Healthy Public Policy Directorate

Toronto, Canada

Healthy Public Policy Directorate

Toronto, Canada
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Abelsohn A.,University of Toronto | Vanderlinden L.D.,Healthy Environmental | Vanderlinden L.D.,Lana | Scott F.,Lana | And 2 more authors.
Canadian Family Physician | Year: 2011

Objective: To provide family physicians with a practical, evidence-based approach to counseling women about healthy fish eating. Sources of information: MEDLINE was searched for articles published between 1999 and 2008. Most studies described in this article provide level II or III evidence. Main message: Fish is an important component of a healthy diet for women in their reproductive years owing to the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the neurologic development of the fetus. However, some fish species contain considerable methylmercury, which crosses the placenta and has harmful effects on neurobehavioural development. As many jurisdictions have issued fish consumption advisories, which can be confusing, women would benefit from individualized assistance from a trusted source, their family physicians, to clarify the risks and benefits of eating fish. Conclusion: We recommend that family physicians counsel women in their reproductive years about healthy choices regarding fish in their diet, and provide appropriate resources.


Hau M.,Toronto Public Health | Hau M.,University of Toronto | Cole D.,University of Toronto | Vanderlinden L.,University of Toronto | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health | Year: 2014

Purpose: The precautionary principle (PP) urges actions to prevent harm even in the face of scientific uncertainty. Members of Toronto Public Health (TPH) sought guidance on applying precaution. Methods: We searched five bibliographic databases (yield 60 articles from 1996 to 2009 and 8 from 2009 to 2011) and Google (yield 11 gray literature sources) for material relevant to local public health. From these sources, we extracted questions until saturation was reached (n555). We applied these questions retrospectively to eight case studies where TPH felt precaution was applied. We ranked questions for their importance in applying precaution. Results: Our final guide included 35 questions in five domains: context, assessment, alternative interventions, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Importance rankings varied across cases, but the role of stakeholders in driving precautionary action was consistent. Monitoring and evaluation components could have been strengthened across cases. Conclusion: The TPH guide can assist municipal environmental health practitioners in applying precaution in a more transparent manner. © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2014.

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