Environmental Public Health Journal 2014 | BCIT Institutional Repository

Environmental Public Health Journal 2014

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Evaluating the health and safety knowledge of body waxing providers in British Columbia
BACKGROUND: Since the deregulation of the BC Cosmetology Act in 2003, esthetics has become a voluntary-certified trade. Considering the rising popularity of more intimate body waxing services and the potential for infections and injuries associated with these services, there is concern that BC waxing service providers have varying levels of health and safety knowledge. METHODS: The health and safety knowledge of BC estheticians was analyzed by conducting a knowledge assessment survey of body waxing providers from random clusters of 50 beauty salons in Vancouver and Surrey, BC. To evaluate which parameters affected the estheticians’ knowledge scores, ANOVA, t-tests and regression analyses were used. Chi square analyses were used to determine factors associated with the level of esthetics training. RESULTS: Health and safety knowledge scores widely varied (mean = 18.8 ± 5.5 out of 36 points). Estheticians’ qualifications were not significantly associated with whether the esthetician started practicing before or after the BC Cosmetology Act deregulation. 84% held a traditional esthetics certification and 30% had BeautySafe certification; however they did not necessarily score significantly higher on the health and safety knowledge assessment. Estheticians scored higher in Vancouver than in Surrey (p=0.046). The cost of waxing (p=0.0011) and estheticians’ perceptions (p=0.020) of their own knowledge level are also positively related to their knowledge score. Age, alma mater, years of experience, and ethnicity did not show any significant relationship with an esthetician’s qualifications or knowledge scores. CONCLUSIONS: Cost of wax treatment, esthetician’s perception of health and safety knowledge and location were indicators of an esthetician’s health and safety knowledge competency. Consumers should ask the esthetician to rate their own knowledge competency, opt for the more expensive treatment and if they have the option, choose a Vancouver salon over a Surrey salon. The wide range of knowledge scores indicate a gap in health and safety standards and thus, an opportunity for health authorities and the esthetic industry to collaborate to establish such standards., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, body waxing, esthetician, health, safety
Fitness lunch bag
Background: Improper storage of food is one of the top ten food handling practices that cause a foodborne illness. This study assessed whether the Fitness Lunch Bag was able to keep precooked chicken breast cold at below 4°C (40°F) for 8 hours and to determine if the layers of the bag kept food consistent at the same temperature. Methods: Three SmartButtons, continuous temperature data logging devices, were inserted into three precooked and chilled chicken breasts. The three chicken breasts were placed within three trays inside the Fitness Lunch Bag that remained at room temperature for 8 hours. The internal temperatures were logged at one hour intervals. A total of 30 samples were collected. NCSS was used for statistical analysis of the data by regression/correlation and ANOVA. Results: The Fitness Lunch Bag was unable to hold cold food safely, at 4°C (40°F) and below for 8 hours. All three layers were found to exceed 4°C (40°F) within the first hour (p-value of 0.000 by 1 sample t-test). In addition, all three layers of the Fitness Lunch Bag were found to not be equivalent in retaining a consistent temperature throughout the bag (p-value of 0.000000 < 0.05 by regression analysis at the 8 hour mark). Layer 2 was the best at retaining the lowest temperature for the chicken breasts, followed by layer 1. Moreover, layer 3 was found to display the warmest temperatures out of the three layers. Conclusion: The results of the study show that the Fitness Lunch Bag does not have the ability to keep cold foods out of the danger zone, 4-60°C (40 – 140°F), for 8 hours. In addition, the bag was not capable of keeping cold foods safe at the 1 hour mark. Caution should be used with any type of lunch bag, insulated and/or frozen gel packed, especially with the potentially hazardous foods., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Published., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, lunch bag, foodborne illness, temperature, temperature abuse, fitness
Frozen foods and recommended packaging temperatures.
Background: Frozen foods have cooking instructions on their packaging, but due to foodborne illnesses resulting from consuming them, it brings the effectiveness of these instructions into question. The recommended cooking temperature on the packaging is a specific numerical value that is not open to interpretation and can be used to measure effectiveness. Methods: Temperatures were taken from 208 different meat products from different stores. The information recorded include: the store the products were found at, the type of meat, whether the product was uncooked or cooked, and if it had safe handling instructions. The data was compared to 3 different guidelines to see if they met the recommendations or not. The results of the comparison were then analyzed using Chi-squared tests. Results: A majority of T&T products failed in all 3 standards, the majority of products from Superstore passed using all 3 standards, and the majority of products from Costco failed using 2 standards. Conclusion: The amount of products that met recommendations is dependent on the store, the type of meat, the uncooked or cooked status, and the guidelines being used due to the recommended temperature of poultry being vastly different in one of the guidelines. The other products that did not meet recommendations were due to them being cooked products without a recommended reheating., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, Temperature, microwave, Regulations, Food Code, meat product, guidelines
How do you sleep at night?
