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Worker Health and Safety

Protecting workers from disease and injury is vital to our nation's health, and an important component of environmental health. These concerns include stress, indoor air quality and other dangers. Research in the field addresses these emerging issues by assessing work environments to identify potential or actual health problems and proposing solutions to control and prevent disease or injury caused by psychosocial, chemical, physical and biological threats. 

Research Highlights

Can a mask protect me? Putting homemade masks in the hierarchy of controls

The most effective means to prevent exposures to COVID-19 is through elimination – physically removing the hazard (COVID-19). For workplaces deemed necessary, such as hospitals, supermarkets, and banks, this means making sure workers are not coming in when they are ill or have potentially been exposed to others who are ill. In this way, we can eliminate (to the best of our ability) the means of transmission among the workers. For the general public, this means eliminating unnecessary trips to the store or other places where you could come in contact with infected individuals and keeping your distance (6 ft)4 from other people when you must be away from your home.

Public infrastructure disparities and the microbiological and chemical safety of drinking and surface water supplies in a community bordering a landfill

The historically African-American Rogers-Eubanks community straddles unincorporated boundaries of two municipalities in Orange County, North Carolina, and predates a regional landfill sited along its border in 1972. Community members from the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA), concerned about deterioration of private wells and septic systems and a lack of public drinking water and sewer services, implemented a community-driven research partnership with university scientists and community-based organizations to investigate water and sewer infrastructure disparities and the safety of drinking and surface water supplies.

High-Density Livestock Production and Molecularly Characterized MRSA Infections in Pennsylvania

European studies suggest that living near high-density livestock production increases the risk of sequence type (ST) 398 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization. To our knowledge, no studies have evaluated associations between livestock production and human infection by other strain types. We evaluated associations between MRSA molecular subgroups and high-density livestock production.

Exposure to Pig Farms and Manure Fertilizers Associated with MRSA Infections

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have for the first time found an association between living in proximity to high-density livestock production and community-acquired infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA. Their analysis concluded that approximately 11 percent of community-acquired MRSA and soft tissue infections in the study population could be attributed to crop fields fertilized with swine manure. The study is the first to examine the association between high-density livestock operations and manure-applied crop fields and MRSA infections in the community.

Associated Faculty

*Denotes faculty who are accepting PhD students.