Environmental Health & Engineering Inc.

Needham, MA, United States

Environmental Health & Engineering Inc.

Needham, MA, United States
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News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

The extent of food waste in America is a cause for serious concern. It is estimated that around 1,217 calories per person per day are squandered. A new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics looks beyond the caloric value of food waste and focuses on the nutritional value of the food we throw away. Investigators found that discarded food contains large amounts of key nutrients like vitamin D, fiber, and potassium that could help people get the food they need to meet their daily recommended intake. In 2014, 14% of American households suffered from food insecurity and an additional 5% experienced a shortage of resources that forced them to skip meals or reduce their food consumption. Across the population, Americans are not getting the recommended intakes of certain nutrients including dietary fiber; calcium; potassium; and vitamins A, C, D, and E. At the same time, Americans continue to waste food at an alarming rate throughout the food supply chain. It's estimated that 31-40% of the post-harvest food supply is discarded. This study was the first to demonstrate the substantial amount of nutrients, including many under-consumed nutrients, wasted due to food discarded at the retail and consumer levels of the U.S. food supply. Quantifying the loss can motivate related investments and support the case for registered dietitian nutritionist engagement with these efforts. The estimates can additionally serve as a baseline for tracking intervention impacts. Data from the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference were used to calculate the nutritional value of retail and consumer level waste of 213 commodities in the USDA Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data series for 27 nutrients in 2012. The study, led by Roni A. Neff, PhD, Program Director at the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future (CLF), and Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health & Engineering, and Marie L. Spiker, MSPH, RD, CLF-Lerner Fellow and Doctoral Candidate, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that losses of under-consumed nutrients were significant. Food wasted at the retail and consumer levels of the U.S. food supply in 2012 contained 1,217 kcal, 33 g protein, 5.9 g dietary fiber, 1.7 mcg vitamin D, 286 mg calcium, and 880 mg potassium per capita per day. Using dietary fiber as an example, 5.9 g dietary fiber is 23% of the RDA for women. This is equivalent to the fiber RDA for 74 million adult women. Adult women in 2012 under-consumed dietary fiber by 8.9 g per day, and the amount of wasted fiber is equivalent to this gap for 206.6 million adult women. Data points like this highlight the need for diverse interventions including standardized date labeling (use by, sell by) and consumer education, so that people can utilize the nutrients instead of throwing them in the trash can. According to the authors, perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables are lost at particularly high rates, leading to exceptional losses of under-consumed nutrients. Changes to our food system can reduce agricultural and pre-consumer waste, and play an important role in shaping the amount of food consumers discard. Cultural shifts are also needed to change consumer and industry attitudes. Even if only the top seven most cost-effective food recovery activities were scaled up and only an additional 1.75% of food waste was recovered, this would translate into 2,000 calories per day for 3.3 million adults. "Although only a portion of discarded food can realistically be made available for human consumption, efforts to redistribute surplus foods where appropriate and prevent food waste in the first place could increase the availability of nutrients for Americans, while saving money and natural resources," concluded the authors. "The U.S. has established a target of halving food loss and waste by 2030. This research supports the case for action and for registered dietitian nutritionists to bring their expertise to the effort."