Background: Sacrificing sleep on a daily basis has become a lifestyle for a growing number of people. This habit has been found to decrease overall cognitive health and performance. Raising awareness about benefits of a good night’s sleep and the negative effects of inadequate sleep is pertinent to shaping a healthy public conscience about sleep. It is also an important factor to consider for public health professionals since they must think critically throughout the working day and their work impacts those in their care. The purpose of this study was to assess the association between cognitive performance and sleep-related habits in a population of 31 Environmental Health students at BCIT during the Winter 2014 semester. Methods: A survey that collected subjective data on sleep-related habits and a brief cognitive test were used to assess cognitive performance. The cognitive test scores were marked with an index out of 20 and analyzed with a paired T-test to explore any differences from two study trials in January and February. Results: There was a significant decrease in cognitive index scores over the four week period. This was confirmed by a paired T-test with a p-value of 0.000005, with a significance level of α = 0.05. Average index scores were 18.91993 in January, 15.87063 in February, and the rounded average decline in scores was 3.13. Conclusion: Using an electronic device prior to going to sleep was deemed to be the most likely factor behind a significant decline in cognitive performance between January and February. Excessive exposure to light during naturally dark hours of the evening may curtail physiological processes during sleep (i.e. hormonal activities) effecting cognitive health and performance., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, Sleep, Cognition, Sleep deprivation, Mental health, Healthy sleep
Inspecting inspection reports, does the type of restaurant change the risk?
Background An estimated of 4 million Canadians (one in eight people) become ill every year from a food-borne illness (Thomas et al., 2013). The economic and social burdens of these illnesses are vast. As restaurants are a big sector of the food industry, improving their food safety would reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses. Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are on the front line, educating restaurant operators in order to improve food safety. In Metro Vancouver there are many different types of ethnicities and types of restaurants; this provides a challenge for EHOs to know where to allocate their time and resources. Methods The author analyzed 150 Fraser Health inspection reports in the Burnaby, New Westminster and Surrey municipalities. The restaurants fell into three different categories: i) Independently owned ethnic, ii) Independently owned, non-ethnic and iii) chain non-ethnic restaurants. Hazard ratings, number of critical and number of non-critical violations from their latest inspection report were compared. Each violation code was also recorded to identify any infraction trends that exist. Results Analysis of the number of critical violations identified ethnic, chain non-ethnic, and independent non-ethnic restaurants as not being significantly different (p=0.09). The number of non-critical violations was different (0.033), with ethnic restaurants having the most. The number of critical violations, when treating each ethnicity as its own category, is however significantly different (p=0.044) between restaurant types. There was a significant association between hazard rating and restaurant type, with independent ethnic restaurants having the worst hazard rating (p=0.017). Conclusion The type of ownership (independent vs chain) and the restaurant type were not a factor when looking at number of critical violations that a restaurant commits. Independent ethnic restaurants had a slightly higher mean number of critical violations. Japanese restaurants had the highest number of critical violations out of the three ethnicities studied. These findings suggest a slight disparity in risk to public health between ethnic and non-ethnic restaurants., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed
Mechanically tenderized meat
Background: In 2012, mechanically tenderized meat raised public health concern when an E.Coli 0157:H7 outbreak was linked to the tenderization process. It was discovered that the machinery pushed the E.Coli from the surface of contaminated meat products such as steaks and roasts, into the interior, where it was able to survive the cooking process. Concerns were raised by Lorraine McIntyre and the BCCDC about this issue, and their desire to improve their knowledge base in order to adequately assess the risk. Methods: Data was gathered via a survey conducted electronically and by telephone. Questions were asked to determine the proportion of retail establishments that use their own tenderizing equipment. Questions also asked about other industry practices such as current sanitization and labeling practices. Results: The results of this study were that 24% of surveyed establishments mechanically tenderize their meat products. Of these establishments, 33% have a label that states the meat has been tenderized mechanically and 17% provide cooking instructions on this label. An association was found between mechanically tenderizing meat and establishment type, which suggests that grocery stores are more likely to mechanically tenderize than other establishments, such as restaurants. On the other hand, no association was found between operator experience and their level of knowledge regarding the risks of mechanical tenderization. Conclusions: Overall, this study has demonstrated the likelihood is high that consumers purchase and consume beef that has been mechanically tenderized at the retail level. The results from this study can be used to aid public health officials in quantifying the risk of mechanical tenderization at a retail level and aid in the development and implementation of new legislation such as mandatory labeling of all mechanically tenderized meat., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, mechanically tenderized meat (MTM), food safety, food retail establishment, survey, labeling
