EHI Newsletter #8 - Mar 2015

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Barry's blurb

Welcome to another newsletter from the EHI team which provides an update of our project. As mentioned elsewhere, Deborah, Helene and Fei are playing a critical role in the government’s surveillance of potential 1080 exposure using the HSDIRT system which we created, with funding from the Ministry of Health. We are currently submitting reports to the Ministry on a daily basis on any cases notified from GPs which complements reporting from other systems. The team also features in the news section of the Massey University website.

Another highlight has been Peter Dunne, Associate Minister of Health, making specific mention of the EHI project and the climate change indicators we have developed, in his opening speech to the University of Otago’s 2015 public health summer school course on public health response to climate change. (Read Peter Dunne’s opening speech).

For the future, we will be releasing the first of Kylie’s environmental burden of disease reports, which is on second hand smoke.

We are in the process of revamping our postgraduate paper on environmental health to enable a wider range of people to participate both in the formal teaching, but also specific online modules.

As always we welcome your comments and continued collaboration. 

Barry Borman

Welcome Kirstin Lindberg

K Lindberg

Kirstin is a Principal Analyst at the Centre for Public Health Research, having joined the Environmental Health Indicators (EHI) team at the beginning of 2015.  She has a diverse background, encompassing public health medicine, psychology and some computer science and mathematics. She has completed her public health medicine training, incorporating an MSc in Public Health from the University of Edinburgh, as well as a BSc from Auckland University.  She is currently studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Applied Statistics and has an interest in applied epidemiology and statistics.  She has worked in many different parts of the health sector in New Zealand in a variety of roles.  Kirstin works across a range of projects in the EHI team, including environmental health indicator development and the environmental burden of disease project. 

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Report on emergency water supplies

Kylie and Andrew recently co-authored a GNS science report about access to emergency water supplies in Lower Hutt.

Our spatial analysis showed that most Lower Hutt residents lived more than 1 kilometre away from large sources of emergency water, such as reservoirs and council-owned artesian bores.

Living more than 1 kilometre from emergency water makes it very difficult for people to carry water from the source to their home.

The report found that an additional 16 new bores, strategically located in large open areas, would ensure that most residents would be within 1 kilometre of a suitable emergency water supply.

Read the report

Update of EHI website

The EHI website has had a few small updates in the past few months. We’ve made our pages more printer-friendly in case people would like to refer to our material offline. We’ve incorporated our twitter feed onto our home page so you it’s easy for you to follow us and see what we’ve been up to.

We have also updated information on some of our pages. The access to safe drinking water page has been updated with newly released information from the Ministry of Health in their Annual report on Drinking-water Quality 2013-2014. On our consultancy page there is a list of organisations that we’ve collaborated with on various projects, as well as new factsheets and reports that we’ve published in the past few months.

We're always keen to improve what we do, so if you have any suggestions for the website, please email us at  

Highlights from the EHI factsheets



Access to safe drinking-water

  • Four in five New Zealanders received drinking-water that met all the requirements of the Standards in 2013-2014.

  • People in the North Island were more likely to be supplied with microbiologically compliant drinking-water

Wood and coal fires

  • The use of wood and coal fires dropped steadily from 1996 to 2013

  • In 2013, 37% of households in New Zealand used wood fires as a source of home heating and 4% used coal fires.

Particulate matter

  • New Zealand’s annual average PM10 was 15.6μg/m3, a decrease of 8% since 2006.

  • 87% of monitored sites met the WHO long-term guideline for PM10 in 2012

 Contact Fei Xu ( for more information regarding EHI factsheets.

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1080 poisoning

A threat has been made to contaminate infant and other formula with 1080. As a consequence the EHI team are currently monitoring 1080 poisoning notifications on a daily basis using the Hazardous Substances and Disease Reporting Tool (HSDIRT). This forms part of the health sector’s surveillance response. Any notifications of suspected or confirmed cases received by medical officers of health should be submitted via HSDIRT as soon as possible after receipt.

New hazardous substances and lead report for 2013

The first report using data from our GP electronic reporting tool – the Hazardous Substances Disease and Injury Reporting Tool (HSDIRT) – has been released and is now available on our website. Read the report here.

Below are some key findings from the report:

  • In 2013, the first year of HSDIRT use, there were 180 lead absorption notifications and 63 hazardous substances injury notifications.
  • Lead absorption notifications for children in 2013 were the highest since 2003.
  • Exposure to lead based paint and indoor rifle ranges were the most common lead exposures for adults in 2013.
  • The most common occupations of people exposed to lead in 2013 were painter/decorator, scrap metal worker, and foundry worker.
  • Household products were the most common cause of hazardous substances poisoning in children under the age of 5 years.
  • 41 percent of hazardous substances injuries occurred in the workplace.
  • Over 80 percent of hazardous substances notifications were unintentional exposures.

Contact Helene Marsters ( for more information regarding the National Hazardous Substances and Lead Notification report.


CPHR Online


CPHROnline update

The following environmental health indicators have been added to CPHROnline:

  • Indoor environment: Percentage of people living in crowded households, by degree of crowding, ethnicity and broad age categories at TA, DHB and National levels.
  • Population and risk factors: Percentage people over 65 years and over 85 years living alone at TA, DHB and National levels.

Metadata (information about the data) can be accessed by clicking on the notes tab next to the indicator of interest. More detailed information and counts can be provided on request to

Also check out our new YouTube lesson on how to use EHI profiles. A link to this is now on the CPHROnline homepage.

Meetings and presentations


The EHI team had their 6 monthly meeting with the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) at the Centre for Public Health Research (CPHR) in November 2014. During the meeting, the existing environmental health indicators were evaluated, new indicators were proposed and projects updates were given by the EHI team.


Helene Marsters gave two presentations on the Hazardous Substances Disease and Injury Reporting Tool (HSDIRT) at the end of last year. This was at the Hazardous Substances and New Organism (HSNO) Foundation Course and HSNO Refresher Course attended by Health Protection Officers and Medical Officers of Health. The courses were run by Southern Monitoring Services for the Ministry of Health.


Interested in postgraduate study? 

Centre for Public Health Research (CPHR) teaches a range of postgraduate papers and programmes in public health. These include

  • Postgraduate study in environmental health and epidemiology
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health
  • Master of Public Health
  • PhD.

For more information, visit our Training page.   


Copyright © 2015 Centre for Public Health Research, All rights reserved

Environmental Health Newsletter Issue 8

Our mailing address is:
Centre for Public Health Research, Block 3, Level D, Entrance B Wallace Street, Mount Cook, Wellington 6021, New Zealand.