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Water


Promoting health through safe drinking and recreational water, including small drinking water systems.

Project

Coastal waters, fresh water and other untreated recreational water venues

Recreational water venues such as oceans, lakes, and rivers, attract large numbers of users. Usage is higher in the summer months, although recreational water activities such as swimming, water skiing, surfing, wakeboarding etc., can take place year-round. These venues are not subject to specific legislation the way that man-made treated recreational water venues such as swimming pools and hot...

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Pools, hot tubs, and other treated recreational water venues

Public swimming pools, hot tubs, splash parks, wading pools, and other treated recreational water facilities are popular recreational water venues, which are regulated at the provincial or territorial level. In most provinces there is legislation specific to these facilities that provide criteria for their design, construction, and ongoing operation (www.canlii.org). Despite having these...

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Cyanobacteria in Freshwater

Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, are naturally occurring microscopic organisms found in fresh, brackish, or marine water that can form cyanotoxins. These toxins are a serious public health issue as exposure can cause illness and, in worst case scenarios, can be fatal (Svirčev et al. 2017). Under certain environmental conditions, cyanobacteria multiply quickly and create blooms...

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Floatation Tanks

Floatation or float tanks have resurged in popularity since their initial commercialization in the 1970s. These tanks, pods, or chambers are intended to help users achieve certain physical and mental benefits through the elimination (or minimization) of sensory inputs. Briefly, the user floats on his or her back in a warm, near-saturated solution of magnesium sulphate (MgSO4), which buoys the...

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Drinking Water Project

In Canada, most people have access to safe and secure drinking water. Nevertheless, lapses in management of drinking water safety may lead to waterborne illness outbreaks, which can lead to high personal and economic tolls as a large number of people may be exposed to disease agents simultaneously. Investigation of waterborne illness outbreaks is challenging due to rarity of occurrence,...

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Document

Review of Guidelines for Shock Chlorination in Private Wells (UBC Bridge Program)

Microbial contamination of groundwater from private wells can pose a significant health risk to rural Canadians. To mitigate risk, Health Canada currently recommends shock chlorination along with microbial well testing, voluntary measures most often performed by the homeowner. However, infrequent testing and paucity of research assessing the effectiveness of shock chlorination guidance as...

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Understanding microbial indicators for drinking water assessment - revised

Boil water advisories are issued when water testing detects higher than accepted amounts of microbial indicators or when there are deficiencies with water treatment. The fear of not issuing a boil water advisory when there is truly a health risk associated with water consumption can lead water operators to call for boil water advisories as a precautionary measure. Yet, issuance of boil water...

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Identifying and Addressing the Public Health Risks of Splash Parks

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...

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Cyanobacteria in Freshwater

What are cyanobacteria? Are cyanoblooms preventable? Who is at risk and how does exposure occur? Is there testing for cyanotoxins? This NCCEH document provides a brief outline of these key questions related to cyanobacteria and the toxins they produce.

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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 health...

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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...

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Community Water Fluoridation in Canada – Trends, Benefits, and Risks (University of Guelph Master of Public Health Program)

Fluoride has been added to public drinking water in Canadian communities since the 1940s as a means of preventing tooth decay. Dental fluorosis is a known adverse effect of excessive fluoride exposure during tooth formation. Fluorosis ranges from barely noticeable whitish striations in the enamel to severe pitting and brownish staining. In general, the prevalence of dental fluorosis in...

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Characteristics of small residential and commercial water systems that influence their likelihood of being on drinking water advisories in rural British Columbia, Canada

Health officials often lack information about characteristics that predict which water systems are most likely to be placed on and to persist on drinking water advisories (e.g. health warnings offering advice or information). This study uses data collected by the Interior Health Authority in British Columbia to characterize water systems on advisory for microbiological threats and to identify...

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Water-borne Disease Outbreaks in Canadian Small Drinking Water Systems

Information about Canadian drinking water systems and past water-borne disease outbreaks is incomplete and non-standardized. Standard definitions and coordinated surveillance systems for water-borne disease outbreaks would help inform policy and practice. A relatively high proportion of past water-borne disease outbreaks in Canada are estimated to have occurred in small drinking water systems...

