Background: Greenspace is a very important component of a healthy built environment. It can provide many benefits which include mitigating the effects of climate change, improving air quality, and enhancing mental and physical health. However, it has been shown that health promoting resources such as green spaces are often unequally distributed among different socioeconomic classes. The objective of this study was to identify disparities in proportional greenspace access between different income categories among the residents of three cities in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia. The mapping tool ArcGIS was used to visualize patterns of greenspace distribution and median household income.
Methods: Green space was classified as recreational parks within the cities of New Westminster, Vancouver and Burnaby in Metro Vancouver. Income and green space data were gathered from Statistics Canada and the Municipalities’ websites for mapping in ArcGIS respectively. This data was then exported, and a correlation analysis was performed to identify any relationship between green space and median household income of census tract divisions.
Results: Out of 248 data points, 90 census tracts were analyzed in Burnaby, 145 in Vancouver and 13 in New Westminster. Patterns in the maps indicated that higher income census tracts had lower proportional access to green space. Statistical results demonstrated that a negative correlation exists between greenspace and median household income. Higher income households have less access to green space across all three Metro Vancouver cities; New Westminster (p = 0.33), Vancouver (p = 0.02) and Burnaby (p = 0.03) a negative correlation was also found in a combined analysis across all three cities (p=0.0013).
Conclusion: Green space is undeniably important to all individuals within a city as it can provide recreational opportunities, improve physical and mental health, temper climate change, improve air quality and provide cooling effects. There may be substitutes to recreational activities that green space can provide, but there are none for the overall benefits that it can provide. This study calls for policy makers and planners to consider greater investments in green space and recreational parks in all census tracts including wealthier neighbourhoods, where smaller proportions of greenspace were identified. Programs such as the City of Vancouver’s “Greenest City Action Plan” whose goal is to encourage green initiatives including situating all residents within a five minute distance of greenspace should be implemented across all three cities., 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 2020., ArcGIS, Greenspace, Income, Median income, Recreational park
Background: High levels of lead (Pb), arsenic (As), and cadmium (Cd) in instant noodles have been reported in many countries, leading to temporary bans of several popular brands across the globe. There have been no studies analyzing the heavy metal contamination of instant noodles available in Canada to assess the risk for Canadians. As these contaminants are ubiquitous, their presence in food products is inevitable. A diet high in Pb, As, and Cd can cause permanent health conditions and death, as these metals are highly toxic even in small amounts and cannot be metabolized by the body.
Methods: 30 packets of instant noodles were purchased from 6 different brands available in Walmart and T&T. Individual packs of noodles, and the accompanying dry seasoning packs, were ground using a blender and stored in sterile Ziplock bags. The samples were processed using an acid digest and then analyzed using ICP-MS/MS. Concentrations of lead, arsenic, and cadmium were measured for a comparison with FDA recommended levels, a cross comparison between wheat and rice noodles, and across all 6 brands.
Results: The results show that the levels of Pb, As, and Cd found in instant noodles do not exceed the maximum allowable limits set forth by the FDA and EFSA. A significant difference between rice and wheat noodles is noted for As and Pb concentrations, where rice > wheat (p<0.05). A significant difference between brands is also noted for all three metals (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Although the results did not find Pb, As, and Cd concentrations to exceed the recommended levels, the results of this study are inconclusive due to the low power of the analyses. It has been established that rice noodles contain overall higher levels of Pb and As than their wheat counterparts, and the levels vary significantly between different brands. The results indicate a wide window of variability of exposure for Canadians and the low power of the study indicates a larger need for further studies to confirm the findings., Nongshim Mee, instant noodles, heavy metals, lead, arsenic, cadmium, toxic, contamination, ICP/MS-MS, wheat, rice, noodles, Indomie Mi Goreng, Maggi, Mr. Noodles, Pho Chay, Oh! Ricey
Kombucha tea is a fermented tea beverage that is mainly consumed for its associated-health benefits. These associated-health benefits may range from detoxifying the body to cancer treating. However, there is little to no scientific evidence that suggests that they work on humans. Similarly, kombucha tea is also prone to post-fermentation. This presents possible ethanol production and accumulation within the tea after packaging which can pose a possible health risk to susceptible population if not properly labelled or controlled. This study will investigate if there is any post-ethanol accumulation in commercially produced kombucha tea products under various storage conditions.
The ethanol concentration of 3 different kombucha tea brands (i.e.: Pure+, Health-Ade, and RISE) at various storage conditions (i.e.: no storage, refrigeration, and room temperature) were analyzed using GC-FID to determine post-ethanol accumulation. In addition, NCSS software was used to conduct a statistical analysis on the data to determine whether the 3 different kombucha tea brands exceeded the ethanol regulatory limit and whether the ethanol accumulation was dependent on storage temperatures.
