Handkerchief or Tissues? That is the Question!
Water Quality & Health Council

Ah-choo! How do you handle sneezes and a runny nose? Whether you use a handkerchief or tissues when you are sick, leaving them out on a common surface only helps spread your germs.Do you reach for a handkerchief or tissues? Which option is more sanitary? Which option is most environmentally responsible? How do affordability, comfort and convenience factor into your decision? More men than women may prefer handkerchiefs, but that may be changing. Rather than endorse one option over another, we provide the following analysis for your consideration.

Our advice is to choose the option you prefer based on the factors that mean the most to you. Whichever choice you make, help reduce the likelihood of spreading germs by staying mindful that germs go wherever nasal mucous goes. ... READ MORE >>

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What Cooking Shows Don’t Teach
Barbara M. Soule, RN, MPA, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC

Want to know how to prepare a delicious recipe? Tune in to a TV cooking show. Just don’t expect to view some of the most important cooking steps! According to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (abstract), today’s cooking shows are missing “an opportunity to model and teach good food safety practices for millions of viewers.” In fact, the researchers found in 39 episodes from 10 television cooking shows, the majority of episodes failed to demonstrate:

  • Proper use of utensils and gloves
  • Protection from contamination
  • Maintaining time and temperature rules

Foodborne Illness: Learn from “Maria”

Each year there are 48 million cases of foodborne illness in the US, including 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Foodborne illnesses, most of which are infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, can even have long-term health consequences, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ... READ MORE >>

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The Black Friday Shoppers’ Health and Safety Survival Guide
Water Quality & Health Council

Determined to brave the traffic, crowds and general madness of Black Friday, many shoppers strike out to take advantage of deep discounts on holiday goods. We offer tips to help ensure shoppers return home from these shopping adventures safely and in good health.

Safety First

  • As exciting as it is to get to the sales early, don’t compromise safety when driving or walking to the shops. Obey traffic and pedestrian rules—arrive alive and unharmed. Exercise extra caution driving and walking in packed parking lots.
  • Reduce your chances of being caught and injured in a stampede at “door buster” sales. It’s better to hang back or off to the side than to risk injury in a rushing crowd.

Be a Healthy Shopper

  • Be mindful that frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and electronic key pads are drop off and pick-up points for germs. Keep your hands away from your face
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Holiday Food Safety and the Foodkeeper App
Linda F. Golodner

A beautifully arranged holiday dinner table is a feast for the senses. Occasionally, however, festive fare that looks perfectly delectable can sicken unsuspecting diners. There are many ways in which the “perfect” holiday dinner can go horribly wrong. Fortunately, most foodborne illness can be avoided when cooks maintain and apply a keen awareness of the basics of food safety.  Add to that a new “app” issued by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and safe food storage and preparation can be a snap this holiday season.

Food Safety Basics

 “Clean” starts with the cooks washing their hands with soap and warm water before and after handling any food item (not just raw animal or vegetable products).  Food preparation surfaces, such as cutting boards and countertops, should be thoroughly washed with soap and hot water, followed by sanitizing with a solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon … READ MORE >>

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Biofilms and Drinking Water Quality
Joan B. Rose, PhD

Biofilm and corrosion in a water pipe

Biofilm and corrosion in a water pipe

Photo credit: Institute of Northern Engineering – University of Alaska Fairbanks

 

The ability of microorganisms to attach to diverse surfaces and form complex colonies known as biofilms vastly improves their survival and growth in environmental niches.  Biofilms form when bacteria adhere to surfaces by excreting a slimy, glue-like substance, and can include algae, protozoa, and other microorganisms.  Nationally, biofilms cost the US billions of dollars every year in energy losses, equipment damage, product contamination, and medical infections.1  Although we have written in the past about biofilms, the good and bad, this article focuses on their role in microbiological drinking water quality—specifically biofilms in distribution systems.

A Widespread Problem

All water distribution systems eventually develop some type of biofilm.  Because biofilms can protect pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes from disinfection, they can present a threat to public health.  Biofilms can also discolor water … READ MORE >>

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