The Portal brings together a broad selection of resources from all six of the National Collaborating Centres (NCCs). Search for resources by clicking on NCC, Type, Topic and Core Competency.
Please note: the Portal is not exhaustive and not all resources are indexed by PHAC Core Competency.
Primary inquiry: In Canada, as in many other countries, cemeteries are required to be setback a certain distance from waterbodies to protect drinking water sources from contaminated liquids that can arise from the decomposition of bodies after burial. What is recommended as a safe setback distance? What is the rationale for the setback distances used throughout Canada?Read More
Primary inquiry: Small horticulture growers have been watering their crops with surface water containing a cyanobacterial bloom, before selling their crops at local markets. 1. Can irrigation of food crops using surface water affected by cyanobacteria blooms result in bioaccumulation of cyanotoxins in these crops? 2. Can cyanotoxins bioaccumulate to a concentration that might cause a public health concern? Please note: The information provided here is for the purpose of addressing a specific inquiry and is not subjected to external review. The information offered does not supersede federal, provincial, or local guidance or regulationsRead More
Splash parks, also known as splash pads, spray parks, or wet decks, have gained in popularity over the last decade. These interactive parks are artificially created depressions or basins into which water is sprayed, splashed or poured onto visitors; water is not permitted to accumulate, but instead drains immediately out of the play area. Splash parks may take one of two basic designs, which influences the associated public health risks. Non-recirculating or flow-through parks discharge the water directly to waste and present a relatively low risk to their users as the design is based on using fresh potable water. In contrast, recirculating parks collect water in an underground tank, apply some form of water treatment, and re-use the water again. This presents an increased risk of contamination and disease transmission that can be mitigated through proper design and operation.
The objective of this document is to identify risks to public health posed by splash parks, the factors that contribute to this risk, outline practices that can mitigate these risks, and summarize the existing regulatory environment for these facilities. It focuses on epidemiological risks rather than physical hazards such as slip and fall injuries, heat stroke, and foot lacerations.
What are cyanobacteria? Are cyanoblooms preventable? Who is at risk and how does exposure occur? Is there testing for cyanotoxins? This NCCEH document provides a brief outline of these key questions related to cyanobacteria and the toxins they produce.Read More
Evaluating the Carbon Monoxide Monitoring and Response Framework in Long-term Care Facilities: A Brief Guide
This guide is intended for public health practitioners, facility/property maintenance managers, risk managers, occupational hygienists, clinicians, or other persons working at long-term care facilities (residential care facilities, nursing homes, seniors’ residences, care occupancies, etc.)Read More
Over the past 40 years, artificial turf has become common in public and private settings. Compared to natural turf, artificial turf is easier to maintain, requires less water and no fertilizer, and provides a year-round access to playing surfaces. This is presumed to have important public health benefits by promoting physical activity and access to recreational space, although detailed research into benefits is lacking. However, artificial turf has potential drawbacks that range from environmental risks (e.g., chemical leaching to waterways), physical hazards (e.g., heat exposure and increased rates of injury), and finally toxicological hazards. Public risk perception around artificial turf has been amplified by a recent documentary claiming to have found an increased incidence of cancer among young adults playing soccer on artificial turf. As a result of this widespread use and growing public concern, public health agencies are frequently asked to weigh the risks and benefits of artificial turf facilities. However, this is challenging given that relatively few studies addressed artificial turf health impacts. Furthermore, data on the presence or release of certain toxic compounds is often discussed without reference to exposure scenarios. The aim of this document is to facilitate public health decision-making by discussing the strengths and limitations of the methods used to study the chemical risks of artificial turf, and how these studies contribute to our developing understanding of artificial turf health risks.Read More
Guide for Implementing the Carbon Monoxide Monitoring and Response Framework in Long-term Care Facilities
This guide is intended for public health practitioners, facility/property maintenance managers, risk managers, occupational hygienists, clinicians, or other persons working at long-term care facilities (residential care facilities, nursing homes, seniors’ residences, care occupancies, etc.) who would like to implement a program to reduce the risk of indoor carbon monoxide (CO) exposure to residents and staff. This document provides an overview of the Carbon Monoxide Monitoring and Response Framework (the “Framework”), the rationale for implementation in long-term care facilities, recommended steps for implementation, and sample resources. The information in this document should be adapted to suit the user’s context and resources within their organization.Read More
Floatation refers to a meditative activity in which users float in a high-density Epsom salt solution in a dark, quiet environment. Because float tanks are distinct from swimming pools and other recreational water, questions have been raised regarding the need for and efficacy of various disinfection methods. Although direct evidence is lacking, pathogen kill assays and field studies from recreational water suggest the need for caution regarding H2O2+UV as a disinfection method. Float tanks do not appear to be risky in and of themselves; further research on floatation tanks under normal and worst-case operating conditions will help to inform best practices.Read More
Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) and Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) across Canada have different responsibilities, policies, and guidelines when it comes to investigating public inquiries about mould in indoor environments. Some PHIs/EHOs conduct initial walkthroughs only, some conduct comprehensive investigations, and others educate the public about next steps without conducting any field evaluation themselves. This toolkit provides PHIs and EHOs with some of the tools for evaluating indoor environments for mould (and other microorganisms), providing information, conducting walkthrough investigations, and understanding laboratory and consultant reports that they may be asked to review. This toolkit is meant to be a living document as new information becomes available and new tools are discovered or created. It is the NCCEH’s intention to enlist the help of PHIs, EHOs, and content experts to keep this toolkit current and useful.Read More