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: Globally 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year equating to approximately 750 billion US dollars (1). In Canada it has been estimated that $31 billion of food is wasted annually (2). This amount can easily be used to feed hundreds of thousands of undernourished people across the world. Food wastage can occur at every level of the food supply chain. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the food waste generated by residents of British Columbia, Canada. The study aimed to identify the general knowledge regarding food waste and ugly produce, the attitudes of the public towards food waste, and the general practices of waste disposal.
Methods: A self-administered electronic survey created on Survey Monkey Canada was distributed on various social media platforms over a two-week period in January 2020. The survey contained questions that resulted in a score for knowledge of food waste, attitude towards food waste and the waste reduction practices of British Columbian residents. Chi square and correlational analyses were performed using the statistical package NCSS.
Results: 96 respondents met the inclusion criteria and completed the survey. Many participants received a medium score for knowledge (N=67) and possessed a positive attitude (N=71) towards food waste. There was an even distribution between good and fair practice level (N=49 and N=46). There was no association between level of food waste knowledge and demographic categories except for age (p=0.025). Younger participants were less knowledgeable. Between practice and demographic variables, no statistically significant associations were found. The results for attitude were determined to be non-statistically significant for age, gender and experience working in the food industry while there was a statistically significant association between attitude and an individual’s education level (p = 0.008). Those with higher levels of education had a more positive attitude. No correlation was determined between knowledge and practice indicating that there is no influence of knowledge on practice and vice versa. The study found that there is a positive correlation (p = 0.0004 and r = 0.3542) between attitude and practice indicating that these two variables influence each other.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the population in B.C. who responded to the survey has adequate knowledge, a positive attitude and moderate practice behaviours regarding food waste. Younger individuals were less knowledgeable about food waste and the more educated one is, the more positive their attitude towards food is. The study also indicated that positive attitudes translated into better practice. These results are only a starting point in determining the causes for food loss and waste in B.C as it reveals the need for more local initiatives to bring everyone to start adopting food waste reduction strategies., 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., Environmental health, Food waste, Ugly produce, Environment, Greenhouse gases
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
Background: Vaping and e-cigarettes have been an epidemic among youths in recent years. In addition, as of April 2020, there has been hundreds of vaping related illnesses causing fatalities. As such there has been increased coverage by media and the government in regard to reporting vaping-related dangers and implementing regulatory changes such as bans. These actions could deter the target population from engaging in vaping – tobacco users. Research has shown that e-cigarettes are significantly less toxic relative to tobacco and that it could be more effective as a cessation treatment relative to nicotine gums or patches. This study surveyed current perceptions of Canadians with regards to vaping in order to determine if certain groups (i.e. varying ages, smoking status) hold different opinions in terms of harm, health benefits, and support for stricter e-cigarette regulations.
Methods: Self-administered online surveys created on Survey Monkey were distributed to Canadians via online platforms Reddit and Facebook. The survey assessed opinions and perceptions of Canadians through multiple choice questions and were collected over a three week period. Results: This study received 157 respondents the majority of which were under 35 (73.08%) and from British Columbia (65.38%). Thirteen chi-square tests were performed comparing group variables (age, smoking status, and awareness of vaping related news) to perception variables (perceived harm, health benefits, safety). There was no association found between age and the tested perception variables. Several associations were found where e-cigarette users viewed e-cigarettes more favourably relative to tobacco users and non-users based on chi-square results. Chi-square associations between media awareness and harm perceptions could not be established due to a small sample size (n< 30).
Conclusion: The results indicated that there are associations with e-cigarette perceptions and a person’s smoking status. This may be an indication that there is possible misinformation between groups when it comes to evaluating objective health effects of e-cigarettes. Non-users and a percentage of tobacco users seem to overstate, 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., Harm, E-cigarettes, Vaping, Perceptions, Beliefs
Background: Thiabendazole is a pesticide that is mainly used after harvesting and directly applied to
produce such as citrus fruits, apples, pears, bananas, mangos, corn, carrots and potatoes in the form of a
spray or dip. The most common and most likely route of exposure to pesticide for the average person is
through their diet. Studies have shown that the health risk of regular consumption of pesticide residue
through produce is linked with disruption to various functions in the body, such as reproductive,
developmental and hormone irregularity. The following study tests whether fruits and vegetables sold at
farmers markets contain Thiabendazole and if they are below the acceptable Maximum Residue Limits
(MRLs) set by Health Canada.
Methods: A QuEChERS method and solid phase extraction was used to recover Thiabendazole from
various fruits and vegetables. The gas chromatography was used to analyze all samples and a calibration
curve was produced to identify the concentration of Thiabendazole.
Results: Thiabendazole was detected in all of the citrus fruit samples, but was below detectable limits for
all other fruits and vegetables. All Thiabendazole levels were below the Maximum Residue Level allowed
by Health Canada.
Conclusion: The various fruits and vegetables analyzed are all below the MRL, with only the citrus fruits
having detectable concentrations. However, since the citrus fruits were imported, further studies are
required on different pesticide compounds to determine if locally grown produce meet the MRL for other
pesticide compounds., 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., Farmers markets, Pesticides, Pesticide residues, Thiabendazole, Fruits and vegetables