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Discarded food contains a significant amount of nutrients that could be used to help many Americans meet daily requirements, according to a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Philadelphia, PA, May 15, 2017 -- The extent of food waste in America is a cause for serious concern. It is estimated that around 1,217 calories per person per day are squandered. A new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics looks beyond the caloric value of food waste and focuses on the nutritional value of the food we throw away. Investigators found that discarded food contains large amounts of key nutrients like vitamin D, fiber, and potassium that could help people get the food they need to meet their daily recommended intake. In 2014, 14% of American households suffered from food insecurity and an additional 5% experienced a shortage of resources that forced them to skip meals or reduce their food consumption. Across the population, Americans are not getting the recommended intakes of certain nutrients including dietary fiber; calcium; potassium; and vitamins A, C, D, and E. At the same time, Americans continue to waste food at an alarming rate throughout the food supply chain. It's estimated that 31-40% of the post-harvest food supply is discarded. This study was the first to demonstrate the substantial amount of nutrients, including many under-consumed nutrients, wasted due to food discarded at the retail and consumer levels of the U.S. food supply. Quantifying the loss can motivate related investments and support the case for registered dietitian nutritionist engagement with these efforts. The estimates can additionally serve as a baseline for tracking intervention impacts. Data from the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference were used to calculate the nutritional value of retail and consumer level waste of 213 commodities in the USDA Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data series for 27 nutrients in 2012. The study, led by Roni A. Neff, PhD, Program Director at the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future (CLF), and Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health & Engineering, and Marie L. Spiker, MSPH, RD, CLF-Lerner Fellow and Doctoral Candidate, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that losses of under-consumed nutrients were significant. Food wasted at the retail and consumer levels of the U.S. food supply in 2012 contained 1,217 kcal, 33 g protein, 5.9 g dietary fiber, 1.7 mcg vitamin D, 286 mg calcium, and 880 mg potassium per capita per day. Using dietary fiber as an example, 5.9 g dietary fiber is 23% of the RDA for women. This is equivalent to the fiber RDA for 74 million adult women. Adult women in 2012 under-consumed dietary fiber by 8.9 g per day, and the amount of wasted fiber is equivalent to this gap for 206.6 million adult women. Data points like this highlight the need for diverse interventions including standardized date labeling (use by, sell by) and consumer education, so that people can utilize the nutrients instead of throwing them in the trash can. According to the authors, perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables are lost at particularly high rates, leading to exceptional losses of under-consumed nutrients. Changes to our food system can reduce agricultural and pre-consumer waste, and play an important role in shaping the amount of food consumers discard. Cultural shifts are also needed to change consumer and industry attitudes. Even if only the top seven most cost-effective food recovery activities were scaled up and only an additional 1.75% of food waste was recovered, this would translate into 2,000 calories per day for 3.3 million adults. "Although only a portion of discarded food can realistically be made available for human consumption, efforts to redistribute surplus foods where appropriate and prevent food waste in the first place could increase the availability of nutrients for Americans, while saving money and natural resources," concluded the authors. "The U.S. has established a target of halving food loss and waste by 2030. This research supports the case for action and for registered dietitian nutritionists to bring their expertise to the effort."


Brown K.W.,Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. | Minegishi T.,Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. | Cummiskey C.C.,Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. | Fragala M.A.,Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research | Year: 2015

Growing awareness of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in legacy caulk and other construction materials of schools has created a need for information on best practices to control human exposures and comply with applicable regulations. A concise review of approaches and techniques for management of building-related PCBs is the focus of this paper. Engineering and administrative controls that block pathways of PCB transport, dilute concentrations of PCBs in indoor air or other exposure media, or establish uses of building space that mitigate exposure can be effective initial responses to identification of PCBs in a building. Mitigation measures also provide time for school officials to plan a longer-term remediation strategy and to secure the necessary resources. These longer-term strategies typically involve removal of caulk or other primary sources of PCBs as well as nearby masonry or other materials contaminated with PCBs by the primary sources. The costs of managing PCB-containing building materials from assessment through ultimate disposal can be substantial. Optimizing the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of remediation programs requires aligning a thorough understanding of sources and exposure pathways with the most appropriate mitigation and abatement methods. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


PubMed | Strategic Environmental Services Inc. and Environmental Health & Engineering Inc.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science and pollution research international | Year: 2016

Growing awareness of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in legacy caulk and other construction materials of schools has created a need for information on best practices to control human exposures and comply with applicable regulations. A concise review of approaches and techniques for management of building-related PCBs is the focus of this paper. Engineering and administrative controls that block pathways of PCB transport, dilute concentrations of PCBs in indoor air or other exposure media, or establish uses of building space that mitigate exposure can be effective initial responses to identification of PCBs in a building. Mitigation measures also provide time for school officials to plan a longer-term remediation strategy and to secure the necessary resources. These longer-term strategies typically involve removal of caulk or other primary sources of PCBs as well as nearby masonry or other materials contaminated with PCBs by the primary sources. The costs of managing PCB-containing building materials from assessment through ultimate disposal can be substantial. Optimizing the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of remediation programs requires aligning a thorough understanding of sources and exposure pathways with the most appropriate mitigation and abatement methods.


