Award-Winning Student Research Abstracts

Article excerpt

The following abstracts were taken from the award-winning student research presentations made at the National Environmental Health Association's 1999 Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition (AEC) in Nashville, Tennessee.

Thanks to generous donations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these students received a plaque and up to $1,000 in travel expenses for presenting their research at the conference.

NEHA strongly encourages all students interested in presenting research at next year's AEC to do so. It is a rewarding learning experience for all who participate!

A Study of the Effects of Using Tire-derived Fuel at a Pulp and Paper Mini-mill

Joe McHugh, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina

The process of converting scrap tires into a productive, supplemental fuel has gone from a experimental concept two decades ago, to a viable and continuously used resource in the U.S.' pulp and paper industry.

Pulp and paper consumption of tire-derived fuel (TDF) is currently used at a rate of fourteen million tires per year, with many more mills currently evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of TDE In this research session, Mr. McHugh reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of TDF by focusing on Jackson Paper, a pulp and paper mini-mill in Sylva, North Carolina, and whether TDF is advantageous to the mill's productivity.

Acute Health Effects Among Sanitation Landfill Employees

Panagiota Kitsanta, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

This unique study examined the reported symptoms and acute health effects among landfill employees working at eight different landfills in the state of Virginia. The reported symptoms were associated with job tasks, chemicals, and materials to determine possible exposures. In addition, a hygienic evaluation of the work environment of one of the landfills was conducted. This study was unique in that the survey results were compared with the hygienic data. The study indicated a higher prevalence of work-related neurological, neuromuscular, respiratory hearing, and gastrointestinal symptoms among the landfill workers than among the control group.

Resource Efficient Desalinization: Protecting Public Health through Increased Availability of Fresh Water

Troy Ritter, Eastern Kentucky University, Lexington, Kentucky

As the populations of developing countries continue to expand at near logarithmic rates, the availability of fresh water continues to decrease. In fact, a May 1999 report from the International Water Management Institute stated that many arid regions of the world must double their fresh water supply by 2005. This fresh water shortage is an obstacle to human welfare even though an unlimited supply of seawater is accessible. Many large communities have implemented desalinization processes to supplement existing fresh water supplies. However, current methods are expensive to construct and operate, and require highly skilled labor for maintenance. This makes them impractical for the small, poverty-stricken villages that comprise developing horticultural societies. The goal of this research is to design an inexpensive, easily constructed and operated facility powered by passive energy resources.

Improving the Learning Environment through Indoor Air Quality Awareness and Education

Angela J. …