The mean ethanol concentration for Pure+, Health-Ade, and RISE after refrigeration for 3 weeks were 0.722%, 0.696%, and 0.050% relatively which all showed a slight decrease in ethanol compared to their baseline ethanol levels (i.e.: no storage). Similarly, Pure+, Health-Ade, and RISE mean ethanol concentration after room temperature storage were 1.766%, 1.285%, and 0.794% relatively which indicates ethanol accumulation. Statistical analysis showed that there is a significant difference between room temperature storage and the other 2 storage conditions (i.e.: no storage and refrigeration). Also, only Pure+ and Health-Ade under room temperature storage showed a statistically significant mean ethanol concentration above the regulatory limit.
Results suggests that room temperature storage of Pure+, Health-Ade, and RISE for 3 weeks increased the ethanol levels significantly while refrigerating them will decrease the ethanol levels slightly which can minimize any potential post-fermentation process from happening. Furthermore, only Pure+ and Health-Ade under room temperature storage for 3 weeks were over the 1% ABV regulatory limit. Lastly, the data obtained from this study can be used to develop guidelines and policies in regulating kombucha tea manufacturers and in educating the public and other regulatory agencies on the matter., 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 2020., GC-FID, Kombucha tea, Fermentation, Tea, Ethanol
Background: It has been acknowledged that personal reusable water bottles pose hazards, such as disease-causing organisms, associated with poor water bottle hygiene practices. Currently, there are no recommended frequencies or procedures, or guidelines for personal water bottle cleaning and sanitation. Likewise, there is little information on outbreaks or cases of illness arising from poor personal water bottle hygiene. This may be due to lack of awareness and non-reporting of cases. Therefore, the importance of knowledge, attitudes and practices around reusable water bottles cannot be over emphasized. This research study will ascertain if water bottle hygiene practices among post-secondary education students are adequate to avoid consumption of drinking water with growth of multiple pathogenic microbes like Escherichia coli, Salmonella species, Pseudomonas species, Vibrio cholera and viruses.
Method: 83 participants were surveyed using an in person administered survey method. The survey was conducted on British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) student sample using the Survey Monkey platform and was delivered in person via an iPad at a survey stand. Chi-square tests were used to analyze the survey data using NCSS version 12 statistical package. Tables and bar charts were used to explain and give interpretation to p-values from the chi-square tests.
Results: There were found to be no associations between knowledge level around reusable water bottles and either gender or hygiene practices. However, the survey data did show an association between gender and hygiene level. The female participants were more likely to clean their water bottles more frequently than the male participants.
Conclusion: Based on the findings of this study, a health promotion initiative targeted toward male students is recommended to achieve behaviour change in cleaning practices with reusable drinking water bottles. Moreover, despite the study findings showing a high level of knowledge among participants, this did not translate to better water bottle hygiene practices, as there was no statistical association between knowledge level and hygiene practice. Therefore, more frequent cleaning of reusable water bottles should be encouraged, highlighting the appropriate cleaning agents and method to be used., 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, 2020., Drinking water, Reusable water bottle, Knowledge attitudes and practices, Hygiene
Background: Hiking is a popular outdoor activity among British Columbians. Within this group of hikers there is bound to be a wide range of knowledge for what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in terms of health and safety practices while hiking. Assessing hiker’s knowledge, attitude and practices regarding drinking water while hiking can help identify whether education for safe drinking water for hikers is needed to aid in the prevention of waterborne illnesses. In addition, potential barriers to hikers treating their water in the wilderness can be determined, with the goal of being able to reduce these barriers in the future.
Methods: The survey was created using Survey Monkey and distributed as an online self-administered survey through Facebook and email. The survey contained 18 questions which consisted of demographic and knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) questions regarding drinking surface water while hiking. Chi-square statistical tests were used to analyze the data.
Results: Of the 328 participants; 72.7% were female, 26.1% male, 0.6% other and 0.6% preferred not to answer. The distribution of age groups was as follows: 31.4% were 19-30 years old, 27.6% were 31-45 years old, 26.4% were 46-60 years old, 14.0% were 61+ years old, and 0.6% preferred not to answer. This study found that the more outdoor knowledge hikers had, the more often they treated surface water used for drinking water (P=0.000), that hiker’s attitude on how risky they thought drinking untreated surface water was affected how often they treated drinking water from surface water sources (P=0.000). The more advanced hikers had more outdoor knowledge (P=0.001), younger hikers thought that drinking untreated surface water was less risky (P=0.025), post-secondary education did not determine how much outdoor knowledge hikers had (P=0.088) and males treated their water less often than females (P = 0.014).
