Environmental Public Health Journal 2017 | BCIT Institutional Repository

Environmental Public Health Journal 2017

DPD-based colorimetric quantification of free available chlorine (FAC) in floatation tank conditions
Background: Floatation tanks are quickly gaining traction as a form of relaxation, with numerous spas emerging in the Lower Mainland and beyond. The tanks are filled with a solution of magnesium sulphate, recycled between client uses. Thus, there exists a potential for microbiological contamination and subsequently, disease transmission. Health inspectors in BC may be involved the approval and inspection process for floatation tank spas; therefore, it is important to ensure that floatation tank environments are not a vehicle for disease. As a preventative measure, guidelines are in place for the halogenation of tank water at a level of 3-5 ppm free available chlorine (FAC). However, there is no standard method for the accurate and reliable quantification of FAC in high salinity environments. This study characterized the effect of high salinity on FAC readings from the HACH Pocket Colorimeter™, and derived a conversion factor to obtain an accurate reading for inspectors in the field. Methods: Floatation tank environments were simulated using USP-grade Epsom salts, Clorox™ bleach, and a hot water bath set at approximately 34°C (93°F). Assuming an initial concentration of 5.25% sodium hypochlorite, the bleach was serially diluted to obtain concentrations from 1-8 ppm. The final dilution step involved the addition of either 34°C water or an Epsom salt solution (MgSO4) at a specific density of 1.220 to create two solutions with identical amounts of bleach - one with and one without salt. The solutions were tested for chlorine two minutes later through the addition of DPD - a colorimetric dye that results with FAC - and measuring the colour intensity using the Pocket Colorimeter II. A percentage recovery was derived using the ratio between measured FAC with and without salt, Results: There was a statistically significant difference (p=0.05) between measured chlorine levels with and without salt as determined by a paired t-test. Further analysis via ANOVA and a post-hoc multiple comparison test (Scheffe's) indicated a dose-response relationship - increasing the amount of hypochlorite in an Epsom solution results in a statistically significant increase in measured FAC between the following groups: 1-2 ppm, 3-5 ppm, and 6-8 ppm of added hypochlorite. Linear regression revealed a strong correlation (0.97) between measured chlorine with and without salt. Conclusions: The HACH Pocket Colorimeter II™ can be used to estimate the amount of FAC in a floatation tank solution using a conversion factor of 0.79; to obtain an accurate measurement, divide the FAC reading in salt by 0.79, Peer-reviewed article, Published., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2017., Peer reviewed, Floatation tanks, DPD, Pocket Colorimeter II, HACH, Testing, Free available chlorine, Public health inspection, High salinity, Epsom salts
Environmental health officers and climate change adaptation in British Columbia
Background: The average annual temperatures in British Columbia have been steadily increasing in recent history and are expected to continue to rise. Climate change impacts have a significant effect on public health, and adaptation to these changes is necessary. Environmental health officers (EHOs) are in a position to deliver climate change adaptation programs in public health. The purpose of this study was to assess EHO perception of climate change adaption and identify knowledge or policy gaps. Methods: A self-administered online survey created used Google Forms was distributed through e-mail and social media to EHOs in BC. The survey asked for demographics information, beliefs about climate change, adaption, and public health. Chi-square tests and descriptive statistics were used to analyze results. Results: There was a significant association found between working in a mixed urban and rural environment and the incorporation of climate change adaptation into practice and the belief that climate change has impacted public health in BC. No association was found between years of experience and incorporation of adaptation. Conclusion: While EHOs generally recognize the public health impacts of climate change, there are many barriers preventing EHO involvement in climate change adaptation., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2017., Peer reviewed, Climate change adaptation, Environmental health officers, EHOs, Public health
Evaluation of public health interventions in shellfish tag compliance rates
Background: The recent Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreak in the summer of 2015 highlighted that shellfish tags are one of the key pieces of information used to trace back and determine the source of a foodborne outbreak or illness associated with raw or uncooked shellfish. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, all shellfish tags must meet the requirements stated in the Section 7.3 of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP). Non-compliant tags may hinder national and regional regulatory agencies from identifying problems in harvest locations and at the processors, and further impede provincial control measures. As a result of the national outbreak, the BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC), Ministry of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), as well as health authorities and Environmental Health Officers (EHO) have been involved in a variety of actions and interventions to improve compliance. These include efforts to promote education and to improve control and surveillance of V. parahaemolyticus and other shellfish associated illnesses. This study examined the effectiveness of health agencies’ interventions to improve shellfish tag compliance rates to Section 7.3 of the CSSP by comparing the numbers of shellfish tags in compliance before and after the interventions that were implemented in 2016. Methods: 120 randomly selected shellfish tags were grouped into “Before” and “After” interventions. By assessing the date of processing, 60 tags collected before September 2016 were placed into the “Before” group. Another 60 tags collected after September 2016 were placed into the “After” group. Within each group, shellfish tags were individually analyzed to determine whether the tag met or exceeded the required quality, information, and type and quantity criteria. Shellfish tags were considered “Compliant” if they completely fulfill 10 components embodied in the criteria, whereas shellfish tags that failed to meet all the components were labeled “Non-compliant”. Results: Based on the statistical analysis conducted on the data, there was a greater proportion of compliant shellfish tags post-intervention compared to pre-intervention. The Pearson’s Chi-square test confirmed that there was a statically significant association (p-value = 0.000) between the numbers of shellfish tags in compliance and the interventions that were implemented after the outbreak. Conclusion: The results have demonstrated that the interventions implemented by numerous regulatory authorities resulted in greater compliance to Section 7.3 of the CSSP. Public health regulators including the Ministry of Agriculture and the CFIA, as well as BCCDC and EHOs should continuously be involved in a variety of actions, such as promoting education at the processor and retail level and also implementing interventions to improve compliance. By doing so, successful interventions and increased compliance rates will lead to rapid identification of shellfish-related illnesses or outbreaks and facilitate control measures that can expeditiously remediate public health issues., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2017., Peer reviewed, Shellfish tag, Food traceability, Seafood traceability, Shellfish processing facility, Shellfish biotoxin, Food safety, Public health
