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Naturally Occurring Asbestos in an Outdoor Setting

Primary inquiry: Heavy rains caused a river to flood and overflow its banks. Soil containing naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) was deposited onto the surrounding land. This land is used for farming, and includes the backyards of private dwellings and areas used for various recreational pursuits. What are the potential public health risks from exposure to NOA in these outdoor settings? What...

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Cleanup Instructions for Small Mercury Spills - revised

Exposure to the small amount of mercury found in common household devices, such as fever thermometers, thermostats, or fluorescent light bulbs, is not likely to cause serious health problems. Humans are frequently exposed to greater quantities of mercury, much of it methylmercury, through diet. Nevertheless, all mercury spills, regardless of quantity, should be treated seriously and cleaned up ...

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Summary: Animals as Sentinels for Public Health Risks from Oil and Gas Development

This document was based on a contracted review: Animals as Sentinels for Public Health Risks Associated with Oil and Gas Development by Craig Stephen and Tyler Stitt, March 2014.

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Health Effects of Oil Spills and Implications for Public Health Planning and Research

Two major pipeline projects have been proposed to transport petroleum products from Alberta to the British Columbian coast. Despite potential economic benefits, these proposals have roused widespread public concern regarding the health and ecological consequences of a major marine or terrestrial spill. In Metro Vancouver, the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion will triple the volume of petroleum...

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Effectiveness of Alternative Antimicrobial Agents for Disinfection of Hard Surfaces - revised

A review of alternative antimicrobial agents reveals the need for standardized methodology for efficacy testing as well as considerations of toxicity, safety, cost, ease of use, availability, storage, and application-specific testing. The appropriateness of alternative antimicrobial agents, such as vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda appear to be limited for commercial disinfection or...

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Potential Human Health Effects of Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) (UBC Bridge Program)

Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are stain, water and grease repellent chemicals found in a wide range of consumer products. Almost everyone has detectable levels of PFOS, PFOA, and other PFCs in their blood. Although levels of PFOS and PFOA in human serum have declined in the US and Europe over the past decade, levels...

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Growing at Home: Health and Safety Concerns for Personal Cannabis Cultivation

Personal cultivation as described by the proposed Cannabis Act (2017) will permit adults to cultivate up to four cannabis plants per household. This provision is intended to both promote equity by facilitating access to legal cannabis, particularly when retail outlets are difficult to access, and to undercut the black market. However, indoor cultivation and processing of cannabis may also...

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Using a Hierarchy of Evidence to Assess Chemical Health Risks of Artificial Turf

Over the past 40 years, artificial turf has become common in public and private settings. Compared to natural turf, artificial turf is easier to maintain, requires less water and no fertilizer, and provides a year-round access to playing surfaces. This is presumed to have important public health benefits by promoting physical activity and access to recreational space, although detailed research...

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Understanding the Public Health Implications Concerning Shale Gas Production and Hydraulic Fracturing

The intent of this document is to synthesize scientific information related to public health concerns of relevance to Canada about shale gas production (including the pre-production stages of drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and well completion, as well as abandonment). Current policy and regulations are not considered. For the most part, the environmental and public health implications relating...

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Review of Field Tests on Bed Bug Control Technologies

Economic, environmental, and health concerns with bed bug control technologies and management options are of interest to public health and pest management agencies, who often receive and need to respond to inquiries regarding bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimex). However, control technologies are constantly changing as evidence emerges for evaluating their efficacy/feasibility and acceptance by...

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Phosphine Poisoning as an Unintended Consequence of Bed Bug Treatment

Recent news on Canadian fatalities linked to the inappropriate use of phosphine for bed bug control underlines the need for public health practitioners to be aware of the issue.

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Reducing Residential Indoor Exposure to Pesticides: a Toolkit for Practitioners

The scientific literature indicates that avoidance of pesticide use and alternative practices, such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), may be effective methods for reducing indoor residential pesticide exposure. Safe use of pesticides, indoors and outdoors, involves following label directions and taking precautionary measures, such as wearing gloves and protective clothing. Track-in and take-...

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Systematic Review of Human Biomonitoring Studies of Environmental Contaminants

This review synthesizes information on biological markers of exposure to environmental contaminants in Canada through a systematic search of the published and grey literature from January 1990 to January 2007, evaluates the studies, and summarizes the information in an easy access format. This review will make the Canadian work on biomonitoring for environmental contaminants more accessible to...

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Carbon Dioxide in Indoor Air

A Public Health Inspector calls about an issue flagged at an older elementary school.  As part of a teacher complaint process, the provincial health and safety agency has been conducting a workplace investigation.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels were measured and ranged from 412 ppm in an unoccupied classroom to 1,130 ppm in the school library and 1,660 ppm in an occupied classroom that had closed...

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Pepper Spray in the Indoor Environment and in the Vicinity of Food Products and Preparation Surfaces

Pepper spray is discharged during an attempted robbery of a jewellery store in a large urban mall.  The robbery site is located next to the mall’s food court.  For several days, mall patrons continue to report uncomfortable symptoms (e.g., burning sensation in their eyes and throat) when they enter the food court.  Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) are asked to respond to concerns about...

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Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) - revised

A Public Health Inspector (PHI) has raised a concern about a local middle school with a small, poorly ventilated computer room containing computers over 10 years old. The PHI has read that brominated flame retardants used in computers can affect reproductive health and is concerned about many students and teachers who spend 20-50% of their school week in this room. What is the issue?What are...

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Workshops Presentations

Intervention Strategies to Reduce Residential Pesticide Exposures

Shale gas extraction and public health: What we know, what we can infer, and how we can move forward

Canadian Public Health Association 2014 Conference Presentations: Hydraulic Fracturing & Public Health: What we know, what we can infer and how we can move forward Merry Turtiak, Alberta Health Public Health Review on Shale Gas Activities: Water, Air Contamination and Technology Risk Management Gaétan Carrier, Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) Audrey Smargiassi, INSPQ ...

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Event

American Public Health Association (APHA) - Drinking Water and Lead Service Lines: Partnering to Protect Public Health

Lead exposure contributes to cognitive impairments, behavioral problems and lowered IQ. While there is no safe level of lead exposure, lead can be found in dust in our homes, air, soil, and drinking water. Lead service lines are the largest source of lead in drinking water - with an estimated 6-10 million lead service lines bringing water to taps across the U.S. Following the tragedy in Flint,...

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