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Contaminants and Hazards


Identifying hazards posed by infectious diseases, chemicals, radiation, and noise, in homes and personal service establishments.

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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Document

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 physical...

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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 better...

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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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April 2018 Environmental Health Research Scan

Full Scan The attached PDF version of the Research Scan has over 100 references and is broken into over 30 categories. Editor’s Picks After searching through the dozens of articles referenced in the scan, our librarian picks the ones she feels may be especially interesting to our stakeholders.  Her “Editor Picks” for April 2018 include: The built environment: Understanding how physical...

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February 2018 Environmental Health Research Scan

Full Scan The attached PDF version of the Research Scan has over 100 references and is broken into over 30 categories. Editor’s Picks After searching through the dozens of articles referenced in the scan, our librarian picks the ones she feels may be especially interesting to our stakeholders.  Her “Editor Picks” for February 2018 include: A review of the experimental evidence on the...

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January 2018 Environmental Health Research Scan

Full Scan The attached PDF version of the Research Scan has over 100 references and is broken into over 30 categories. Editor’s Picks After searching through the dozens of articles referenced in the scan, our librarian picks the ones she feels may be especially interesting to our stakeholders.  Her “Editor Picks” for January 2018 include: Adverse effects after medical, commercial, or self-...

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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 processing of cannabis may also...

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Odour from a Compost Facility

Primary inquiry: A citizen’s group reported that putrid smells were occurring daily from a local commercial compost facility located in a suburban area of the city. The local public health agency was contacted to provide information to answer the following questions: What types of contaminants are potentially emitted in air from commercial composting facilities? What causes odours associated with...

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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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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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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...

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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...

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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

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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On Shaky Ground - Evidence of Public Health Impacts from Hydraulic Fracturing

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: Anne-Marie Nicol, MES, PhD, Environmental Health Scientist, NCCEH Abstract: This seminar describes the processes involved in shale gas production, including hydraulic fracturing, and...

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Event

NCCEH eJournal Club - Prevalence of problematic cannabis use in Canada: Cross-sectional findings from the 2013 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey

The NCCEH eJournal Club is a series of informal hour-long sessions discussing and appraising articles relating to environmental health. Active participation is encouraged. Although these sessions are directed at public health inspectors, anyone interested in a given topic is more than welcome to take part. Remote viewing instructions are available on the Eventbrite registration page. Title of...

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Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) - Legalizing cannabis: Clearing the smoke

Canada is poised to pass the Cannabis Act. But, is it just about providing legal access to the drug? Regulations that lessen the risks and enhance the benefits of legalization will be key to the success of the policy. The Canadian Public Health Cannabis Webinar Series is focused on a range of issues related to cannabis consumption. It is imperative that Canadians are able to access unbiased and...

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Ecohealth Knowledge to Action Research Group (EKTA) - Wildfires and ecosocial determinants of health: Reflections on the experience in the NWT and BC

This webalogue will explore the complex implications of wildfires for the ecosocial determinants of health, exemplified by experiences of recent wildfire events in the NWT and BC. Consideration of wildfire impacts on public health will be explored in relation to environment, social and cultural impacts, with consideration of impacts on communities, wildfire and ecosystems. The session will...

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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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The Ontario Public Health Convention (TOPHC)

TOPHC 2019 will explore how strategy, leadership and practice align to address changes in the public health sector. Discover tools and approaches to move knowledge into practice, refresh your knowledge at thought-provoking sessions and collaborate with colleagues motivated to build healthier and more sustainable communities. 

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