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Topic Pages

Topic Pages introduce an aspect of the environment and its relation to public health by featuring a curated shortlist of NCCEH and external resources. The most relevant resources related to a topic have been selected to best guide the search for further information. These lists are not intended to be exhaustive, and the omission of any individual resource does not preclude it from having value.

Marine Shellfish Poisoning

Marine shellfish poisoning refers to illnesses in humans caused by consumption of marine bivalve shellfish (e.g., clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, cockles) that contain biotoxins (e.g., domoic acid, okadaic acid, saxitoxin). Shellfish feed by filtering microscopic marine plants, called phytoplankton, from the water. Some species of phytoplankton naturally produce toxins. These toxins can cause...

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Carbon Monoxide in Long-Term Care Facilities

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, and non-irritating gas that is harmful to humans. As a by-product of incomplete combustion, CO is produced by fuel-burning appliances including boilers, furnaces, fireplaces, kitchen stoves, and laundry dryers. Cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust also contribute to indoor CO levels. At low levels of exposure, symptoms can include headache, nausea...

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Drinking Water Project

In Canada, most people have access to safe and secure drinking water. Nevertheless, lapses in management of drinking water safety may lead to waterborne illness outbreaks, which can lead to high personal and economic tolls as a large number of people may be exposed to disease agents simultaneously. Investigation of waterborne illness outbreaks is challenging due to rarity of occurrence, potential...

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Food Resources

Topics: Food

Public health is affected by the food choices people make, the quality and quantity of food available, and the ways food is produced. The modernization of food systems has resulted in complex environments in which food is produced, processed, distributed, and ultimately disposed. Land use planning and retail environments shape how and where people grow, buy, prepare, and eat food. Contaminated...

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Radon in the Home

Radon is a colourless, odourless gas that is released from the degradation of uranium naturally present in rock and soil. Radon levels outdoors are generally low; however, radon can enter buildings and homes through cracks and openings in the foundation and levels can become much higher indoors, especially in basements and lower floors. Long term exposure to radon increases the risk of lung...

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Mould

Topics: Air, Indoor Air

Mould is a ubiquitous fungus in outdoor environments that inevitably makes its way indoors. The general population is commonly exposed to mould through inhalation, and less commonly through direct contact, with no adverse effects. However, individuals with asthma or other underlying respiratory ailments may show sensitivity to mould or its cellular components that may trigger respiratory tract...

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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, elusive, and resilient insects that live by feeding on the blood of mammals, including humans. Bed bug infestations have become prominent worldwide, generating increased public concern. Despite the attention given to bed bugs by the public, researchers, governments, and pest management professionals, there are still considerable challenges with managing bed...

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Hydraulic Fracturing for the Production of Shale Gas

Hydraulic fracturing (also termed “fracking”) is the process used, along with horizontal drilling, to extract unconventional natural gas (shale gas, tight gas or coalbed methane) and tight oil from reserves deep in the earth. Fractures are created in relatively impermeable rock (such as shale) by injecting large amounts of fracturing fluid (a mixture of water and chemicals) deep into the earth...

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