Dourson M.L.,University of Cincinnati | Chinkin L.R.,Sonoma Technology Inc | MacIntosh D.L.,Environmental Health & Engineering Inc | Finn J.A.,Environmental Health & Engineering Inc | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association | Year: 2016

Petroleum coke or “petcoke” is a solid material created during petroleum refinement and is distributed via transfer facilities that may be located in densely populated areas. The health impacts from petcoke exposure to residents living in proximity to such facilities were evaluated for a petcoke transfer facilities located in Chicago, Illinois. Site-specific, margin of safety (MOS) and margin of exposure (MOE) analyses were conducted using estimated airborne and dermal exposures. The exposure assessment was based on a combined measurement and modeling program that included multiyear on-site air monitoring, air dispersion modeling, and analyses of soil and surfaces in residential areas adjacent to two petcoke transfer facilities located in industrial areas. Airborne particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10) were used as a marker for petcoke. Based on daily fence line monitoring, the average daily PM10 concentration at the KCBX Terminals measured on-site was 32 μg/m3, with 89% of 24-hr average PM10 concentrations below 50 μg/m3 and 99% below 100 μg/m3. A dispersion model estimated that the emission sources at the KCBX Terminals produced peak PM10 levels attributed to the petcoke facility at the most highly impacted residence of 11 μg/m3 on an annual average basis and 54 μg/m3 on 24-hr average basis. Chemical indicators of petcoke in soil and surface samples collected from residential neighborhoods adjacent to the facilities were equivalent to levels in corresponding samples collected at reference locations elsewhere in Chicago, a finding that is consistent with limited potential for off-site exposure indicated by the fence line monitoring and air dispersion modeling. The MOE based upon dispersion model estimates ranged from 800 to 900 for potential inhalation, the primary route of concern for particulate matter. This indicates a low likelihood of adverse health effects in the surrounding community.Implications: Handling of petroleum coke at bulk material transfer facilities has been identified as a concern for the public health of surrounding populations. The current assessment, based on measurements and modeling of two facilities located in a densely populated urban area, indicates that petcoke transport and accumulation in off-site locations is minimal. In addition, estimated human exposures, if any, are well below levels that could be anticipated to produce adverse health effects in the general population. © Michael L. Dourson, Lyle R. Chinkin, David L. MacIntosh, Jennifer A. Finn, Kathleen W. Brown, Stephen B. Reid, and Jeanelle M. Martinez.


PubMed | Environmental Health & Engineering Inc.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of asthma : official journal of the Association for the Care of Asthma | Year: 2014

Many interventions to reduce allergen levels in the home are recommended to asthma and allergy patients. One that is readily available and can be highly effective is the use of high performing filters in forced air ventilation systems.We conducted a modeling analysis of the effectiveness of filter-based interventions in the home to reduce airborne asthma and allergy triggers. This work used each pass removal efficiency applied to health-relevant size fractions of particles to assess filter performance. We assessed effectiveness for key allergy and asthma triggers based on applicable particle sizes for cat allergen, indoor and outdoor sources of particles <2.5m in diameter (PM2.5), and airborne influenza and rhinovirus.Our analysis finds that higher performing filters can have significant impacts on indoor particle pollutant levels. Filters with removal efficiencies of >70% for cat dander particles, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and respiratory virus can lower concentrations of those asthma triggers and allergens in indoor air of the home by >50%. Very high removal efficiency filters, such as those rated a 16 on the nationally recognized Minimum Efficiency Removal Value (MERV) rating system, tend to be only marginally more effective than MERV12 or 13 rated filters.The results of this analysis indicate that use of a MERV12 or higher performing air filter in home ventilation systems can effectively reduce indoor levels of these common asthma and allergy triggers. These reductions in airborne allergens in turn may help reduce allergy and asthma symptoms, especially if employed in conjunction with other environmental management measures recommended for allergy and asthma patients.