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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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Retrospective Surveillance for Drinking Water-Related Illnesses in Canada

Waterborne infections are an important cause of preventable enteric disease. This report obtained information on: characteristics of waterborne disease events (WBEs) in Canada; factors contributing to WBEs; current WBE detection and prevention practices; and, information needs of front-line public health staff. Forty-seven WBEs were identified, the majority occurring prior to 2001. Giardia and...

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Chlorination Disinfection By-Products in Drinking Water

The challenge of judging and managing public health risks “caused by” chlorination disinfection by-products (DBPs) in drinking water is likely the most complex issue faced by the drinking water industry in the developed world over the past three decades. Public health professionals must be sure that precautionary efforts in managing DBP risks are never allowed to compromise necessary measures to...

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When can Point-of-Use Water Filters be used for Removal of Protozoa?

While boiling water is an effective way to kill most microbial pathogens, research performed in the United Kingdom has shown that people do not necessarily comply with boil water advisories. Similarly, in Walkerton, Ontario in 2000, only 44% of respondents reported that they were aware of the order to boil water when it was first issued on the local radio at the start of the outbreak and in...

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Pool Chlorination and Closure Guidelines

As an EH director at a local health authority, helping to review provincial guidelines on swimming pools, you want to know if scientific evidence supports pool closure orders when free available chlorine (FAC) is found to be at or above 10 ppm. Should the level be different and are there other factors to be considered for closure, instead of or in addition to FAC? What is Free Available Chlorine...

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Workshops Presentations

Retrospective Investigation of Drinking Water-related Illnesses in Canada

Update on the NCCPH Small Drinking Water Systems Project

Update on the NCCPH Small Drinking Water Systems Project

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Safe Drinking Water (2009)

Agenda Presentations: Groundwater Under the Direct Influence of Surface Water*Steve Wallace Ground Water Wells - Construction, Maintenance, and TroubleshootingTwyla Legault Cross Connection Control and Backflow PreventionRoland Tomuschat Cost Effective Treatment of Small Ground Water Systems**Garry Drachenberg Active Surveillance - PHI’s Role with Drinking WaterNelson Fok Handouts:      *   AENV...

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Exploring Alternatives to Regulating Small Drinking Water Systems

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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Environmental Health and Inequalities: Evidence and Action

Presentations: Environmental Stewardship UnitStuart Wuttke, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Health and the EnvironmentAlbert Marshall, Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources State of Knowledge on Environmental Health Issues for First NationsTara Marsden, First Nations Environmental Health Innovation Network (FNEHIN) Health Canada's Implementation of the Drinking Water Safety Program: Successes...

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Appreciating and applying metal in drinking water guidelines

Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI) 81st Annual National Educational Conference National and International agencies establish drinking water guidelines based on objectives which combine health protection, aesthetics, and the efficacy of metal removal. Recent examples of requests by BC agencies to BCCDC around selenium, arsenic, manganese and lead in water illustrate the need...

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Fires, Floods, and Bugs: How Climate Change Impacts Drinking Water Source Quality

Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI) 82nd Annual National Educational Conference.  Climate change is anticipated to have myriad potential impacts on human health, some of which may be difficult to predict. However, the effects of climate change on ground and surface water, and the concomitant risk to human health through disruptions to drinking water, have been the subject of...

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Flint Water Crisis: Can It Happen in Canada?

Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI) 82nd Annual National Educational Conference In January 2016 a US federal state of emergency was declared in Flint Michigan due to elevated lead concentration in the city’s drinking water. This presentation gives an overview of the Flint lead crisis and how regulation was insufficient to protect public health given human error and omission....

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Event

NCCEH eJournal Club - The Geographic Distribution of Liver Cancer in Canada Does Not Associate with Cyanobacterial Toxin Exposure

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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NCCEH Environmental Health Seminar - BCIT Environmental Health Student Presentations

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. Title: Assessing the risk of lead exposure to children from drinking water in Metro Vancouver child care facilitiesSpeaker: Thomas Quach, BCIT Environmental Health StudentSummary: With the...

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Legislation

The Drinking Water Safety Act, CCSM c D101