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Evidence Reviews

We produce evidence reviews based on our assessments of needs and gaps in evidence-based environmental health practice and policy. We also work with researchers and environmental public health students for reviews. These documents are peer-reviewed and the content is the responsibility of the authors.

Float Tanks: Considerations for Environmental Public Health

Floatation refers to a meditative activity in which users float in a high-density Epsom salt solution in a dark, quiet environment. Because float tanks are distinct from swimming pools and other recreational water, questions have been raised regarding the need for and efficacy of various disinfection methods. Although direct evidence is lacking, pathogen kill assays and field studies from...

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Float Tanks: Review of Current Guidance and Considerations for Public Health Inspectors

The growing popularity of “floatation” and the ways in which this practice differs from the use of pools and spas have raised interesting questions in environmental public health. Public health agencies in the US and Canada have taken very different approaches to the classification and regulation (or non-regulation) of these facilities. Continuing engagement amongst environmental...

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Summary: Radiofrequency and Health

Topics: Radiation Location: General, Canada

This summary is based on the "Radiofrequency Toolkit for Environmental Health Practitioners" (2013) available on the BCCDC website.

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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...

PDF icon Public_Health_Implications_Shale_Gas_Hydraulic_Fracturing_Jan_2016.pdf

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Food Environments: An Introduction for Public Health Practice

Topics: Food Location: General, Canada

This document was written for environmental public health practitioners (environmental health officers and public health inspectors), as well as other public health professionals whose work relates to healthy environments (e.g., medical health officers, public health dietitians, health promotion professionals). It introduces the concept of food environments, highlights some key evidence for the...

PDF icon Food_Environments_Public_Health_Practice_Dec_2015.pdf

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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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Fact Sheet: Non-pharmaceutical measures to prevent the transmission of influenza

This fact sheet is for public health professionals. It provides a brief overview on specific non-pharmaceutical measures to be used in community settings. Such measures can prevent the spread of influenza by interrupting the transfer of viruses from objects or people through the use of personal protective equipment or changes to behaviour. The content is primarily based on the NCCID article...

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Equity in Environmental Health Practice: Findings of a Pilot Study

Topics: General Location: General, Canada

Public health inspectors (PHIs) are environmental health professionals who carry out inspections, enforce health protection regulations, and provide environmental health education and training. This qualitative study explored the role of environmental public health practitioners in addressing the social determinants of health (SDH) and health equity related issues that may present as barriers to...

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Environmental Risk Factors for Community-Acquired MRSA

Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is endemic in North America. In contrast to MRSA acquired in hospital settings, CA-MRSA is present in a wide variety of environments including health care settings outside of hospitals and animal care settings, beaches and recreational waters, athletic facilities, spas and saunas. The risk of infection from...

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Green Space and Mental Health: Pathways, Impacts and Gaps

Topics: Built Environment Location: General, Canada

Around the globe, mental health disorders are a significant and growing cause of ill health and early death, with the burden of such diseases increasing by more than a third between 1990 and 2010. Almost a third of all Canadians have experienced a mental illness at some point during their lifetimes. A Statistics Canada survey reported the most commonly reported illnesses to be mood disorders,...

PDF icon Full_Review-Greenspace_Mental_Health_Mar_2015.pdf, PDF icon Summary-Greenspace_Mental_Health_Mar_2015.pdf

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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 regulators...

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Effective Indoor Air Interventions

Topics: Air, Indoor Air Location: General, Canada

Canadians typically spend about 90% of their time indoors. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) resulting from biological and chemical exposures is associated with the development of acute and chronic cardio-respiratory disease. Biological agents commonly found in indoor environments include mould, house dust mites (HDM), pests, and pet dander. Chemical agents can include...

PDF icon Full_Review-Effective_Indoor_Air_Interventions_Jan_2015.pdf, PDF icon Summary-Effective_Indoor_Air_Interventions_Jan_2015.pdf

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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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Risk Factors and Surveillance Systems for Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in Canada (University of Guelph Master of Public Health Program)

Topics: Food Location: General, Canada

Risk factors for foodborne illness in Canada span along the “farm-to-fork continuum.” Human risk factors include personal hygiene, cross-contamination, temperature control and unsafe food sources. Surveillance and food safety systems at the regional (or local), provincial/territorial, and federal levels are designed to...

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Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Perinatal Health (UBC Bridge Program)

The period between conception and early childhood when vital organs are forming and rapidly developing is the most vulnerable of life stages to the effects of toxic environment exposures, including traffic-related air pollution (TRAP). Epidemiologic studies on preterm birth have consistently shown elevated risks with a number of measures of...

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Community Water Fluoridation in Canada – Trends, Benefits, and Risks (University of Guelph Master of Public Health Program)

Topics: Drinking Water, Water Location: General, Canada

Fluoride has been added to public drinking water in Canadian communities since the 1940s as a means of preventing tooth decay. Dental fluorosis is a known adverse effect of excessive fluoride exposure during tooth formation. Fluorosis ranges from barely noticeable whitish striations in the enamel to severe pitting and brownish staining. In general, the...

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Review of Guidelines for Shock Chlorination in Private Wells (UBC Bridge Program)

Microbial contamination of groundwater from private wells can pose a significant health risk to rural Canadians. To mitigate risk, Health Canada currently recommends shock chlorination along with microbial well testing, voluntary measures most often performed by the homeowner. However, infrequent testing and paucity of research assessing the effectiveness of shock chlorination guidance as...

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Review of Food Safety Interventions and Evaluation in Food Service Establishments

Topics: Food Location: General, Canada

The public health and economic implications for foodborne illness in industrialized nations can be costly. Food service establishments (FSEs) are major settings for foodborne pathogen exposure in developed countries due to high consumption of food prepared outside homes. To reduce foodborne illness risks, many health authorities implement food safety interventions in FSEs in order to modify food...

Food_Safety_Interventions_Sept_2013

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Reducing cardiovascular health impacts from traffic-related noise and air pollution: intervention strategies

Topics: Air, Outdoor Air Location: General, Canada

Recent studies suggest that exposure to both traffic-related air pollution (TrAP) and to road traffic noise (RTN) are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). While the exact pathophysiologic mechanisms are not known, plausible biological models exist for both associations. This paper describes interventions and mitigating measures aimed at reducing both air and noise pollution...

Reducing cardiovascular health impacts from traffic-related noise and air pollution: intervention strategies

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