You are here

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: 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...

PDF icon Float_Tanks_Review_Current_Guidance_July_2016.pdf

View Full Article

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

View Full Article

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

View Full Article

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.

PDF icon Animals_sentinels_oil_gas_development_May_2015.pdf

View Full Article

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...

PDF icon Non-pharmaceutical_transmission_influenza_May_2015.pdf

View Full Article

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...

PDF icon Environmental_Risk_Factors_MRSA_April_2015.pdf

View Full Article

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

View Full Article

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

View Full Article

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...

PDF icon Alternative_Antimicrobial_Agents_Aug_2014.pdf

View Full Article

Increasing Use of Pyrethroids in Canadian Households: Should We Be Concerned?

Pyrethroids are a class of plant-derived insecticides and their man-made analogues that are increasingly applied in Canada as first choice for pest control in many agricultural and residential settings. Their popularity is partly due to their alleged safety compared to the older organochlorine and organophosphate insecticides. Application of pyrethroids is expanding because of recent increases in...

Increasing Use of Pyrethroids in Canadian Households: Should We Be Concerned?

View Full Article

Cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization at PSEs - revised*

Health concerns regarding the transmission of infections at personal service establishments (PSEs) are often mitigated by public health inspectors (environmental health officers). Inspection of PSEs are carried out to ensure that premises have adequate cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization protocols to reduce the risk of transmitting pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),...

Cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization at PSEs

View Full Article

Health Effects from Mould Exposure in Indoor Environments - revised

Moulds are naturally occurring and widespread in the environment; therefore, it is not possible to eliminate exposure. Sufficient evidence exists to conclude that exposure to mould in indoor environments is associated with asthma and asthma-like symptoms (in asthmatic people), upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough and wheeze, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis in susceptible people. There is...

Mould_and_Health_Effects_Jul_2012.pdf

View Full Article

Infections Associated with Personal Service Establishments: Piercing and Tattooing

Piercing and tattooing are associated with bacterial and viral infections, typically localized to the pierced or tattooed site. Individuals with pre-existing heart conditions are at risk of developing infective endocarditis, a systemic infection involving the outer lining of the heart, when obtaining invasive procedures, such as piercing and tattooing. There is a lack of published literature on...

PDF icon PSE_Infections_Piercing_Tattooing_May_2012.pdf

View Full Article

Forest Residues to Energy: Is this a pathway towards healthier communities? (UBC Bridge Program)

Forest residues are non-merchantable woody biomass found in forests and wood waste from logging practices and industrial operations, such as sawmills. Forest residues are a convenient fuel for open-burning and conventional biomass burning systems (e.g., fireplaces and wood stoves), but more recently have been considered as a fuel for advanced wood combustion (AWC) integrated energy systems, used...

PDF icon Forest_ Residues_to_Energy_Mar_2012.pdf

View Full Article

Household Pets and Zoonoses (University of Guelph Master of Public Health Program)

In addition to dogs and cats, the popularity of exotic animals, such as geckos, bearded dragons, and African Dwarf Frogs is increasing; the greatest increase is ownership among children. It is estimated that approximately 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. The implications of these two trends are of concern to the public health community. A review was conducted of household pet...

PDF icon Household_Pets_Zoonoses_Jan_2012.pdf

View Full Article

Infections Associated with Personal Service Establishments: Aesthetics

Bacterial infections, particularly mycobacterium infections, are most commonly reported for aesthetic services while viral infections are less reported. No studies associating fungal infections with personal service establishments (PSE) services were found. Limited evidence is available for some infection risks services, including manicures, hair styling, and barbering. Studies related to...

PDF icon PSE_Infections_Aesthetics_Dec_2011.pdf

View Full Article

Surveillance for Emerging Infectious Diseases: A Canadian Perspective (UBC Bridge Program)

Surveillance approaches for emerging zoonotic infectious diseases is less well developed than for traditional clearly-defined diseases. Zoonotic diseases with recent implications in Canada include: influenza, West Nile Virus (WNV), Lyme Disease (LD), Hantavirus Pulmonary Disease (HPS), and food-borne zoonoses, with influenza having the greatest human impact. Emerging zoonotic disease (EZD)...

PDF icon Surveillance_Emerging_Infectious_Diseases_Dec_2011.pdf

View Full Article

One Health: A Primer (University of Guelph Master of Public Health Program)

Public health events are best dealt with in an interdisciplinary manner with many actors and agencies involved, each lending their expertise to solve the complex problem. Many examples exist of agencies working across boundaries to solve significant public health issues, but the examples are less frequent of agencies that work cross-disciplines. It is not a matter of desire, but one of tradition...

PDF icon One_Health_Primer_Nov_2011.pdf

View Full Article

Disinfectants and Sanitizers for Use on Food Contact Surfaces - revised

Health Canada has approved the sale of disinfectants for food premises which contain chlorine compounds (e.g., bleach), peroxide and peroxyacid mixtures, carboxylic acids, quaternary ammonium compounds, acid anionic, and iodine compounds for use on food-contact surfaces. Disinfectants for use in food premises must have a drug identification number (DIN) and meet criteria, including those...

Disinfectants and Sanitizers for Use on Food Contact Surfaces - revised

View Full Article

Nanotechnology: A Review of Exposure, Health Risks and Recent Regulatory Developments

Nanotechnology is the creation of materials, devices, and systems by controlling matter at the nanometer scale (1-100 billionths of a meter). Potential exposures to engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) through contact with consumer products or air, water, and food sources are an emerging potential threat to human health. ENPs have unique properties and characteristics in addition to size, such as a...

Nanotechnology: A Review of Exposure, Health Risks and Recent Regulatory Developments

View Full Article