Conclusion: This study identified a need for accessible outdoor education with respect to safe drinking water. This education can help hikers make informed decisions to safeguard their health while hiking. This information can be distributed by outdoor organizations, government organizations, high school health education classes, and integrated into outdoor advertisements., 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 2020., Surface water, Hiking, Hiker, Waterborne illness, Giardia, Water treatment, Drinking water
Background: Seniors participate in sports to improve physical, mental, and social health; however, such activities may increase the risk of illness and injury. Curling is popular in this age group because it is physically manageable, strategic, and provides social connection. Certain factors in curling such as handshaking, play during the flu season, and shared contact with curling stones suggest an increased risk of disease transmission. The purpose of this study was to determine the qualitative risk of communicable enteric disease transmission due to shared contact with curling stone handles in a senior men’s curling league.
Methods: 3M™ Quick Swabs were used to sample 22 curling stone handles for total coliforms before a senior’s league game. To analyze microbial shedding during gameplay, the same 22 handles were sampled after the game. Samples were plated on 3M™ Petrifilm™ Coliform Count Plates and incubated at 30ºC ± 1ºC for 24 hours ± 2 hours. Colonies were enumerated in units of CFU (colony forming units)/cm2. Ambient and handle surface temperatures were measured, and curler hygiene-related behaviours documented.
Results: Total coliform counts for all samples were 0 CFU/cm2. The ambient temperature was 6.6°C pre-game, and 8.0°C post-game. Mean handle surface temperature was 3.6°C. Hygiene behaviours of concern were hand-face contact, handkerchief/tissue use, and handshaking.
Conclusion: There is low risk of enteric disease transmission due to shared contact with curling stone handles by male curlers 55 years and older. Absence of coliforms may have been due to adequate player hygiene, transference of microbial load before sampling, error, or environmental conditions. Health promotion and education can reduce the infection risk elevated by poor hand hygiene, face contact, and handshaking in senior’s curling, thereby protecting the health and welfare of all participants., 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 2020., Illness, Curling, Handle, Sport, Coliform, Pathogen, Seniors, Enteric, Fomite, CFU
In recent years, there have been an increasing number of wildfire events. The effects of global climate change play a big role in the severity and length of these wildfire events. Prolonged periods of wildfire smoke in the air can negatively impact health by causing respiratory distress and exacerbating pre-existing conditions. Many regions have implemented smoke mitigation methods like community clean air shelters, but risk perception can influence whether or not these methods are effectively used. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the risk perception of residents in British Columbia regarding wildfire smoke inhalation and smoke mitigation methods.
A survey was distributed to residents living in British Columbia to evaluate their risk perception of wildfire smoke and use of smoke mitigation methods. The online survey was created with Survey Monkey, distributed via Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, and took approximately five minutes to complete. The results were collected in Microsoft Excel and analyzed with NCSS statistical software.
Chi-square tests showed a significant association between gender and the risk perception of inhaling wildfire smoke, exercising outdoors during a smoke event, going outside during an air quality advisory, and the decision to find a clean air space during a smoke event. There were some associations with age and geographical region as well. Results showed that most people practice some form of smoke mitigation, such as staying indoors, seeking refuge in a clean air space, and using masks and/or portable air filters.
Based on the results, gender has a significant impact on risk perception of wildfire smoke inhalation. Other demographics, such as age, geographical region, education, and ethnicity, did not display many significant associations. This study also identified that participants may have conflicting views about the protectiveness of a surgical/cloth mask during a smoke event. Most participants practiced some form of smoke mitigation method, like staying indoors., 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 2020., British Columbia, Wildfire smoke, Smoke mitigation, Clean air shelters, Risk perception
Background: Canada legalized the use of cannabis for recreational purposes in October 2018. To ensure public health and safety, the Cannabis Act was also introduced by the Government of Canada in 2018. This Act does not permit smoking cannabis in restricted areas. However, people still smoke in public places, thus, exposing the general public to second-hand cannabis smoke (SHCS). As cannabis is an emerging topic and the legalization of cannabis for recreational use is still recent, the long-term health effects of SHCS is unknown. However, the perceived immediate health impacts of SHCS can be examined to better understand its long-term health effects on human body.
