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Field Inquiries

NCCEH field inquiries are based on a real or hypothetical situation related to an environmental health problem. A field inquiry uses a question format to offer context and background to the problem, knowledge to assess the situation and concludes with an approach to solve the problem.

Meat-packing Pads as Tattoo Dressings

Primary inquiry: Is there evidence for or against the use of clean vs. sterile dressings in the care of tattoos?

PDF icon Meat-packing_pads_as_tattoo_dressings-Jan_2018.pdf

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Infection Control for Tebori Tattooing

Primary inquiry: Information regarding tebori, a traditional form of Japanese “hand-poke” tattooing; requesting information regarding infection control and inspection.

PDF icon Infection_control_for_tebori_tattooing-Jan_2018.pdf

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Adverse effects after medical, commercial, or self-administered colon cleansing procedures

Primary inquiry: What information is available regarding the environmental health-related risks of colonics in the academic literature, and how can environmental health practitioners help reduce these risks?

PDF icon Adverse_effects_after_colon_cleansing_procedures-Jan_2018.pdf

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Cemetery Setback Distances to Prevent Surface Water Contamination

Primary inquiry: In Canada, as in many other countries, cemeteries are required to be setback a certain distance from waterbodies to protect drinking water sources from contaminated liquids that can arise from the decomposition of bodies after burial. What is recommended as a safe setback distance? What is the rationale for the setback distances used throughout Canada?

PDF icon Cemetery_setback_distances_surface_water_contamination-Oct_2017.pdf

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Irrigating Food Crops with Water Containing Cyanobacteria Blooms

Primary inquiry: Small horticulture growers have been watering their crops with surface water containing a cyanobacterial bloom, before selling their crops at local markets. Can irrigation of food crops using surface water affected by cyanobacteria blooms result in bioaccumulation of cyanotoxins in these crops? Can cyanotoxins bioaccumulate to a concentration that might cause a public health...

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Going Underground: Electrical Substations and Health

Concerned citizens and municipal authorities contacted their public health region about a proposal by an electrical utility company to build an underground electrical substation in an urban area, near to an elementary school and playground. 1. Background – substations and electromagnetic fields2. Literature search3. What are the health implications of exposure to ELF magnetic fields?4. What is...

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Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning

Trigger for Investigation On June 18, 2010 a commercial harvester advised an inspection specialist at CFIA of four cases of suspect PSP-related illness that occurred June 17, 2010. CFIA began an investigation and trace-back and advised relevant public health authorities of illnesses to ensure follow-up of cases. You are the epidemiologist working at the local health authority where the cases...

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Health Effects of Large LED Screens on Local Residents

In 2011, three high-definition outdoor LED video billboards were erected around a city sports stadium. The residents of the surrounding community are exposed to the lighted images of these screens when they are illuminated. A representative of a community organization advocating to remove the video screens has asked the Chief Medical Health Officer of the local health department whether the...

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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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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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