Hazards

Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) doesn't provide tracking, testing or treatment for the following environmental hazards. However, we do receive regular calls from the community on the following risks. Links in each description will give you more information on identification, prevention and possible treatment.

Lead

Lead is a naturally occurring metal found in rocks and soil. Historically, it has been used for a variety of purposes, including as an additive in paint and gasoline, and solder for water pipes. Lead exposures in people are much lower than in the past. However, lead can be harmful to people of all ages.

Find out how to reduce your exposure to lead and learn more about lead and drinking water.

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is found throughout Ontario and can cause skin inflammation, rash and itchiness if it comes in contact with your skin.

Giant Hogweed

Giant hogweed is an invasive species that can cause health issues. Contact with the sap in combination with sun exposure can cause burning and blisters.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are small insects (about the size of an apple seed) with oval-shaped bodies and no wings. They usually come out and bite at night. It is possible for anyone, anywhere to experience a bed bug infestation, but bed bugs can be prevented and controlled. Although bed bugs do not affect physical health, having bed bugs can be a source of stress and impact mental health and wellness.

What do I do if I have bedbugs?

If you suspect you have bed bugs, you can bring in a specimen to HPPH for identification. You can also:

  • Contact a pest control company about extermination
  • Contact your landlord if you are in a rental unit about controlling bed bugs

Public Health Inspectors do not make on-site visits regarding bed bugs. Read more on how to get rid of bed bugs.

Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar

The Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar is white and fluffy with black chain-like markings on its back. Touching these caterpillars can cause a rash, burning and in some cases swelling and pain.

Treatment

If you touch a Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar, you should:

  • Wash the affected area with soap and water
  • Apply calamine lotion if the area begins itching or swelling
  • Seek medical attention if you experience a more serious allergic reaction