Methods for cleaning & sanitizing food contact surfaces (countertops) to prevent cross contamination in restaurant kitchens
Background: Cross contamination can occur in restaurant kitchens when food contact surfaces such as countertops are inadequately cleaned between preparation of raw and ready to eat foods. Previous research has demonstrated that washing with detergent and water, rinsing, then applying a sanitizer solution is the most effective cleaning method. The second most effective cleaning method is to use detergent and water alone. In practice, the author has observed kitchen staff using sanitizer alone to clean kitchen countertops. This study surveyed British Columbia restaurant kitchen staff on current practices and makes recommendations to improve cleaning and sanitization practices for the purpose of preventing cross contamination. Methods: A survey was prepared using SurveyMonkey and distributed through Facebook to the author’s contacts in the restaurant industry. The Facebook post included a request for anyone to share the survey link with their contacts who work in BC restaurant kitchens. The survey was shared 21 times by 14 different people. The survey asked questions about restaurant type and position, Foodsafe level, and about cleaning practices such as frequency and cleaning compounds used. Results: When asked what cleaning compounds are most often used to clean work surfaces (countertops) in their restaurant, 56.5% of respondents reported sanitizer solution only, 30.4% of respondents reported soap & water followed by sanitizer solution, and 13.0% reported soap and water only. When asked why sanitizer solution only was used to clean countertops, 46.2% of respondents said it was company policy, 23.1% of respondents said time savings, and 15.4% of respondents indicated that an Environmental Health Officer had recommended sanitizer use and that is what lead to sanitizer alone being used to clean countertops. Conclusions: In practice, some restaurant staff do not use sanitizer effectively and may believe it is a substitute for detergent. Using sanitizer alone is not as effective as using detergent alone. Detergent alone can provide a 2-3 log bacterial reduction. If staff are busy and are only going to use one cleaning step, detergent alone is the best method. Environmental Health Officers should review sanitation plans and talk with operators to determine current cleaning practices in food service establishments. Operators and staff should be re-educated on the importance of the three-step method. It may be beneficial to recommend that sanitizer use be decreased overall to encourage the use of soap and water. It may only be necessary to use sanitizer after high-risk jobs such as preparing raw meat or at the end of the day., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2017., Peer reviewed, Sanitizer, Sanitize, Sanitizing, Disinfect, Chemical, Effectiveness, Efficacy, Detergent, Soap, Food contact surface, Countertop, Public health, Cross contamination, Restaurant, Food service establishment, Dirt, Soil, Debris, Residue, Clean
The public health impact of infection control, sterilization and regulation in tattooing
Background: The purpose of this study was to look at infection control and sterilization procedures in relation to invasive services performed at Personal Service Establishments (PSEs) in British Columbia. The objective was to collect data on the opinions of regulation and infection control practices of persons currently working in the industries of: tattooing, micro-blading and permanent make-up. Method: Data was collected from a survey that was created and distributed online through Survey Monkey. A list of 261 personal service establishments throughout Vancouver Costal Health and Fraser Health were called and/or e-mailed and asked to participate in the online survey. Results and Analyses: Among the 261 PSEs contacted, 30 agreed to participate. They were asked about the regulation of their profession and their standard practices for infection control and sterilization. 3% of the respondent’s primary service was permanent make-up, 7% micro-blading, 7% piercing and 80% was tattooing. The majority of opinions on regulation were divided where 50% felt the industry was under regulated and 40% felt it was adequately regulated. 90% of the respondents agreed that formal training should be required before being allowed to tattoo and 43% of the respondents also agreed that the use of an autoclave should require certification. For infection control/sterilization procedures 100% of shops use one-time use (disposable) needles and ink caps, 80% use disposable tubes, 93% use cord and machine covers and 90% use disposable razors. 63% of the respondents do not use autoclaves because they use disposable items and therefore do not need to clean and sterilize re-usable equipment. The data compared in chi-squared analysis, age and formal training had a p-value of 0.01460 which indicates that there is an association between age and the belief that formal training should be required for those who practice tattooing. Those under 40 were more likely to indicate that formal training should be required. Conclusion: With a low response rate for micro-blading and permanent make-up it is not feasible to compare or contrast opinions and/or practices between the three services. The tattooing industry had the highest response rate and can be looked at in more detail. The information collected on tattooing could be used to develop a course to improve the safety of PSE’s. EHO knowledge in inspecting food service establishments is very high as a system has been put into place that ensures effective inspections. As well, the FOODSAFE program teaches safe practices to those who work in the kitchen. The growing popularity of PSEs now gives EHOs the opportunity to focus on creating safe work environments through the implementation of a training course and possibly altering the way inspections of each different PSE are conducted. Results of this study, along with other Canadian published data, should be considered when developing standardized training and education in the industry where invasive procedures are used., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2017., Peer reviewed, Tattoo, Tattooing, Tattoos, Sterilization, Infection control, Regulations