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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.

Public Health Planning for Wildfire Smoke

Topics: Forest Fires, Outdoor Air Location: General, Canada

Population level wildfire smoke exposure is complex. It is difficult to measure and prevent. Reducing the adverse physical and mental health effects related to smoke exposure requires insight into social, economic, political and health-related factors within communities. In an attempt to understand some of the challenges of planning for wildfire smoke events, this report outlines the findings...

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Cyanobacteria and Drinking Water: Occurrence, Risks, Management and Knowledge Gaps for Public Health

With warming temperatures due to climate change and increased nutrient loads to freshwater systems, the occurrence of harmful algal blooms, largely associated with toxin-producing cyanobacteria, is expected to increase across Canada. While cyanoblooms have affected Canadian waterbodies for many years, the potential to negatively impact drinking water supplies is considered an emerging area of...

PDF icon Summary Cyanobacteria and Drinking Water EN.pdf, PDF icon Cyanobacteria and Drinking Water- Occurrence Risks Management and Knowledge Gaps for Public Health EN.pdf

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Indigenous Food Safety and Security: Community Adaptations in the Wake of Climate Pressures

As ecosystems try to adapt to climate volatility, so are Indigenous communities striving to become more food self-sufficient — both in reaction to and in anticipation of further climate pressures. This has led some communities to develop alternative food preservation and growing options, adaptations of their own that can help address limited financial resources or access to physical assets....

PDF icon Indigenous Food Safety and Security - Feb 2019 - EN.pdf

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Public Health Responses to Wildfire Smoke Events

Topics: Forest Fires Location: General, Canada

The public health response to wildfire smoke events is complex, involving inter-sectoral collaboration, community engagement and the use of many sources of information in decision-making. The focus of this project is to understand the perceptions, challenges and needs of public health practitioners in Canada when responding to wildfire smoke events. The project was undertaken as part of the...

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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 ...

PDF icon Growing_At_Home_Health_Safety_Personal_Cannabis_Cultivation_Mar_2018.pdf

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Food Deserts and Food Swamps: A Primer

Topics: Equity, Food Location: General, Canada

Our food environments, which include the food that is available to us in our day-to-day environments, is a determinant of what we eat as individuals.This document is intended for environmental public health professionals, including medical health officers and public health inspectors, as well as other public health professionals such as public health dietitians and health promoters, whose work...

PDF icon Food_Deserts_Food_Swamps_Primer_Oct_2017.pdf

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Identifying and Addressing the Public Health Risks of Splash Parks

Topics: Recreational Water, Water Location: General, Canada

Splash parks, also known as splash pads, spray parks, or wet decks, have gained in popularity over the last decade. These interactive parks are artificially created depressions or basins into which water is sprayed, splashed or poured onto visitors; water is not permitted to accumulate, but instead drains immediately out of the play area. Splash parks may take one of two basic designs, which...

PDF icon Identifying_Addressing_Public_Health_Risks_Splash_Parks_Aug_2017.pdf

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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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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...

PDF icon Float_Tanks_Considerations_EPH_July_2016.pdf

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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, developed in response to requests from BC’s medical and environmental health officers for assistance in assessing and communicating the risk to health from exposure to the many devices which emit radiofrequency waves.

PDF icon Summary_Radiofrequency_and_Health_April_2016.pdf

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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

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...

PDF icon Field_Tests_Bed_Bug_Control_Tech_March_2015.pdf

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Effective Indoor Air Interventions

Topics: 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...

PDF icon Health_Effects_Oil_Spills_Nov_2014.pdf

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