Sanitation and the Environment – Poisoning, Toxicology&Environmental Health Example

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"Sanitation and the Environment" is a brilliant example of a paper on poisoning, toxicology, and environmental health. RECREATIONAL WATER ILLNESSES  Recreational  water illnesses are diseases that result from  swallowing or  having  body contact with contaminated swimming pools or ocean water.   Water contamination is  mostly associated with fecal coliform or Enterococcus bacteria  that are  found in warmblood animals’ intestines like  seagulls, wildlife, and human beings.   These  bacteria  can find their way into the water in various ways, for example, direct deposit, sewer leakage, stormwater runoff, or improper disposal of diapers and boat waste  (Armitage, 1999). On this note, the public health department routinely screens the beach water for these germs and gives recommendations or closes the beach temporally.

As a health inspector am required to sample beach water after a storm and advice the public  accordingly  as well as  determine whether to close the beach or not.   Direct contact or swallowing  contaminated water  accidentally,   may result in stomach-aches, fever, headache, sore throat, skin infection, wound infection, eye, ear and respiratory infections or diarrhea  (“ Minnesota beaches, ” 2012).   Most of these water-borne illnesses are caused by pathogens found in feces of animals and human  beings; it  is costly and  impossible  to directly test for pathogens because they generally exist at low levels.

Therefore,   a public health inspector looks  for indicator species like fecal coliform or Enterococcus bacteria whose presence indicates fecal contamination.   The  inspection process involves clean water sampling of at least five samples in 30 days, laboratory analyses, and data entry, information discloser, and  the  inspector's  recommendations.   CHALLENGES IN MONITORING AND MANAGING BEACH WATER  Armitage  (1999) says that,   despite  the health department’ s effort to protect the public from exposure to contaminated  water, there are  several  challenges  it faces. The first one is  lateness in communicating the analysis results. This is contributed by the current  microbial  testing methods used in the pathogen  analysis,   where the  pathogens require an incubation period of about 24hours or more to be detected.   In the  meantime, swimmers and  the entire public is under  threat of a potential pathogen.     The second one is that  microbial tests are only fecal contamination based,   although not all the pathogens that would cause illness to originate  from feces, making the methods less accurate.   This means that although the water may  be  found to be free from fecal bacteria, it still has the potential to cause harm to the public.   TYPE OF WARNING INFORMATION  To mitigate  this  it is the responsibility of the health inspector under the public health policies of general practice,   to warn the public through communicating different warning information.   The  first safety warning would  be  to alert the public in  checking  the advisory  green monitored sign,   that shows  when the beach was  monitored  and the bacteria levels found before swimming.

The second would be to  advocate  the importance of avoiding swimming  after a storm  for approximately 24 hours.   The third  warning  would be to  ensure  showering  immediately after swimming on the beach. The fourth would be trying to avoid  swallowing  water by ensuring your head is  always  out of the water  while swimming. Finally,   avoid swimming if you have a skin condition or you have a weak immune system  (“ Minnesota beaches, ”   2012)    In conclusion,   the  validity and accuracy of current microbial tests are  not  effective. This is  because it only tests for  one or a maximum of two pathogens.

Also, this method of analysis is not timely in the delivery of results.     Therefore, the public health department should improve the test  method  into  a more efficient method such as  dipstick color change which  detects  fecal contamination  immediately.   The health public department would also consider using the media and internet in passing information about  beach  water contamination  analysis  to the public.      

References

Armitage, T, M,(1999). EPA Action Plan for Beaches and Recreational Waters. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/ORD/htm/documents/600r98079.pdf

n.a. (2012).Minnesota beaches. Retrieved from http://www.mnbeaches.org/general/faq.html

n.a. (2007). Recreational Water Illness Information. Retrived from http://cchd.cortland-co.org/pdfs/evh/programs/operators/pools/illnesses.pdf

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