Methods: An online survey was conducted, targeting residents of British Columbia (Canada) with differing smoking status, gender, education level and age groups, to determine the differences in perceived immediate health impacts and/or concerns from exposure to SHCS. The survey consisted of sixteen questions divided into three sections, covering demographic information, exposure to SHCS and perceived immediate health impacts and/or concerns about SHCS. The data was analyzed using Chi-square tests.
Results: A total of 159 participants took part in this survey. The results showed no associations between exposure to SCHS and perceived immediate health impacts. This could be due to the legalization of cannabis for recreational use being so recent. However, headaches, coughing, chest tightness and irritation to eyes are a few perceived immediate health impacts experienced by 41 out of 139 participants (30%) after exposure to SHCS. This study also found that age and place of exposure may not affect the likelihood of experiencing perceived immediate health impacts. However, females and cannabis non-users are more likely to experience perceived immediate health impacts compared to males and cannabis users, with p = 0.01 and 000003, respectively.
Conclusion: The findings of this study identified a few perceived immediate health impacts associated with SHCS such as headaches, coughing, chest tightness and eye irritation. However, the study indicates that there is an inadequate scientific knowledge regarding the long-term health effects from exposure to SHCS as well as the variation in health effects among different age groups, gender, smoking status and place of exposure. As a result, precautionary steps should be taken now to minimize its ill-effects in future. The government should provide tools to aide researchers and health care professionals to conduct in-depth research on SHCS and its health effects. Moreover, initiatives should be taken to educate general public about cannabis smoke, its composition, associated health effects and legislation., 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 2020., Public health, Cannabis, Cannabis smoke, Second-hand cannabis smoke, Smoking, Health impact, Environmental health
Background: Between May 2017 and May 2019, 18 Salmonella outbreaks in Canada were linked to raw chicken, resulting in the recall of 13 chicken products. Most of these products contained frozen raw breaded chicken, such as chicken nuggets, chicken fries, and breaded chicken burgers. (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2019) These products are especially risky for consumers because they may appear precooked, resulting in inadequate food safety measures being taken. (Catford, Ganz, & Tamber, 2017). Due to this concern, as of April 1, 2019, all frozen raw breaded chicken product manufacturers are required to follow one of four Salmonella control measures set out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The simplest option for processors is to precook their products to destroy Salmonella bacteria and produce a ready-to-eat product. (Government of Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, & Food Safety and Consumer Protection Directorate, 2019a)
Methods: Data was collected from all frozen chicken products available at 14 retail locations in Metro Vancouver that were randomly selected in previous studies carried out in 2018 and 2019 by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) students. The processing status of the products surveyed in this study (n=466) was compared to those collected in the previous studies done in 2018 and 2019, respectively (n=383; n=415). Other information collected included whether product packaging contained statements of internal temperature, requirements for thermometer use, and additional food safety instructions. Data on these parameters collected in the current study (n=466) were compared to similar data collected in 2008 (n=24) and in 2018 (n=67). Photos were taken of all product labels and relevant data from the photos was compiled in Microsoft Excel. Statistical analyses were done using chi-square tests performed using NCSS 2019 software.
Results: The proportion of surveyed frozen chicken products that were cooked as opposed to raw increased from 38% in 2018 to 41% in 2019 to 69% in 2020. The proportion of products containing statements regarding required internal temperatures increased from 58% in 2008 to 96% in 2018 and then decreased to 86% in 2020. 0%, 4.5%, and 1.7% of products surveyed in 2008, 2018, and 2020, respectively, included an indication to use a food thermometer. 79%, 57%, and 25% of products surveyed in the same years included additional food safety statements.
Conclusions: This study showed that the ratio of cooked to uncooked frozen chicken products available to consumers in the Metro Vancouver area has increased since the CFIA’s Salmonella control measure requirements for frozen breaded chicken manufacturers were implemented in 2019. The 28% and 26% increase since 2018 and 2019, respectively, suggests that many frozen chicken product manufacturers are complying with the CFIA requirements by using a validated cook process to reduce Salmonella in their products. This study also showed that, since 2019, there has been a significant decline in the proportion of frozen chicken products that contain information about internal cooking temperatures and additional food safety information on their packaging., 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 2020., Salmonella control, Frozen chicken, Frozen breaded chicken, Salmonella, Salmonellosis, Foodborne illness, Food safety, Public health, Poultry products, Food recalls, Chicken processors
Background: Water kefir is an up-and-coming beverage similar to kombucha involving the fermentation of water, sugar, fruits, and cultured microorganisms. The fermentation process develops various metabolites including lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and ethanol. These products need to be controlled to prevent unsafe overproduction, particularly of ethanol, as it can be dangerous to consume alcohol unknowingly. This study examined (i) whether water kefir and kombucha beverages are at-risk of containing elevated levels of alcohol, and (ii) the labelling practices of these products.
