Environmental Health | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Environmental Health

Topics of Public Interest


Bedbugs are wingless insects with oval-shaped bodies. Prior to feeding, they are about 1/4 inch long and flat as paper. They are rusty red in colour. After feeding, they turn dark red and become bloated. Eggs are whitish, pear shaped, and about the size of a pinhead. Clusters of 10-50 eggs can be found in cracks and crevices. Bedbugs have a one-year life span, during which time a female can lay 200-400 eggs depending on food supply and temperature. Eggs hatch in about 10 days. Bedbugs require a blood meal in order to reproduce.

What are the feeding habits of bedbugs?

Bedbugs are attracted to heat, carbon dioxide, pheromones (from other bedbugs), and perspiration. They are active at night, feeding when their host is asleep, but they will adjust their feeding habits to match the sleeping habits of their host. They will bite all over a human body, especially around the face, neck, upper torso, arms, and hands. Bedbugs can survive up to six months without feeding and both the male and female bug will bite.

What are the signs of bedbug activity?

  • Waking up with red, itchy bug bites (seeing a pattern of three bites in a row is a reported characteristic of bed bug bites)
  • Dark spotting on walls, mattresses, and other places where they hide
  • Blood spotting on bed sheets
  • Visual sightings of bed bugs

For more information about bedbugs, call (613) 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 677.

Related Links:

Bedbugs – What are they?

Electric and Magnetic Fields

On a daily basis, we are exposed to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) generated by household wiring, lighting, and electrical appliances, such as, microwave ovens, hair dryers, and toasters. In the workplace, common sources include computer monitors, photocopiers, fax machines, and fluorescent lights. Power lines and electric tools also emit EMFs. Some medical applications of EMFs include short-wave diathermy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

For more information about EMFs, click here.

Noxious Plants

The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health no longer responds to inquiries of this nature.  Please contact your local municipality or contact the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711.

Related Links:

Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program

Weed Database

Used Needles

To safely dispose of used needles, place them in a sharps container. These containers can be dropped off at a needle exchange site.

Wind Turbines

Scientific evidence to date does not demonstrate a direct link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects in people. However, many have expressed concern about the potential health impact of having wind turbines in proximity to residential areas.
For further information, please refer to the links below.
Related Links:

Indoor Air Quality


When moulds are growing inside the home, there may be health concerns. Moulds release chemicals and spores.

Pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and those with health problems, such as, respiratory disease or a weakened immune system, are more at risk when exposed to mould. Consult your doctor or primary care provider if you believe someone at risk is being exposed to mould. If mould is detected in your home, it should be treated as soon as possible.

For further information, call (613) 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 677.

Related Links:

Your Healthy Home

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Health Canada

Flood Cleanup - Prevent Mould Growth


Radon is a colourless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks.

In the open air, the amount of radon gas is very small and does not pose a health risk. However, in some confined spaces, like basements and underground mines, radon can accumulate to relatively high levels and become a health hazard. Exposure to high levels of radon has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, depending on the duration of exposure.

For more information, call (613) 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 677 or visit our Radon page.

Related Links:

Health Canada

Smoke-Free Housing

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health fully supports smoke-free housing units in apartment buildings and condominiums. Smoke-free indoor environments protect the health of occupants, especially children, from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.

What can a landlord do legally to ban smoking in rentals units?

In Ontario, landlords and condominium boards, have the legal right to designate specific apartment units or pass a bylaw making the entire building smoke-free. There is ample evidence to show that deeming a property smoke-free creates health, safety, and economic benefits.

What can tenants do to protect their health?

Tenants are well within their right to request that their landlord or condo board exercise their legal authority to ban smoking within the building in which they live.

Related Links:

Non-Smokers’ Rights Association

Smoke-Free Ontario

The Landlord and Tenant Board

For further information, call (613) 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext.  600 or email us.