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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 10, Issue 1 (January 2013), Pages 1-445

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Best Paper Award 2013
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 443-445; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010443
Received: 22 January 2013 / Accepted: 22 January 2013 / Published: 23 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (157 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the start of 2013, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is instituting an annual award to recognize outstanding papers related to environmental health sciences and public health that meet the aims, scope and high standards of this journal. We [...] Read more.
With the start of 2013, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is instituting an annual award to recognize outstanding papers related to environmental health sciences and public health that meet the aims, scope and high standards of this journal. We are pleased to announce the first “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Best Paper Award” for 2013. Nominations were solicited from the Editorial Board members, with all papers published in 2009 eligible for consideration. [...] Full article
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Research

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Open AccessArticle Awareness of and Attitudes towards Heat Waves within the Context of Climate Change among a Cohort of Residents in Adelaide, Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 1-17; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010001
Received: 6 November 2012 / Revised: 6 December 2012 / Accepted: 11 December 2012 / Published: 20 December 2012
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (136 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heat waves are a public health concern in Australia and unprecedented heat waves have been recorded in Adelaide over recent years. The aim of this study was to examine the perception and attitudes towards heat waves in the context of climate change [...] Read more.
Heat waves are a public health concern in Australia and unprecedented heat waves have been recorded in Adelaide over recent years. The aim of this study was to examine the perception and attitudes towards heat waves in the context of climate change among a group of residents in Adelaide, an Australian city with a temperate climate. A cross-sectional study was conducted in the summer of 2012 among a sample of 267 residents. The results of the survey found that television (89.9%), radio (71.2%), newspapers (45.3%) were the main sources from which respondents received information about heat waves. The majority of the respondents (73.0%) followed news about heat waves very or somewhat closely. About 26.6% of the respondents were extremely or very concerned about the effects of heat waves on them personally. The main issues that were of personal concern for respondents during a heat wave were their personal comfort (60.7%), their garden (48.7%), and sleeping well (47.6%). Overall, respondents were more concerned about the impacts of heat waves to the society than on themselves. There was a significant association between gender (χ² = 21.2, df = 3, p = 0.000), gross annual household income (p = 0.03) and concern for the societal effects of heat waves. Less than half (43.2%) of the respondents believed that heat waves will extremely or very likely increase in Adelaide according to climate projections. Nearly half (49.3%) believed that the effects of heat waves were already being felt in Adelaide. These findings may inform the reframing and communication strategies for heat waves in Adelaide in the context of climate change. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effect of Magnetic Nanoparticles on Tobacco BY-2 Cell Suspension Culture
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 47-71; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010047
Received: 6 August 2012 / Revised: 6 December 2012 / Accepted: 7 December 2012 / Published: 20 December 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (518 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nanomaterials are structures whose exceptionality is based on their large surface, which is closely connected with reactivity and modification possibilities. Due to these properties nanomaterials are used in textile industry (antibacterial textiles with silver nanoparticles), electronics (high-resolution imaging, logical circuits on the [...] Read more.
Nanomaterials are structures whose exceptionality is based on their large surface, which is closely connected with reactivity and modification possibilities. Due to these properties nanomaterials are used in textile industry (antibacterial textiles with silver nanoparticles), electronics (high-resolution imaging, logical circuits on the molecular level) and medicine. Medicine represents one of the most important fields of application of nanomaterials. They are investigated in connection with targeted therapy (infectious diseases, malignant diseases) or imaging (contrast agents). Nanomaterials including nanoparticles have a great application potential in the targeted transport of pharmaceuticals. However, there are some negative properties of nanoparticles, which must be carefully solved, as hydrophobic properties leading to instability in aqueous environment, and especially their possible toxicity. Data about toxicity of nanomaterials are still scarce. Due to this fact, in this work we focused on studying of the effect of magnetic nanoparticles (NPs) and modified magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) on tobacco BY-2 plant cell suspension culture. We aimed at examining the effect of NPs and MNPs on growth, proteosynthesis — total protein content, thiols — reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione, phytochelatins PC2-5, glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity and antioxidant activity of BY-2 cells. Whereas the effect of NPs and MNPs on growth of cell suspension culture was only moderate, significant changes were detected in all other biochemical parameters. Significant changes in protein content, phytochelatins levels and GST activity were observed in BY-2 cells treated with MNPs nanoparticles treatment. Changes were also clearly evident in the case of application of NPs. Our results demonstrate the ability of MNPs to negatively affect metabolism and induce biosynthesis of protective compounds in a plant cell model represented by BY-2 cell suspension culture. The obtained results are discussed, especially in connection with already published data. Possible mechanisms of NPs’ and MNPs’ toxicity are introduced. Full article
Open AccessArticle Environmental Contamination by Dog’s Faeces: A Public Health Problem?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 72-84; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010072
Received: 19 September 2012 / Revised: 14 December 2012 / Accepted: 17 December 2012 / Published: 24 December 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (434 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The risk to public health from the large number of dog stools present on streets of urban areas is cause for concern. Dog faeces may be a serious hazard because they may contain microorganisms that are both pathogenic to humans and resistant [...] Read more.
