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Air


Determining factors that impact indoor and outdoor air quality, including mould, radon, VOCs, and criteria air contaminants.

Project

Radon in the Home

Radon is a colourless, odourless gas that is released from the degradation of uranium naturally present in rock and soil. Radon levels outdoors are generally low; however, radon can enter buildings and homes through cracks and openings in the foundation and levels can become much higher indoors, especially in basements and lower floors. Long term exposure to radon increases the risk of lung...

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Carbon Monoxide in Long-Term Care Facilities

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, and non-irritating gas that is harmful to humans. As a by-product of incomplete combustion, CO is produced by fuel-burning appliances including boilers, furnaces, fireplaces, kitchen stoves, and laundry dryers. Cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust also contribute to indoor CO levels. At low levels of exposure, symptoms can include headache, nausea...

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Mould

Topics: Air, Indoor Air 

Mould is a ubiquitous fungus in outdoor environments that inevitably makes its way indoors. The general population is commonly exposed to mould through inhalation, and less commonly through direct contact, with no adverse effects. However, individuals with asthma or other underlying respiratory ailments may show sensitivity to mould or its cellular components that may trigger respiratory tract...

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Document

NCCEH Mould Investigation Toolkit

Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) and Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) across Canada have different responsibilities, policies, and guidelines when it comes to investigating public inquiries about mould in indoor environments. Some PHIs/EHOs conduct initial walkthroughs only, some conduct comprehensive investigations, and others educate the public about next steps without conducting any field...

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Mould Assessment Recommendations - revised

Excessive dampness and mould growth on building material surfaces and contents can pose health risks and should not be tolerated in indoor environments. A mould assessment determines if mould is present, but does not determine or estimate mould exposure. Health-based exposure limits for indoor mould in residential environments have not been established; inspecting for visible and hidden mould,...

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Mould Remediation Recommendations - revised

Excessive dampness and mould growth on building material surfaces and contents can pose health risks and should not be tolerated in indoor environments. The main goal of remediation is to reduce the risk of exposure to mould and to prevent structural damage; the underlying cause of dampness must be identified and eliminated or mould will reappear. Effective mould remediation requires the ...

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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...

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Residential Use of Wood-Burning Appliances in Canada

This report summarizes information on woodsmoke emissions and health effects associated with woodsmoke exposures from residential wood-burning (RWB) in Canada and provides a qualitative indication of the potential effectiveness of different intervention strategies based on a review of the available literature and interviews with Canadian health authorities. The purpose of this report is to...

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Effective Interventions to Reduce Indoor Radon Levels

Radon represents one of the environmental exposures that can be reduced with effective and practical solutions, reducing an individual’s risk of developing lung cancer. There is extensive literature supporting the cost-effectiveness of radon abatement compared with other healthcare and environmental interventions. Of the remediation measures evaluated to reduce indoor radon levels in already...

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Residential Indoor Radon Testing

Radon is a known carcinogen, and is estimated to cause up to 10% of all lung cancers in Canada. It is a radioactive gas that is produced by the decay of uranium. Radon is naturally occurring, and emanates from soil and rocks. It percolates up through soil into buildings, and if it is not evacuated there can be much higher exposure levels indoors than outdoors. Fortunately, high radon levels can...

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Evaluating the Carbon Monoxide Monitoring and Response Framework in Long-term Care Facilities: A Brief Guide

This guide is intended for public health practitioners, facility/property maintenance managers, risk managers, occupational hygienists, clinicians, or other persons working at long-term care facilities (residential care facilities, nursing homes, seniors’ residences, care occupancies, etc.) when they: have implemented a carbon monoxide (CO) policy in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) consistent...

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Guide for Implementing the Carbon Monoxide Monitoring and Response Framework in Long-term Care Facilities

This guide is intended for public health practitioners, facility/property maintenance managers, risk managers, occupational hygienists, clinicians, or other persons working at long-term care facilities (residential care facilities, nursing homes, seniors’ residences, care occupancies, etc.) who would like to implement a program to reduce the risk of indoor carbon monoxide (CO) exposure to...

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Effective Indoor Air Interventions

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 environmental tobacco smoke (...

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Residential Air Cleaner Use to Improve Indoor Air Quality and Health: A Review of the Evidence

Air cleaners are designed to remove pollutants from indoor air, but their effectiveness depends on the air cleaner design and set-up, as well as on the presence of specific pollutants, their concentrations, and air exchange rates in the room/home. Ozone generators and some electrostatic precipitators produce ozone at levels that pose health concerns. Little evidence is available on removal of...

