading or placarding program.
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.
78.2 | 34-35
Building the Future of Environmental Public Health Tracking: Proceedings and Recommendations of an Expert Panel Workshop
Since 2002, the national Environmental Health Tracking Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided vital support to state environmental public health efforts while simultaneously building a nationwide network of state, local, and academic partners to improve our nation’s capacity to understand and respond to environmental threats to public health. As part of program review and strategic planning, national thought leaders in environmental public health were convened to assess progress, identify gaps and challenges, and provide recommendations for enhancing the utility and impact of the Tracking Program. Several opportunities were identified. Chief among these was the need for continued and expanded CDC leadership to develop a coordinated Tracking Program agenda identifying specific scientific goals, data needs, and initiatives. Recommendations for future growth included expanded data availability and program coverage: i.e., making data available at the community scale and establishing tracking programs in all 50 states. Finally, a set of recommendations emphasizing communication to decision makers and the public was made that will be integral to the future utility and success of the Tracking Program.
79.10 | 14-19
Lead is known for its devastating effects on people, particularly children under the age of six. Disturbed lead paint in homes is the most common source of lead poisoning of children. Preventive approaches including consumer education on the demand side of the housing market (purchasers and renters of housing units) and disclosure regulations on supply side of the housing market (landlords, homeowners, developers, and licensed realtors) have had mixed outcomes. The study described in this article considered whether a novel supply-side intervention that educates licensed real estate agents about the specific dangers of lead poisoning would result in better knowledge of lead hazards and improved behavior with respect to the information they convey to potential home buyers. Ninety-one licensed realtors were trained for four hours on lead hazards and their health impacts. Pre- and postsurveys and a six-month follow-up interview were conducted to assess the impact of the intervention on their knowledge and self-reported behaviors with clients. The findings suggest that supply-side education could have a salutary impact on realtor knowledge and behavior.
76.1 | 28-36
Carbon Monoxide Exposure and Reported Health Conditions Among Filling Station Attendants in Ibadan, Nigeria
High carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations can elicit adverse health effects. We assessed CO concentrations at filling stations and determined carboxyhemoglobin (%COHb) levels and health problems reported by filling station attendants (FSAs) via questionnaires. This cross-sectional design studied 20 filling stations from Ibadan North Local Government, Nigeria. Outdoor CO concentrations (ppm) were measured for 8 weeks in August–September 2015 from 8:00–10:00 a.m. and 12:00–2:00 p.m., and %COHb levels were measured among 100 FSAs. Data collected were analyzed using Student’s t-test and analysis of variation (p = .05) and compared with relevant guideline limits. Mean CO concentrations in morning (15.4 ± 2.1 ppm) and afternoon (11.6 ± 1.4 ppm) were higher (p < .01) than the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline of 9.0 ppm. Mean %COHb for FSAs (11.1 ± 2.6) was significantly higher (p < .01) than the WHO guideline of 2.5%. Among respondents, 13.4% of FSAs vomited and 14.9% of FSAs experienced nausea. FSAs need personal protective equipment and filling stations should modernize pump delivery systems to minimize exposures.
83.1 | 26-31
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas generated from incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon-based fuels. Exposure to elevated CO concentrations can cause an array of health problems or even death. Of increasing concern are CO-related poisonings and fatalities associated with recreational watercraft. From 2005–2018, there were 78 known deaths of people due to CO associated with the use of recreational watercraft in the U.S. The incidence, however, is likely higher due to many CO poisoning-related deaths being inaccurately attributed to drowning instead of CO poisoning.
To examine the significance of this public health hazard, a range of plausible exposures were characterized by measuring instantaneous CO concentrations at 17 sampling locations on or near the stern of four recreational boats. Observed CO concentrations were highest in samples proximal to the engine exhaust manifold, with maximum concentrations for the four boats being 42,600 ppm, 2,550 ppm, 6,100 ppm, and 3,700 ppm, respectively. Continuous CO monitoring was performed at a fixed location near the passenger seat in the back of each boat. Comparing our monitoring results with thresholds set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and World Health Organization demonstrates that many CO concentrations exceed or nearly exceed established exposure thresholds. Thus, environmental health and public safety professionals must remain aware of this hazard and examine administrative and engineering controls that reduce watercraft-related CO exposures and prevent injuries and drowning related to CO.
84.1 | 8-14
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 Careers in Environmental Health PowerPoint is available via the link listed below:
The literature has been inconclusive concerning the connection between food safety manager certification and the incidence of critical food safety violations. An analysis of 2013 data from 1,547 restaurants in North, Central, and South Georgia health districts examined the relationship between the presence or absence of a certified food safety manager (CFSM) and the number of risk factors cited on food inspection reports and the food safety score. In addition, the study examined whether operation type (i.e., chain versus independently owned) had an impact on the number of risk factors and food safety score. Using a two-tailed independent-samples t-test revealed restaurants with a CFSM had significantly more risk factors cited on food safety inspections and lower food safety scores than restaurants without a CFSM. There was also a significant difference among chain and independent restaurants. Chain restaurants had fewer risk factors cited on restaurant inspections and had higher food safety scores.
80.4 | 16-21
The CCFS is a mid-level credential for food safety professionals. A professional that earns the CCFS credential will demonstrate expertise in how to assure food is safe for consumers throughout the manufacturing/processing environment.
The CCFS credential can be utilized by anyone wanting to continue a growth path in the food safety sector, whether in a regulatory/oversight role or in a food safety management or compliance position within the private sector. The CCFS credential is a mark of distinction for those choosing a career in as a food safety professional in the manufacturing and processing areas.
Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS) Manual
National Environmental Health Association (2014)
356 pages, spiral-bound paperback.
Characteristics of Noncompliant Food Handling Establishments and Factors That Inhibit Compliance in a Regional Health Authority, Jamaica
The Jamaican food safety regulatory framework is embodied in the Public Health Act of 1974 with public health inspectors/environmental health officers (PHIs/EHOs) empowered with its enforcement. The North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) has consistently faced challenges in achieving national certification targets for food-handling establishments (FHEs). The aim of the authors’ study was to identify and describe noncompliant FHEs and to identify factors influencing their noncompliance. FHEs (N = 248) were randomly selected and each owner/operator targeted for interview. Substantially more FHEs were compliant and respondents from compliant FHEs were more likely to have a valid food handlers’ permit. Urban FHEs were less likely to be compliant than rural. The major barriers to compliance were forgetting to apply for a license and lack of money to correct infractions. NERHA should encourage FHE owners/operators to assume greater responsibility for the certification of their premises and to hold PHIs more accountable.
78.2 | 20-26