The risk to public health from the large number of dog stools present on streets of urban areas is cause for concern. Dog faeces may be a serious hazard because they may contain microorganisms that are both pathogenic to humans and resistant to several classes of antibiotics. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential for zoonotic infections and for the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in canine faeces which contaminates the urban environment. A total of 418 canine faecal samples were collected from streets in seven areas of Bari, Southern Italy. We have isolated multi-drug resistant Enterococci and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from these dog faecal samples. The presence of the resistant bacteria in an urban environment may represent a public health hazard which requires control measures by competent authorities. No Salmonella, Yersinia or Campylobacter species were isolated. Giardia cysts were detected in 1.9% of the samples. The predominant Enterococcus species were E. faecium (61.6%), E. gallinarum (23.3%) and E. casseliflavus (5.5%). Other species, including E. faecalis were also isolated. These strains were resistant to clindamycin (86.3%), tetracycline (65.7%), erythromycin (60.27%) and ampicillin (47.9%). High-level aminoglycoside resistance (HLAR) was found in 65.7% of enterococci. Resistance to three or more antibiotics and six or more antibiotics were observed in 67.12% and 38.4% of Enterococcus spp., respectively. Resistance to vancomycin and teicoplanin was not detected in any of the Enterococcus spp. isolated. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was isolated in 0.7% of the faecal samples. Canine faeces left on the streets may represent a risk factor for transmission of microorganisms and a reservoir of multidrug- resistant bacteria thus contributing to the spread of resistance genes into an urban area. Full article
Open AccessArticle Visibility and Social Recognition as Psychosocial Work Environment Factors among Cleaners in a Multi-Ethnic Workplace Intervention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 85-106; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010085
Received: 19 July 2012 / Revised: 5 December 2012 / Accepted: 19 December 2012 / Published: 24 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (390 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article focuses on the psychosocial work environment of immigrant cleaners at a Danish workplace. Today, many cleaners working in Danish cleaning jobs are women from the established immigrant communities, but also labour migrants from the newer EU member states have found [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the psychosocial work environment of immigrant cleaners at a Danish workplace. Today, many cleaners working in Danish cleaning jobs are women from the established immigrant communities, but also labour migrants from the newer EU member states have found their way to the cleaning industry. Studies have drawn attention to immigrants’ low position in the cleaning industry and their increased risk of work injuries. This article is based on a case study of an intervention called “Make a Difference” designed to improve the work environment among cleaners at a multi-ethnic workplace. We used semi-structured interviews, photo logs, observation and participation to investigate how the cleaners experienced their work environment. The cleaners reported an overload of heavy work, related to the concept of a classroom’s “readiness for cleaning”, and they expressed strained social relations and communication in addition to a lack of social recognition and invisibility at the workplace, a school. We analysed these psychosocial work environmental problems by investigating the different forms of social relationships and communication within the group of cleaners, and between the cleaners and the teachers and pupils at the school. Moreover, we discussed why the intervention, based on training of language and cleaning skills and social interaction, only partially improved the cleaners’ psychosocial work environment problems. In this article, we argue that social divisions based on ethnicity between the new and the established group of cleaners, combined with their marginal position and poor work organisation at the school, reinforced the cleaners’ experiences of psychosocial work environment problems. This article suggests that increased effort towards social inclusion at work and improved work organisation, especially for the new labour migrants from newer EU-countries, should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health 2012)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Influence of Land Use and Land Cover Datasets with Different Points in Time and Levels of Detail on Watershed Modeling in the North River Watershed, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 144-157; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010144
Received: 25 October 2012 / Revised: 22 November 2012 / Accepted: 4 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1201 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Land use and land cover (LULC) information is an important component influencing watershed modeling with regards to hydrology and water quality in the river basin. In this study, the sensitivity of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model to LULC datasets [...] Read more.