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Are Naturally Ventilated LEED Buildings Healthier? (UBC Bridge Program)

Green building rating systems such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) employ a variety of design solutions to reduce energy and minimize environmental damage. These solutions, such as the use of passive ventilation, do not necessarily lead to improvements in occupant health Passive ventilation strategies employed to reduce energy can lead to uneven airflow distribution and...

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Recommendations for Safe Re-occupancy of Marijuana Grow Operations

The following guide offers a practical approach to achieving safe re-occupancy of former marijuana grow operations (MGOs) and reviews possible exposures/hazards (tables 1 and 2). It is essential to make a clear distinction between risks associated with an “active” MGO and risks associated with a “shut down” MGO. An “active” MGO is linked to criminal activity, which in itself poses safety risks,...

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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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Workshops Presentations

Infiltration of air pollutants and effectiveness of cleaners

L'Institut national de santé publique (INSPQ) 8e Atelier de santé environnementale

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Indoor Air Quality Issues in First Nations and Inuit Communities in Canada

International Union for Circumpolar Health (IUCH) 14th International Congress on Circumpolar Health

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Indoor Air and Air Cleaners: An Inside Look

Housing, health and the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada

Joint NCCEH/NCCAH Workshop at Canadian Public Health Association Public Health 2015 in Vancouver Successes and challenges in mitigation of radon in urban Aboriginal housing, Prince George, BCLeo Hebert, Executive Director, Prince George Métis Housing Society Insights into on-reserve housingLinda Pillsworth, Manager, Environmental Health Services, First Nations Health Authority Mould...

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Housing and Health: How can Community Health Nurses intervene?

Presentation: Housing and HealthTom Kosatsky, NCCEHMona Shum, NCCEH

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Carbon Monoxide Monitoring in Long Term Care Facilities and Hospitals

Saskatoon 2013  Presentations: Carbon monoxide exposures in long-term care facilities and hospitals: Developing a monitoring frameworkPrabjit Barn & Tom Kosatsky, BCCDC/NCCEH Modeling of the Kinetics of Carbon Monoxide for Long Term Care Facilities and HospitalsNathalie Gosselin, Pharsight Consulting ServicesMichele Bouchard, University of Montreal CO Exposure – St. Mary’s Villa, December 26...

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Evaluating a Novel Carbon Monoxide Monitoring Framework in Long-Term Care Facilities

The Ontario Public Health Convention (TOPHC) 2016 This poster highlights the findings from our evaluation of Saskatoon Health Region’s carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring policy in 10 long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Presenter: Daniel Fong

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Indoor Air Quality: Interpreting Assessment Results

Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI) 79th Annual National Educational Conference Presentations General indoor air quality parameters: CO, CO2, relative humidity, temperatureDru Sahai, Public Health Ontario Volatile organic compoundsPrabjit Barn, NCCEH MouldDaniel Fong, NCCEH RadonPam Warkentin, Radonmatters Additional indoor pollutantsDru Sahai, Public Health Ontario

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Event

UBC School of Population and Public Health - A Randomized Controlled Trial of HEPA Filter Air Cleaner Use and Fetal Growth in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Cannabis Legalization and Environmental Health

The BCCDC/NCCEH Environmental Health Seminar Series provides an opportunity for learning and knowledge exchange on a variety of environmental health topics. The seminars can be attended in-person or online. Speaker: Angela Eykelbosh, Environmental Health & Knowledge Translation Scientist, NCCEH/BCCDC Abstract: Legalization of cannabis in 2018 will bring many challenges for public health...

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UBC School of Population and Public Health - How low to go? Assessing the health effects of low levels of air pollution

The best of current research in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) field is presented at these seminars, which run weekly during the academic year. Title: How low to go? Assessing the health effects of low levels of air pollution. The Mortality Air Pollution Associations in Low Exposure environments (MAPLE) project. Presenter: Anders Erickson

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UBC School of Population and Public Health - Indoor air quality and health in Canadian First Nations communities

The best of current research in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) field is presented at these seminars, which run weekly during the academic year. Title: Indoor air quality and health in Canadian First Nations communities Presenter: Karen Bartlett

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UBC School of Population and Public Health - Characterizing the Impacts of Residential Woodsmoke in BC Communities

The best of current research in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) field is presented at these seminars, which run weekly during the academic year. Presenter: Matthew Wagstaff

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Legislation

Health Hazards Regulation, Man Reg 29/2009

Smoke-free Places Act, RSNB 2011, c 222

Community Placement Residential Facilities Regulation, NB Reg 83-77

Smoke-free Environment Act, 2005, SNL 2005, c S-16.2