Home and Garden Tips for Fall

For home gardeners, late summer brings a happy burst of activity around the fruits—and vegetables—of their labor. Many gardeners can and store foods to prolong the enjoyment of their home-grown staples. Some are preparing the garden for a fall crop, benefiting from the last of the mild weather.

At this time of the year, it may be helpful to know about a handy product that can increase the success and enjoyment of the backyard, the garden and its bounty. Dilute chlorine bleach solutions can be used judiciously to help destroy harmful microorganisms on surfaces. Bleach is a great example of “chemistry in a bottle.”

Preventing Foodborne Illness: Destroying Raw Food Pathogens on Surfaces and by Cooking

One of the most challenging aspects of cooking is safely handling raw foods. Uncooked and undercooked foods can transfer pathogens to every surface they contact, including cooks’ hands. With no way of knowing whether a given raw food harbors pathogens, cooks must assume all raw foods do. That is the reason, for example, we never return cooked meats to the platter upon which they were delivered, raw, to the backyard grill.

Hepatitis A Prevention: Free Cleanup and Disinfection Posters

Recent multistate outbreaks of hepatitis A among homeless populations and their contacts prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue an official Health Advisory in June 2018. The advisory provides guidance on hepatitis A infection to employees in health departments, healthcare facilities, and programs providing services to vulnerable populations. Several months before the advisory was issued, I was part of a collaborative group to develop a set of “pictogram posters” that communicate how to use chlorine bleach solutions to disinfect surfaces against the hepatitis A virus.

A Consumer’s Guide to Monitoring and Preventing Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

News of recent foodborne illness outbreaks from purchased pre-cut melon, shell eggs, romaine lettuce and even breakfast cereal reminds us that although the US food supply is one of the safest in the world, food-related risks still exist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized,

Spreading Viruses in the Grocery Store via Reusable Grocery Bags

Reusable grocery bags (let’s call them “RGBs”) are a common commodity these days. I use them regularly and machine-wash them periodically with bleach, when possible, to keep them clean and sanitized. Using RGBs involves a degree of extra effort, not the least of which is remembering to take them to the grocery store, but I

Good Hand Hygiene Reduces the Spread of Beach Bacteria

Good hand hygiene, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the single most important thing we can do to reduce the spread of bacteria and infectious illness. With that in mind, what happens to hand hygiene at the beach? A day at the beach usually includes hand contact with sunscreen, sand

How to Avoid Getting Sick on a Plane: An Air Traveler’s Guide

We’re flying more than ever. The US Department of Transportation reported US and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 965 million domestic and international passengers in 2017. Airlines do a very good job of delivering us to our destinations, but what are the risks of our contracting an infectious illness

An Engineer’s Mission to Combat Mold and Disease Transmission in Puerto Rico

Hurricanes Irma and Maria, now distant memories for most Americans, remain top of mind for Puerto Ricans who are still laboring to recover from those historic storms. As an engineer-volunteer for Water Engineers for the Americas (WEFTA), I traveled with my 13-year old daughter, Kati, to Puerto Rico this spring to lend a helping hand.

Antimicrobial Resistance: Stopping “Nightmare Bacteria” in their Tracks

“Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental threat to human health, development and security,” stated Dr. Margaret Chan, former director-general of the World Health Organization at a UN meeting of world leaders in 2016. The issue remains a significant concern in both developed and developing countries in 2018. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Household Disinfection 101

Spring cleaning time is here again and many penny-wise consumers are choosing to mix their own cleaning and disinfecting solutions to help stretch the household budget. The Water Quality & Health Council would like to help consumers make good choices as they tackle their disinfecting chores. Cleaning Is Not the Same as Disinfection Cleaning and