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 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
With the increasing shift to reusable shopping bags and the potential ban on plastic bags in Canada in the near future, the question arises as to whether consumers are aware of the proper practices to maintain a safe environment within the bags themselves. The reason for this study was to determine if people are aware of the need to keep specific bags for certain food groups and if they are aware of the need to wash and/or sanitize their reusable shopping bags due to the risk of cross-contamination. Usage of the same bag for various foods (e.g. lettuce and raw meat) without proper sanitation practices can lead to cross-contamination between the foods, and in turn, create a risk of food borne illness.
A survey created on Microsoft Office 365 Word was administered through Survey Monkey and distributed on Reddit, various social media, and by email. The survey collection ran for one week in the month of January 2020. The survey consisted of 14 questions and took approximately two to three minutes to complete.
225 respondents filled out the online survey. The majority of survey responses were from British Columbia (47%), were female (54%), attended post-secondary institutions (65%) and were between the ages of 20 to 30 (46%). Nearly half of reusable shopping bag users use the same bag to store their fruits/vegetables and their meats, 61% of users have never cleaned their shopping bags, 7% clean them weekly, and only 1% clean their bag after every use. Those who mix produce and meats in the same bag are less likely to wash their RSBs (p = 0.0006). Males are less likely to wash their shopping bags than females (P = 0.009). 97% of survey respondents were not provided with any cleaning instructions upon their purchase of a reusable shopping bag and 93% have never seen educational material presented on RSB cleaning and/or the risk of cross-contamination. 84% believe there is not appropriate awareness and knowledge among the general public on the cleaning requirements of reusable shopping bags and the potential risk of
cross-contamination while 10% believe there is sufficient awareness. Not surprisingly, those who were not aware that shopping bags need to be cleaned between uses were less likely to wash them (p = 7.804 x10-19).
In conclusion: 1. people who are not aware that their RSBs need to be cleaned between uses are also less likely to clean them, 2. males are less likely to clean their reusable shopping bags, 3. bags that contain both fruits/vegetables and meats in the same bags are also less likely to be cleaned, and 4. bags that are used more frequently also cleaned more frequently. Further education on reusable shopping bags is needed along with the transition from plastic bags to reusable shopping bags. At the time of publication, the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic was rapidly spreading throughout the world. In order to prevent fomite spread of disease, British Columbia forbade the use of RSBs in grocery stores, resulting in a proliferation of plastic bags. Time will tell when, and if, RSBs will be permitted for grocery shopping., 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., RSB, Reusable shopping bags, Shopping bags, Plastic bags, Cross-contamination, FBI
Background: BC residents are prone to natural disasters and emergencies such as earthquakes and prolonged power outage due to severe weather and flooding. To minimize and mitigate the impacts, individuals should prepare in advance for any potential emergencies. There are studies showing only half of the Canadians, in general, are well prepared. Concrete evidence of factors affecting individual’s emergency preparedness are not clear. Therefore, this research study aims to investigate the association between BC residents’ emergency preparedness level and demographic/socio-economic factors.
Methods: Housed on SurveyMonkey, the online self-administered survey was distributed via Facebook and Reddit to survey local BC residents. The survey was posted on sub-groups based on topic-relevance and geographic areas that are located within Lower Mainland. The sampling period is approximately one month, which the results were analyzed by the NCSS program.
Results: Overall, less than half (41%) of the participants reported to have an emergency kit at home. The chi-square test results show that two factors, language (p=0.025) and status of occupancy (p=0.048) are significantly associated with level of emergency preparedness.
Conclusion: There are significant associations between level of emergency preparedness and demographic factors - language barrier and status of occupancy. People who do not use English as their primary language found to be less prepared to those who use English as their primary language. Renters, as compared to homeowners, found to be less prepared as well. This serves as supporting data and evidence to transit these findings to promote emergency readiness among residents in Metro Vancouver., 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., Lower Mainland, Emergency, Emergency preparedness, Disaster, Canadian, Survey, Earthquake
Background: During the fall and winter months, people opt to using cars as a mode of transportation to and from work, school, or recreation. The ease of access, comfort, and efficiency of travel prompt an increase in drivers. Underground lots are ideal parking spaces during these months, which see an increase in traffic and subsequent rise in emissions, specifically carbon monoxide (CO) that can be hazardous to health at certain concentrations. This study is to determine the levels of CO in a confined parking space
Methods: Air quality and composition were determined via passive dosi-tubes that were affixed onto columns within the Langara College underground parking lot in the morning and picked up for analysis in the afternoon.
Results: There is an increase in carbon monoxide concentration within the underground parking lot, during peak hours. Traffic within the lot is found to be higher during poor weather conditions which correlate with ease of use and comfort of driving a car. There is also an increase in traffic on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is likely dictated by class times. Carbon monoxide levels did not fail to meet government regulations during any sampling period.
Conclusions: The air composition in the Langara underground parking lot is safe even during periods of high traffic, for the average person. However, individuals with underlying medical conditions should enter with caution, as the recorded CO levels can aggravate pre-existing cardio-pulmonary diseases., 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., Langara College, Carbon monoxide, Underground parking, Dosi-tube, Car exhaust, Car emissions, Cardio-pulmonary disease
Background: Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are responsible for assessing the risk that food establishments pose to the public through regular inspections. The results of these inspections are then posted online for the public to view in British Columbia (BC). However, cities such as Toronto and New York City, have adopted the use of placards that are visibly placed at each food establishment, as well as posting the results online. The purpose of the placards is to provide a quick method for the public to ascertain the safety of food establishments. The use of placards has been shown to increase the compliance of food operators, as well as play a role in reducing foodborne illnesses. The purpose of this study was to determine if British Columbians would like to have the results of health inspections displayed on a placard in food establishments, in addition to them being posted online.
Methods: An online, self-administered survey was created on SurveyMonkey Canada and distributed to residents of BC through Facebook and Reddit. The survey took approximately five minutes to complete and responses were collected over a nine-day period. The data was then analyzed using NCSS software.
Results: From the 176 respondents, it was determined that approximately 44% of people knew about health inspection reports being posted online in BC, however, only 33% of people have visited health authority websites to view the inspections. 93% of the respondents would like to see a placard system implemented in BC. Furthermore, 72% of respondents would like to see a letter grade ranking of placards as opposed to a more general “Pass”, Conditional Pass” or “Closed” system. Results indicated a statistically significant association between the desire for a placard system and selecting a restaurant to eat at (p=0.000). Whether or not one views an online inspection report had no bearing on whether a placard system was desired. (p = 0.231). There is no association between age of BC residents and the preference for placards in BC (p = 0.618). However, there was an association between the age of respondents and knowledge of online reports of health inspections (p = 0.008), indicating that younger people are less likely to know about online health inspections that older populations.
Conclusion: The results of this research study indicated that residents of BC overwhelmingly support the use of placards. BC residents would also like to see a letter grade placard system implemented. Although BC residents would like to see placards in food establishments, further research is required to assess what food operators, as well as other EHOs, think about implementing a placard system in place in food establishments., 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., Inspection, Environmental health officers, Placards, British Columbia, Food establishments, Food operators