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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.

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Food Deserts and Food Swamps: A Primer

Our food environments, which include the food that is available to us in our day-to-day environments, is a determinant of what we eat as individuals.

This document is intended for environmental public health professionals, including medical health officers and public health inspectors, as well as other public health professionals such as public health dietitians and health promoters, whose work may include healthy built environments or healthy communities. The document introduces food environments such as food deserts and food swamps, discusses the related health implications, provides the rationale for consideration by non-nutrition professionals, and highlights some opportunities for action and collaboration with provincial and municipal governments, as well as business operators.

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Growing at Home: Health and Safety Concerns for Personal Cannabis Cultivation

Personal cultivation as described by the proposed Cannabis Act (2017) will permit adults to cultivate up to four cannabis plants per household. This provision is intended to both promote equity by facilitating access to legal cannabis, particularly when retail outlets are difficult to access, and to undercut the black market. However, indoor cultivation and processing of cannabis may also introduce or exacerbate certain environmental health risks in the home. This document identifies health and safety concerns that may be relevant to personal cultivation after legalization – that is, legal home growing and the associated health risks.

Although this information may be of relevance to the public at large, the evidence presented here has been synthesized and organized for policy- and decision-makers, environmental and medical health officers, and other public health professionals. This review thus serves as a launching point for considering both wide-scale and regionally oriented preventive actions to mitigate the environmental health risks that may arise from growing at home.

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Identifying and Addressing the Public Health Risks of Splash Parks

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.

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Float Tanks: Considerations for Environmental Public Health

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.

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