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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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Radiofrequency Radiation

Radiofrequency (RF) radiation are electromagnetic waves emitted from a variety of common wireless communication devices, including cell phones, cordless (DECT) phones, Wi-Fi computer networks, smart meters, and baby monitors. The frequencies of RF waves range from 3 KHz (3,000 Hz) to 300 GHz (300 million hertz). Personal exposure to RF waves is highest when devices, such as cell phones, are held...

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Document

Tanning and Skin Cancer: A Brief Review (UBC Bridge Program)

The prevalence of intentional solar tanning in Canada ranges from 4 to 49% depending on age and sex. The prevalence of tanning using artificial tanning devices in Canada ranges from 4 to 27% depending on age and sex. Both solar and artificial tanning are much more frequent in younger persons and in females. Although both solar and artificial ultraviolet radiation is categorized as a human...

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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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Going Underground: Electrical Substations and Health

Concerned citizens and municipal authorities contacted their public health region about a proposal by an electrical utility company to build an underground electrical substation in an urban area, near to an elementary school and playground. 1. Background – substations and electromagnetic fields2. Literature search3. What are the health implications of exposure to ELF magnetic fields?4. What is...

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Cellular/Mobile Phone Use and Intracranial Tumours

Cell phone use is increasingly prevalent in Canada. Public concerns of a potential associated risk with intracranial tumours have been raised. Further, recent media attention has focused on disparate precautionary policies implemented across jurisdictions in Canada and world-wide. In light of this and emerging epidemiological evidence, we review what is known about cell phone use and...

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Radon Testing and Remediation Programs: What Works?

Local, regional, and national health authorities have used a number of approaches to encourage homeowners to test for radon and to implement remediation measures where warranted. Given Health Canada’s new 200 Bq/m3 radon guideline, the time is right to review lessons learned in implementing testing and remediation strategies. While public information does change knowledge and awareness of the...

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An Evaluation of Interventions Designed to Reduce Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure

Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight is the main risk factor for the development of skin cancer. This risk factor can be greatly reduced by following responsible sun protection measures and avoiding artificial ultraviolet radiation. This review was conducted to assess the evidence behind interventions aimed at reducing ultraviolet radiation exposure. A literature search was conducted using...

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Workshops Presentations

Power Lines and Health: The Evidence and Public Policy

Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (New Brunswick Branch) 2009 Annual Educational Conference; previous version presented at American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo "09

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Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields - A Review of Public Exposures to Radiofrequency-emitting Sources*

American Industrial Hygiene Association Conference and Exposition 2013 Here we review what radiofrequency (RF) is, common sources of RF exposure, common levels of exposure, and RF mitigation strategies.

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Radon and Child Care Facilities

This presentation was delivered at the 83rd CIPHI National Annual Education Conference and created in conjunction with an environmental health officer from the BC Interior Health authority. It provides an overview of testing research and policies to reduce childhood radon exposure.

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From communication to mitigation: The challenges of managing radon exposure in Canada

This presentation, delivered at the BC Lung Association’s 4th Annual Radon Workshop, outlines a theoretical framework that supports radon outreach and behavior change.

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Radon: Threats, Challenges & Actions

In a joint effort, BC Lung Association, BC Centre for Disease Control, and the NCCEH organized a radon workshop on March 7, 2012 as part of the BC Lung Association’s two day Annual Air Quality & Health Workshop in Vancouver. The objective of the radon workshop was to identify ways in which public health practitioners and other stakeholders can move forward on reducing residential radon...

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Radon and Lung Cancer

House of Commons Standing Committee on Health On June 18, 2015, Dr. Tom Kosatsky, NCCEH Scientific Director, Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol, NCCEH Knowledge Translation Scientist, and Dr. Sarah Henderson, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control Senior Scientist were invited to present before the House of Commons' Standing Committee on Health, Ottawa. The Committee assembled a panel of experts with the...

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Public Health Ethics: A Case in Environmental Health

In this webinar, co-presented by NCCHPP and NCCEH, participants discussed the evidence and ethics of a case involving radon. Presenters: Anne-Marie Nicol, Environmental Health Scientist at the NCCEH Michael Keeling and Olivier Bellefleur, Research Officers at the NCCHPP  The webinar, co-presented by NCCHPP and NCCEH on November 29, 2016, featured a case involving radon testing at daycares and...

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Event

BC Lung Association - 6th BC Radon Workshop: Collaborative and Innovative Approach to Radon Issues

Radon is a ubiquitous, naturally occurring radioactive gas in open atmosphere that comes from the decay of uranium, which is distributed throughout soil and rocks. Radon and its decay products are found in higher concentrations in confined space such as homes, buildings and underground workplaces. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers and the second leading cause after...

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NCCEH eJournal Club - Implementation of a radon measurement protocol and its communication plan by child care centre managers in Québec

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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