January 15, 2007

Public health inspectors aim to keep you healthy and safe

National Environmental Public Health Week is January 15–21, 2007
NEWMARKET – Each year, the third week in January is designated as National Environmental Public
Health Week.  This year, York Region joins communities across Canada in recognizing and celebrating the
services provided by public health inspectors in our Region. 
The 2007 National Environmental Public Health Week theme is Climate Change. Climate change is due to
the earth’s warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere.
There is growing scientific evidence that suggests if the current greenhouse effect continues as science
predicts, it will have a negative impact on human health and the environment.
Through education and enforcement, York Region public health inspectors work diligently to promote and
protect the health of residents in their community by fostering a safe environment.
Specifically, York Region public health inspectors are responsible for:
• Inspection of food premises (restaurants, cafeterias)
• Monitoring of public beaches and public drinking water systems for water quality
• Infection control inspections of long-term care facilities, child care facilities and personal service settings (spas, nail parlours, tattoo and piercing premises)
• Investigation of animal bite cases
• Public pool, spa and wading pool inspections
• Inspection of child care playgrounds
• Indoor and outdoor air quality, environmental inspections and investigations
• Disease investigation and outbreak management
• Health promotion and education initiatives
• Enforcement activities
Below are some of the 2006 public health inspector’s achievements:
• Conducted 13,942 food premise inspections
• Certified 1,120 food handlers in the Proton Training Program. This program teaches staff in food premises safe food handling preparation to reduce food-borne illnesses
• Responded to 1,190 safe water inquiries through Health Connection
• Issued 38 boil water advisories/orders
• Monitored 18 public beaches for water quality from June to September
• Inspected 1,049 public pool/spas/wading pool facilities
• Conducted 2,970 infection control inspections of personal service settings, long-term care homes and child care facilities
• Investigated 890 animal bite cases
• Investigated 819 cases of enteric diseases (as of November 30, 2006)
• Larvicided approximately 77,000 catch basins four times throughout the West Nile virus season
• Developed a hand-washing education package for local elementary schools to promote hand-washing as an effective infection control strategy.  This program meets school curriculum and has been well received by the schools involved
• Coordinated and collaborated with other stakeholders to deliver community health promotion events and activities such as: The York Children’s Water Festival, iWalk to School Campaign, 20/20 The Way To Clean Air, GTA Idle Free Campaign, Rabies and Dog Bite Awareness Campaigns, PROTON Food Handler Safety Course, and Eat Smart! Ontario’s Healthy Restaurant Program
• Provided thousands of residents with no cost private-water sampling bottles and testing. As well as educational, interpretative and consultative result services
To learn more about a career in public health inspection, visit the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors Web site.
To speak with a public health inspector or for more information on this or any other health-related topic, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours cell (905) 716-2717
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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