Background: Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) present in resins that bind the wood fibre core of laminated flooring products. Installation of laminate flooring involves performing certain procedures that increase the chance of formaldehyde volatilizing into the atmosphere. Exposure to formaldehyde can lead to acute health effects such as watery eyes, nausea, skin irritation, wheezing, and even death. Formaldehyde is also classified as a probable carcinogen and long-term exposure, even at lower doses, may lead to the development of cancers such as leukemia and sinus cancer.
Method: GASTEC formaldehyde 91D passive dositubes were used to quantify the concentrations of formaldehyde present at laminate flooring installation job-sites. The dositubes were worn by two installers who each completed 5 flooring installations over a 15-day period. Between the two installers, there were 3 jobs using Chinese-made laminate, 3 jobs using German-made laminate, and 4 jobs using Canadian-made laminate. A fresh dositube was attached to the belt or collar of each installer at the beginning of the work day and worn while the installer was present at the job-site. In total, 30 samples were collected to which conversion factors were applied to change the units from ppm-hours to an 8-hour time-weighted average TWA. Comparisons were made between Chinese-made, Canadian-made, and German-made laminates and the mean of all 30 readings was compared to the Operational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 8-hour TWA standard of 0.75 ppm.
Results: A one-sample T-test indicated that the mean concentration of formaldehyde that the test subjects were exposed did not exceed the 0.75 ppm TWA standard (p=0.000). Further analysis via ANOVA revealed that there was no statistical difference when comparing TWAs stemming from installation of Chinese-made, German-made, and Canadian-made laminate flooring (p = 0.200).
Conclusion: Based on the results, it was concluded that flooring installers working for the Laminate Warehouse in Maple Ridge, BC, are not at risk of developing acute health effects from installing laminate flooring. However, the installers are still exposed to formaldehyde on a daily basis and chronic exposure could increase the risk of developing cancer. In addition, there was no observed relationship between origin of laminate flooring and levels of formaldehyde exposure., Peer reviewed, 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, 2018., Laminate flooring, Formaldehyde, Passive dositubes, Flooring installation, Flooring installers, Occupational hazard
Background: Cross-contamination is one of the leading causes of foodborne illness which poses a massive burden to an individual’s health and to the healthcare system. One way to prevent cross-contamination is through the elimination of pathogens from surfaces by properly washing with a detergent soap followed by sanitizing with a sanitizer. However, as found from a previous research study, not all restaurants in British Columbia wash and sanitize their food contact surfaces. Thus, this study aims to compare the cleaning effectiveness between using detergent soap alone verses using detergent soap followed by sanitizer.
Methods: Aerobic organisms were introduced to a cutting board by cutting alfalfa sprouts and then the surface was cleaned with Dawn Detergent soap and sanitized with 200ppm of chlorine bleach sanitizing solution. 3M™ Quick Swabs were used to sample the aerobic organisms (colony forming units) prior to and after each method of cleaning. The swabs were then transferred to 3M™ Petrifilm Plates, incubated at room temperature for 4 days, and then enumerated.
Results: The results show that there is a statistically significant greater microbial reduction through cleaning with detergent soap followed by sanitizer (mean log microbial reduction of 4.10) as compared to cleaning with detergent soap alone (mean log microbial reduction of 3.53). The p-value obtained is 0.003843 when α=0.05. The power was determined to be 92%.
Conclusions: This study was able to conclude that cleaning with detergent soap followed by sanitizer is 0.57 log (mean log microbial reduction of 4.10 - mean log microbial reduction of 3.53) more effective at cleaning than using detergent soap alone. However, the specific log microbial reduction value for the detergent soap followed by sanitizer achieved in this study is lower than what is found in the previous studies (Gilbert, 1970; Sores et al., 2012; Rossvoll et al., 2015). A possible reason for this discrepancy may be due to the presence of soil and food debris on the surface which may have had interfered with the sanitizing ability of the chlorine bleach (Lee et al., 2007)., Peer reviewed, 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, 2018., Aerobic organism, Colony forming unit, Chlorine bleach, Sanitizer, Sanitizing, Detergent soap, Cleaning, Cutting board, Food contact surface, Cross-contamination, Foodborne illness, Cleaning methods, Log reduction
Background: In the culinary industry, sous vide is a popular cooking method in which lower temperatures are used to cook food to retain more desirable organoleptic characteristics. However, this technique may compromise food safety as the temperature may not be sufficient enough to eliminate pathogens that may be present. The BCCDC’s Guidelines for Restaurant Sous Vide Cooking Safety in British Columbia advises when too many food items are placed in the sous vide water bath, inadequate water circulation may occur with the result that process lethality, measured by calculation of log10 reductions, may not be achieved. The purpose of this study was to determine how overcrowding a sous vide water bath would impact the thermal process of pork loins.
Methods: Each pork loin sample had a SmartButton inserted and was vacuum sealed in a plastic bag. The water bath was preheated to 60˚C by an immersion circulator. Under normal conditions, six pork loin samples were held in the water bath for 1 hour and the process was repeated four more times. Under overcrowded conditions, two runs were conducted for 1.5 to 2 hours, each consisting of 15 samples stacked in three layers. SmartButton temperature values were used to calculate whether a 6.5 log10 reduction for Salmonella spp. was achieved, using the American Meat Institute’s formula.
Results: Using a 31-minute cook time, pork loins in normal conditions reached an average log reduction of 8.85 (range: 0.51 to 21.07), which was significantly higher than the 6.5 log10 reduction objective (p = 0.006). Conversely, pork loins in overcrowded conditions reached an average log reduction of 1.76 (range: 0.05 to 7.93), which was significantly lower than the 6.5 log10 reduction objective (p = 0.000). Furthermore, cooking lethality between the two conditions, pork loins in crowded and overcrowded conditions, were found to be significantly different from each other (p = 0.000). No differences were found in the mean log10 reductions between the pork loins placed in each of the three layers in an overcrowded water bath at 31 minutes (p = 0.094).
Conclusion: Overcrowding sous vide water baths does impact on the thermal process of pork loins. Food products cooked under overcrowded conditions require a longer cook time, (approximately 30 minutes longer) to achieve at least 6.5 log10 reductions. Therefore, it is advised that food handlers using sous vide techniques should avoid overcrowding sous vide water baths. Further research using more samples is recommended to determine potential cold spot patterns in overcrowded water baths due to inadequate water circulation., Peer reviewed, 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, 2018., Sous vide, overcrowding, water bath, pork loin, temperature, public health