Methods: 31 samples of water kefir were collected in various markets in Vancouver, British Columbia to be compared to 107 samples of kombucha previously collected by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC). The samples were tested using gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GCMS/D) to determine the concentration of alcohol in each. The data was analyzed using the statistical package NCCS. Two-tailed t-tests assessed differences in alcohol content between the two products, as well as whether kombucha and/or water kefir exceeded the regulatory standard of 1% ABV (alcohol by volume), as set under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.
Results: Based on the collected data, 53% of kombucha samples and 19% of water kefir samples exceeded 1% ABV for ethanol. There was a statistically significant difference in ethanol concentrations between the water kefir and kombucha samples p = 0.00002, power = 100%. More specifically, the kombucha products had a higher alcohol level. Two t-tests compared the kombucha and the water kefir to the standards which resulted in mean kombucha samples being greater than the 1% ABV while mean water kefir samples were less than the 1% ABV regulatory level.
Conclusions: The results indicated that kombucha products had a higher mean alcohol concentration when compared to water kefir samples. However, some samples of water kefir exceeded the 1% ABV level and also lacked an alcohol warning label. Therefore, it is recommended that manufacturers for both kombucha and water kefir products label potential alcohol contents to protect the safety of their consumers – especially vulnerable groups including pregnant women, children, and recovering individuals., 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 2020., Food safety, Water kefir, Kombucha, Ethanol, Fermentation, Public health, Labelling
Background and Purpose: Online food delivery services are third party entities that deliver foods from restaurants to consumers. These services are exploding in popularity around the world. The lack of regulation in this industry creates a scenario for time temperature abuse to occur. This study specifically investigates the efficacy of thermally insulated delivery bags used ubiquitously by these online food services.
Methods: 30 samples of Janes Pub-Style Chicken Nuggets were cooked for 30 minutes to an internal temperature of 74°C. The nuggets were then inserted with a SmartButton temperature data logger. The nuggets were then placed into a High-Density Polyethylene take-out container. The whole set-up was then placed into a Winco Thermally Insulated Delivery Bag for a one hour period. Time and temperature of the chicken nuggets was recorded over a one hour period to reflect realistic delivery times.
Results: A correlation/regression analysis was performed which showed that as the time increased so too did the temperature. Correlational coefficient, r = -0.9363, coefficient of determination, r2 = 0.8766, (p = 0.000). The equation of the line was Temperature = (67.9996) + [(-0.6828) × Time]. Temperature of the chicken nuggets fell below 60°C after 12 minutes in the delivery bag. The median temperature of chicken nuggets after a one hour period was 44.5°C. This was found to be statistically different from the standard of 60°C with a p-value of 0.0000
Conclusion: The median temperature of chicken nuggets after the one hour sampling period did not reach the food safety standard of 60°C. Foods kept at a temperature below 60°C and above 4°C are considered in the temperature danger zone. In this range, pathogenic bacteria grow at their optimal rate. Therefore, it was determined that thermally insulated bags were unable to maintain foods at temperatures hot enough to be considered safe., 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 2020., Winco, Online, Food delivery, Skip the Dishes, Chicken nuggets
Background: Egg yolk parmesan recipes have been gaining popularity since 2015. Most recipes include a heat treatment step which would kill egg-associated pathogens such as salmonella, however a significant number of recipes do not; resulting in a higher risk of salmonella growth and thus higher potential to cause food borne illness.
Methods: Salt-curing affects an intrinsic factor called water activity (Aw). At 0.93 Aw or below salmonella is unable to grow. This study measured the minimum amount of time required for the salt curing process to inhibit the growth of salmonella. To achieve this batches of egg yolk parmesan were made using varying curing durations and then the water activity of the finished product was measured. A one sample t-test statistical analysis was conducted to determine if, with 99% confidence, the water activity of yolks cured for the chosen duration can reliably reduce water activity below 0.93.
Results: The minimum amount of time required for the water activity to decrease below 0.93 was 24 hours. Results were as follows: N = 39; the p-value is 0.0000000 and the power is 1.0000000.
Conclusion: This is strong evidence to suggest that large grade A chicken egg yolks cured in a 74% kosher salt and 26% white granulated sugar mixture for 24 hours at refrigeration temperature will have a water activity below 0.93. Therefore, it can be concluded that curing for 24 hours will inhibit potential salmonella growth., 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 2020., Salt cured egg yolk, Food safety, Salmonella, Salmonellosis, Water activity, pH, Egg yolk parmesan, Cured egg yolk