Non-celiac consumer knowledge regarding gluten-free diets
BACKGROUND: With the rising trend in gluten-free diets, it is imperative that there is high consumer product literacy so that the public makes informed decisions in regards to their diet and health. Knowledge taken from reputable sources and recognizing unsubstantiated health claims regarding gluten-free diets is critical for a non-celiac consumer. METHODS: A survey was used to investigate why non-celiac consumers elect to follow gluten-free diets and why they believe that the elimination of gluten from their diet is healthy. This project also tested consumer knowledge regarding gluten. RESULTS: During a 2 month period, total of 376 individuals participated in the survey. Only 322 participants fell under the inclusion criteria of this study. Women who elected to participate in gluten-free diets (but did not have Celiac’s Disease themselves) had higher overall test scores and men in the general population had lower overall test scores (p = 0.000017). CONCLUSIONS: Based on overall test scores and percentages of correct responses for specific questions, there seems to be deficiencies in both the average consumer and non-celiac-gluten-avoider-consumer knowledge regarding gluten, gluten-free products and diets., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, Survey, gluten, gluten-free, gluten-free diets, non-celiac gluten sensitivity
The risk of consuming MTGase-restructured steaks like intact steaks
Introduction: The use of transglutaminase to restructure loose pieces of meat into a fully intact piece of steak has been a concern for the public because of the potential internalization of contaminated surfaces into the aseptic center. The aim of this study was to examine if restructured steaks are safe to consume when cooked to medium rare, a common option with whole cut steaks Methods: Strips of beef were inoculated with E.coli to induce surface contamination. Steaks were restructured with transglutaminase and the altered meat. These steaks were then cooked alongside fully intact whole-cut steak samples. Each sample was then churned in a stomacher, and the resulting solution was used to detect for potential E.coli bacteria. Samples were then enriched and finally placed into the Hygiena Micro-snap Rapid Coliform and E.coli detection test to look for the presence of E.coli. Results: The Hygiena system showed that all transglutaminase restructured steaks possessed detectable levels of E.coli even after cooking to 55 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, no whole-cut steaks had traces of E.coli even when cooked to this same temperature. Conclusion: The results demonstrated that there is a substantial risk with restructured steaks and they should not be consumed undercooked. As well, proper labelling and guidelines should be developed to enable consumers to be better equipped in making decisions to consume properly consumed altered steaks., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, Transglutaminase, Meat glue, Steaks, Food safety, Escherichia coli
Safety and pH measurements of sushi rice in Japanese restaurants in Burnaby BC, Canada
Background and Purpose: The increasing popularity of sushi in Metro Vancouver raises public health concerns over the consumption of sushi rice being held out of temperature control. Although sushi rice is acidified to control growth of pathogenic microorganisms, there is no existing documented system to monitor the pH of sushi rice, and pH testing is rarely performed by Environmental Health Officers(EHOs)/Public Health Inspectors(PHIs) during routine inspections. The purpose of the study was to measure the pH of sushi rice samples collected from different sushi restaurants in Burnaby, BC and determine whether the pH meets the accepted standard of 4.6 or below. Methods: 30 sushi rice samples were collected from 30 randomly selected sushi restaurants in Burnaby, British Columbia. The samples were kept at room temperature and then tested for pH using the Waterproof Palm pH Meter. Results: The mean pH of the samples was 4.09; the median was 4.115; the standard deviation was 0.198; and the range was 0.82 with the minimum value of 3.71 and the maximum value of 4.53. 100% (30 out of 30 samples) had the pH less than 4.6. The statistical z-test resulted in a p-value of 0.00. Discussion: All of the sushi rice samples had pH values less than 4.6. Therefore, the samples were adequately acidified to inhibit the growth of pathogens. The low pH values indicate that the samples are not considered potentially hazardous food, thus safe to be stored at room temperature for extended periods of time. However, due to the nature of Bacillus cereus that can grow at a pH 4.3 or higher, the target pH of sushi rice is 4.3 or lower. Conclusion: Inadequately acidified sushi rice may pose a health risk if it is stored out of temperature control. The study shows that sushi rice being consumed by the public in Burnaby, BC is generally safe and has a low public health concern. Therefore, EHOs/PHIs can feel assured that sushi rice stored at room temperature is unlikely to cause potential foodborne illness., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, sushi, rice, pH, acidity, food safety, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Burnaby, BC
Safety of Chinese roast pork as determined by the water activity of the skin and cavity