PubMed | Environmental Health & Engineering Inc
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of occupational and environmental medicine | Year: 2011

To assess the effect of fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)) from different particle sources on tumor necrosis factor- (TNF-) , we measured TNF production from rat alveolar macrophages (AM) and human dendritic cells (DC) exposed to PM(2.5) from different sources.Fire-related PM(2.5) samples, rural ambient, and urban indoor and outdoor samples were collected in the Southeast United States. Tumor necrosis factor release was measured from rat AM and human DC following incubation with PM(2.5).Tumor necrosis factor release in AMs was greatest for fire-related PM(2.5) compared with other samples (TNF: P value = 0.005; mortality: P value = 0.005). Tumor necrosis factor releases from the DCs and AMs exposed to fire-associated PM(2.5) were strongly correlated (r = 0.87, P value < 0.0001).Particulate matter exposure produces TNF release consistent with pulmonary inflammation in rat AMs and human DCs, with the response in rat AMs differing by particle source.


PubMed | Environmental Health & Engineering Inc
Type: | Journal: Environmental health : a global access science source | Year: 2012

Sealants and other building materials sold in the U.S. from 1958 - 1971 were commonly manufactured with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at percent quantities by weight. Volatilization of PCBs from construction materials has been reported to produce PCB levels in indoor air that exceed health protective guideline values. The discovery of PCBs in indoor air of schools can produce numerous complications including disruption of normal operations and potential risks to health. Understanding the dynamics of building-related PCBs in indoor air is needed to identify effective strategies for managing potential exposures and risks. This paper reports on the efficacy of selected engineering controls implemented to mitigate concentrations of PCBs in indoor air.Three interventions (ventilation, contact encapsulation, and physical barriers) were evaluated in an elementary school with PCB-containing caulk and elevated PCB concentrations in indoor air. Fluorescent light ballasts did not contain PCBs. Following implementation of the final intervention, measurements obtained over 14 months were used to assess the efficacy of the mitigation methods over time as well as temporal variability of PCBs in indoor air.Controlling for air exchange rates and temperature, the interventions produced statistically significant (p < 0.05) reductions in concentrations of PCBs in indoor air of the school. The mitigation measures remained effective over the course of the entire follow-up period. After all interventions were implemented, PCB levels in indoor air were associated with indoor temperature. In a broken-stick regression model with a node at 20 C, temperature explained 79% of the variability of indoor PCB concentrations over time (p < 0.001).Increasing outdoor air ventilation, encapsulating caulk, and constructing a physical barrier over the encapsulated material were shown to be effective at reducing exposure concentrations of PCBs in indoor air of a school and also preventing direct contact with PCB caulk. In-place management methods such as these avoid the disruption and higher costs of demolition, disposal and reconstruction required when PCB-containing building materials are removed from a school. Because of the influence of temperature on indoor air PCB levels, risk assessment results based on short-term measurements, e.g., a single day or season, may be erroneous and could lead to sub-optimal allocation of resources.


PubMed | Environmental Health & Engineering Inc.
Type: Evaluation Studies | Journal: American journal of infection control | Year: 2012

Elevated percent positivity (30%) of Legionella in hospital domestic water systems has been suggested as a metric for assessing the risk of health care-acquired Legionnaires disease (LD).We examined the validity of this metric by analyzing data from peer-reviewed studies containing reports of Legionella prevalence in hospital water (ie, percent positivity) and temporally matched reports of patients with health care-acquired LD.Our literature review identified 31 peer-reviewed publications reporting matched data. We abstracted a total of 206 data points, representing 119 hospitals, from these articles. We determined that the proposed 30% positivity metric has 59% sensitivity and 74% specificity (ie, a 41% false-negative rate and a 26% false-positive rate). These notable error rates could have significant implications, given that we identified 16 peer-reviewed articles and 6 government guidance documents that referenced the 30% positivity metric as a risk assessment tool.Environmental sampling of hospital water distribution systems for Legionella can be an important component of risk management for LD. However, the possible consequence of using a percent positivity metric with low sensitivity and specificity is that many hospitals might fail to mitigate when a true risk is present, or might unnecessarily allocate limited resources to deal with a negligible risk.


PubMed | Environmental Health & Engineering Inc.
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2012

In December 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) began receiving reports about odors, corrosion, and health concerns related to drywall originating from China. In response, a detailed environmental health and engineering evaluation was conducted of 41 complaint and 10 non-complaint homes in the Southeast U.S. Each home investigation included characterization of: 1) drywall composition; 2) indoor and outdoor air quality; 3) temperature, moisture, and building ventilation; and 4) copper and silver corrosion rates. Complaint homes had significantly higher hydrogen sulfide concentrations (mean 0.82 vs.

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