Environmental health

24 January 2022

Urban Heat Island Mitigation Strategies: 2021 Update

  • This literature review covers measures to mitigate urban heat islands that decision-makers and public and private property managers, municipal stakeholders, non-profit organizations, and other project designers can implement in Québec to ensure healthy, comfortable living environments.
  • Urban spread, the loss of crown cover, soil sealing, the use of heat-retaining materials, heat and greenhouse gas emissions stemming from human activities, and urban morphology with dense neighbourhoods and narrow streets are causal factors in urban heat islands. Rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves against a backdrop of climate change are likely to exacerbate their impact.
  • Urban heat islands can have detrimental environmental impacts such as the deterioration of air quality and adversely affect human health and well-being. Certain factors for increased vulnerability to heat such as age and chronic diseases warrant paying particular attention to certain populations…
19 September 2021

COVID-19: Interim Recommendations Applicable to Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Workers

This document has been updated in French only. The English version is not available anymore.

Groupe de travail SAT-COVID-19
20 July 2021

Heat adaptation measures

This literature review, initiated at the request of the Table de concertation nationale en santé environnementale (TCNSE), aims to identify groups at risk during heat events and the adaptation measures proposed by other government agencies and in the scientific literature in order to:

  • Recommend, if necessary, the adjustment of risk groups already targeted by the MSSS or the addition of new groups.
  • Recommend, if necessary, the adjustment of adaptation measures currently recommended by the MSSS or the addition of new measures.
  • Recommend, if necessary, the adjustment of heat adaptation measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Average temperatures as well as the intensity and frequency of heat waves will continue to increase due to climate change. This puts public health at risk.
  • The purpose of this literature review is to update the information contained in the 2006 Ministère de la Santé…
12 July 2021

COVID-19: Basic Concepts Regarding Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and its Measurement in Buildings

This document, written in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, is intended for public building managers, building owners, and all organizations and individuals wishing to learn more about the topics covered in this overview of the scientific and grey literature. This document discusses the current knowledge on carbon dioxide (CO2), its health effects, sources, and relation to building ventilation, as well as the different approaches used to measure this parameter and ways of interpreting the results. The methodology applied to produce this brief overview is set out in Appendix 1 of the full version (in French) of this document.

The objective of this document is to provide key information that may guide concerned organizations in selecting an appropriate measurement protocol and consistent approach for interpreting the results. These elements must meet clear objectives and be interpreted with caution, whether this involves selecting the type of device to use; the…

Comité COVID-19 en santé environnementale
6 July 2021

Climate change and heat vulnerabilities of Canadian workers: Focus on the Central and Western provinces of Canada

This study on the relationship between summer temperatures and worker health in five Canadian provinces has produced new knowledge that can guide decision-makers and prevention stakeholders. Drawing on workers’ compensation claims data from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as meteorological data, the study revealed that:

  • For every 1°C increase in the daily maximum summer temperature for the 2001-2016 period, there was a 28% to 51% increase in the daily number of accepted heat illness claims (e.g. edema, syncope, exhaustion, sunstroke/heatstroke), depending on the province and the heat exposure indicator used; applied to the province of Quebec, a 34% increase (model based on Tmax) represents seven additional accepted heat illness claims over the five summer months of each year of the 2001-2016 period.
  • No sex- or age-based disparities were observed in relation to the heat illness risk examined. In Quebec and Alberta, where…
29 June 2021

Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome, an integrative approach to identifying the pathophysiological mechanisms

Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCS) is a chronic disorder characterized by multiple recurrent non-specific symptoms triggered or exacerbated by exposure to odours present in the environment at low concentrations—concentrations tolerated by most people.

People who are the most severely affected suffer from a chronic impairment that prevents them from functioning normally in their social and professional lives.

Various epidemiological studies have found different levels of prevalence of MCS in the general population, ranging from 0,5% to 3% for cases diagnosed by a doctor. This figure can be as high as 32% when selfdiagnosed cases are included.

In Canada, the number of annual medical consultations for individuals suffering from MCS greatly exceeds that of a comparable control population.

Against this backdrop, Québec’s ministry of health and social services, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), entrusted Québec’s public health…

14 June 2021

COVID 19: Surface Cleaning and Disinfection

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The purpose of this document is to present the current knowledge on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in indoor and outdoor environments, specifically in residential settings and public spaces and excluding healthcare facilities and other healthcare settings, as well as on health issues related to cleaners and disinfectants and the suggested “quarantining” of objects. The information summarized in this document is based on a non-comprehensive review of the grey and scientific literature. The sections in yellow are significant updates made on the indicated date, based on the grey literature available as at April 26, 2021. Complete information on the methodology used to create this document is presented in Appendix 1.

Persistence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces and fomite transmission

Detection and persistence of the virus on surfaces and inanimate objects

In real condit…

Comité COVID-19 en santé environnementale
9 June 2021

COVID-19: Use of Air Conditioners and Electric Fans During Heat Waves

  • The usual COVID-19 prevention and control measures should be followed at all times in public spaces, regardless of whether the use of air conditioners or electric fans is considered.
  • Air conditioners and electric fans remain appropriate cooling methods during a pandemic when used properly and when certain precautions are applied. Additional precautions should nonetheless be taken in healthcare facilities (see Utilisation des climatiseurs mobiles et des ventilateurs sur pied en milieux de soins dans un contexte de COVID-19 [in French only]).
  • The recirculation of indoor air by air conditioners can promote the accumulation of infectious particles in indoor environments when there is no intentional introduction of fresh air. To ensure some dilution and extraction of suspended particles, proper ventilation of the premises must be maintained.
  • The airflow created by ai…
Comité COVID-19 en santé environnementale
26 February 2021

COVID-19: Outdoor environment


Question and answer

This document, written in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, is primarily intended for partners in the health and social services network, public decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about the topics covered in this literature review. This rapid synthesis, presented in the form of a question and answer document, reviews the current state of knowledge on the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in outdoor environments. More specifically, the document discusses modes of transmission of the virus in the outdoor environment and factors that may influence its persistence or its culturability and its transmission. The factors examined include environmental conditions (e.g.: outdoor air quality) and meteorological conditions (e.g.: temperature, relative humidity, and sunlight) as well as individuals’ behaviour (e.g.: compliance with hygiene measures). The information presented…

Comité COVID-19 en santé environnementale
24 February 2021

Tools and Methods for Integrating Health into Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Policies and Strategies

This paper presents the results of a scoping review of the literature on existing tools and methods for integrating health concerns into climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and strategies. It is intended for public health actors who may be involved in the development of such policies and strategies. It may also be of interest to other actors who would like to further integrate the health dimension into their actions aimed at combating climate change.

The review of the scientific and grey literature identified thirteen tools and methods, which were classified into five categories:

  1. Impact assessment tools;
  2. Tools for integrating health into adaptation policies and strategies;
  3. Models;
  4. Conceptual frameworks;