Objectives: The increase in unfamiliar ethnic foods and the lack of guidelines available to evaluate their safety makes it increasingly challenging for Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) to ensure food safety. Chinese barbecued meats, for example, frequently undergo improper temperature control, causing health concerns for public health authorities. However, due to the limited studies conducted, the health implications associated with temperature abuse of this ethnic food is currently unclear. Hence, the following study assessed the safety of Chinese barbecued meats, specifically roast pork, at ambient temperature (21°C). Methods: The temperature and water activity (aw) of 30 samples of roast pork skin and cavity were measured. A one sample t-test was conducted to assess whether or not the aw of roast pork surfaces are below 0.85, a standard for safe display of food at room temperature. In addition, the paired-sample t-test was conducted to determine whether a difference exists between the aw of roast pork skin and cavity. Results: The mean temperature that roast pork was displayed at in retailers was 30.7°C and the mean skin and cavity aw were 0.70±0.013 and 0.81±0.009, respectively. The aw of the roast pork skin and cavity were found to be statistically lower than the standard, 0.85 (p-value < 0.00001 and at 0.001338, respectively). In addition, statistically significant difference was found between the mean aw of the roast pork skin and cavity (p-value < 0.00001). Conclusion: These results indicate that the whole roast pork can be safely displayed at ambient temperature provided that it adheres to specific food safety and sanitation criteria. These results can aid health authorities with guidelines development to assist PHIs with inspections and educate operators to ensure food safety., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, Chinese roast pork, water activity, temperature abuse, public health, skin, cavity
Shelf-life study of a vegetable-based juice prepared using a masticating juicer
Background Home juicing has seen a rise in popularity because it gives people an appetizing way to get their daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. The roles of proper refrigeration, pasteurization, and acidification are all important in regards to determining the shelf life of a freshly made juice. As the general public may not properly understand these implications, this could become a major concern for public health officials. Methods A vegetable-based juice, made with carrots, celery, apples and parsley was made using a masticating juicer. Two versions of the juice were made, one original and one acidified. The pH, total coliforms, and total bacterial levels were monitored in both versions of the juice over a fifteen-day period. Results Analyses were carried out with the two juice samples. The pH values of the two juices were significantly different (p = 0.0000). No statistically significant difference was found in either the total number of aerobic bacteria or coliforms in the acidified and original juices. The relationship between total bacterial count and pH in the both the acidified and neutral juices were statistically significant, r= 0.7659, p= 0.0098 and r=0.7334, p=0.0158, respectively. No statistically significant correlation was found between coliforms and pH. Conclusion Although it was expected that the acidified juice would have had a lower levels of bacterial growth, this research project failed to show this. The total bacterial levels in the acidified juice was greater than 106 CFU/g on Day 8 and the original juice was greater than 106 CFU/g on Day 10. Regardless of the pH, the safest and lowest bacterial levels will be right when the juice is made., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, home-juicing, pH, acidity, vegetables, food safety, farmers markets, bacteria, coliforms
A study of indoor air quality investigations in B.C health authorities
Canadians spend 90 percent of their lifetime indoors and are currently aware that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can negatively impact human health. If there are any IAQ problems, the Health Authorities will conduct IAQ investigations to respond to the complainants or resolve the conflicts. An online survey to Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and specialists was used to understand the frequencies that B.C. Health Authorities conduct IAQ investigations, the locations Health Authorities encountered most IAQ queries, the different types of pollutants that IAQ instruments are used for and the preference for instruments chosen. Five common indoor air pollutants, such as mould, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon, particulate matters (PMs), CO and CO2, were chosen and the Chi-Square test was used to analyze the data in this study. This study showed that most EHOs had never conducted IAQ investigations since they had worked in the B. C Health Authorities. Mould problems between landlord and tenant were EHOs mostly encountered. The study found that EHOs referred to other agencies or consultants when they received complaints. The data showed that the method of managing IAQ problems was associated with the Health Authorities because few EHOs from Vancouver Coastal Health indicated they had used equipment to conduct IAQ investigations. The mostly encountered location and frequency of conducting radon investigations were significantly associated with the Health Authorities due to an on-going project in Northern Authority. Most EHOs and specialists had shown that they educated public regarding to the information of IAQ instead of monitoring the IAQ pollutants. The results of this study indicate that EHOs did not get involved in IAQ investigations often and also showed that mould problems were the mostly encountered IAQ problems between the Health Authorities. The most important role of EHOs and specialists in this area is to educate public to solve or prevent IAQ problems., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2014., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Peer reviewed, Indoor air quality, PMs, CO, CO2, Radon, mould

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