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PUBHLTH7113 Environmental and Occupation Health Assignment Sample

Imagine you are a Public Health Officer in a government health department and you receive a call from a local general medical practitioner (GP). The GP informs you that they have attended to several patients with food poisoning where they have identified Salmonella spp as the causative factor. Salmonella infections are a Notifiable infectious disease in your jurisdiction. The GP further informs you that all cases reported consumption of orange juice from a local manufacturer prior to getting sick.

Using the human health risk assessment model and basic epidemiological principles what steps would you take to investigate this public health concern?

Note that you will need to inform the Health Minister of this matter in a brief. What would you say?

Consider also that you would need to:

• Provide a prompt response time frame
• Provide a media note to the Minister
• Confirm the extent of the problem
• Understand the human health risks (exposure, outcome)
• Identify the most sensitive population (who is at most risk?)
• Initiate communication protocols (risk communication)
• Confirm the source of the problem (where is it originating from?)
• Initiate corrective action (What, when, who and how?)


Potential sources of lead exposure

The potential sources of lead exposure in the community where child care centre is located are as follows:


Lead in residential paint and dust is a major source of lead exposure in the community. Most of the houses in the community are painted with lead-based paints. Moreover, the paint in several houses is peeling off or has deteriorated. Young children often take this paint in their mouths, or the paint falls on meals which exposes people to lead.


The factories beside the childcare centre and the depositing of lead-based gasoline often contaminate the soil. Children breathe in this lead-contaminated soil when they are playing outside. Consumption of vegetables or fruits that grow near or in contaminated soil also exposes the children to lead.

Drinking Water:

Drinking water can be a major source of lead as the service lines to which the main water lines of the centre are connected lead-based. Lead faucets, plumbing materials, and pipes carry the drinking water to the centre. However, a chemical reaction that happens in lead plumbing fixtures called corrosion results in the mixing of the metal into the drinking water, making it contaminated with lead.
Population health impacts of lead exposure

Most likely to be affected

The most vulnerable population to lead exposure are children, specifically below six years of age. It has been reported that even a minor level of lead in a child's blood can have severe, devastating effects, and usually, these effects are permanent (Kuang et al., 2020).

The main impacts of lead exposure in children are as follows:

- The nervous system and brain can be damaged.
- The children would face difficulties in learning.
- The development and growth will be allowed down.
- The children would have problems in speaking and hearing.

How would we know

Since no immediate symptoms of lead exposure can be identified, it is necessary that the parents or the guardian consult their child's doctor the very first time they predict a change in a child's behavior or health. They should get their blood tested for lead.
Steps for conducting an environmental health risk assessment for assignment help of lead exposure
An accurate environmental health risk assessment of lead exposure demands a specific understanding of the sources, highly-vulnerable populations, and appropriate medical testing. In the immediate case, the assessment is to be conducted in a childcare center. The steps taken for the purpose are listed below:

Identification of sources of lead poisoning:

Since the child care centre is an old building, it is most likely that the paint on the building's interior and exterior and window sills have deteriorated. Even if the paint was fixed later, it is possible that leaded paints have been used for the purpose. Moreover, the building is situated near a busy main road which was formerly an industrial area. This means that the centre is likely to be exposed to additional sources of lead, such as deposits of lead-based gasoline, dust, and contaminated soil. The drinking water may also be a source of lead since the area has a significant indigenous community who are often exposed to lead sources.

Risk groups assessment:

Since a larger population that is vulnerable to lead in the child care centre involves children, they would be identified as the target groups for the assessment. To conduct the assessments, a few questions to gain an understanding of the current situation would be asked to the caretakers and managers of the child care centre. The questions would be related to the hobbies of the children, their habits, both good and bad, their field of interest, and their health profile. The analysis of the responses will provide insights into the level of lead the children are exposed to.

Medical testing:

Usually, the symptoms of lead poisoning are difficult to identify at the initial stage. Therefore, a blood lead test can be conducted to examine the effect of lead on children (Reuben et al.m 2019). The blood sample for the test can be collected by two methods, namely, heel-prick or finger-prick sample collection and the Venus blood straw collection method. The healthcare providers can test and provide a report on the level of lead in the child's blood. Once the reports confirm the effects of identified sources, steps to mitigate the severe impacts on children's health can be taken. 


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