Land use and land cover (LULC) information is an important component influencing watershed modeling with regards to hydrology and water quality in the river basin. In this study, the sensitivity of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model to LULC datasets with three points in time and three levels of detail was assessed in a coastal subtropical watershed located in Southeast China. The results showed good agreement between observed and simulated values for both monthly and daily streamflow and monthly NH4+-N and TP loads. Three LULC datasets in 2002, 2007 and 2010 had relatively little influence on simulated monthly and daily streamflow, whereas they exhibited greater effects on simulated monthly NH4+-N and TP loads. When using the two LULC datasets in 2007 and 2010 compared with that in 2002, the relative differences in predicted monthly NH4+-N and TP loads were −11.0 to −7.8% and −4.8 to −9.0%, respectively. There were no significant differences in simulated monthly and daily streamflow when using the three LULC datasets with ten, five and three categories. When using LULC datasets from ten categories compared to five and three categories, the relative differences in predicted monthly NH4+-N and TP loads were −6.6 to −6.5% and −13.3 to −7.3%, respectively. Overall, the sensitivity of the SWAT model to LULC datasets with different points in time and levels of detail was lower in monthly and daily streamflow simulation than in monthly NH4+-N and TP loads prediction. This research provided helpful insights into the influence of LULC datasets on watershed modeling. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Impact of Socioeconomic Variables on Small Area Variations in Suicide Outcomes in England
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 158-177; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010158
Received: 23 October 2012 / Revised: 14 December 2012 / Accepted: 20 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (3969 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecological studies of suicide and self-harm have established the importance of area variables (e.g., deprivation, social fragmentation) in explaining variations in suicide risk. However, there are likely to be unobserved influences on risk, typically spatially clustered, which can be modeled as random [...] Read more.
Ecological studies of suicide and self-harm have established the importance of area variables (e.g., deprivation, social fragmentation) in explaining variations in suicide risk. However, there are likely to be unobserved influences on risk, typically spatially clustered, which can be modeled as random effects. Regression impacts may be biased if no account is taken of spatially structured influences on risk. Furthermore a default assumption of linear effects of area variables may also misstate or understate their impact. This paper considers variations in suicide outcomes for small areas across England, and investigates the impact on them of area socio-economic variables, while also investigating potential nonlinearity in their impact and allowing for spatially clustered unobserved factors. The outcomes are self-harm hospitalisations and suicide mortality over 6,781 Middle Level Super Output Areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Economical Determinants of Health)
Open AccessArticle Health Insurance, Socio-Economic Position and Racial Disparities in Preventive Dental Visits in South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 178-191; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010178
Received: 27 October 2012 / Revised: 25 December 2012 / Accepted: 25 December 2012 / Published: 2 January 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study sought to determine the contributions of socio-economic position and health insurance enrollment in explaining racial disparities in preventive dental visits (PDVs) among South Africans. Data on the dentate adult population participating in the last South African Demographic and Health Survey [...] Read more.
This study sought to determine the contributions of socio-economic position and health insurance enrollment in explaining racial disparities in preventive dental visits (PDVs) among South Africans. Data on the dentate adult population participating in the last South African Demographic and Health Survey conducted during 2003–2004 (n = 6,312) was used. Main outcome measure: Reporting making routine yearly PDVs as a preventive measure. Education, material wealth index and nutritional status indicated socio-economic position. Multi-level logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the predictors of PDVs. A variant of Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition analysis was also conducted. Health insurance coverage was most common among Whites (70%) and least common among black Africans (10.1%) in South Africa. Similarly, a yearly PDV was most frequently reported by Whites (27.8%) and least frequently reported among black Africans (3.1%). Lower education and lower material wealth were associated with lower odds of making PDVs. There was significant interaction between location (urban/rural) and education (p = 0.010). The racial and socio-economic differences in PDVs observed in urban areas were not observed in rural areas. In the general dentate population, having health insurance significantly increased the odds of making PDVs (OR = 4.32; 3.04–6.14) and accounted for 40.3% of the White/non-White gap in the probability of making PDVs. Overall, socio-economic position and health insurance enrollments together accounted for 55.9% (95% CI = 44.9–67.8) of the White/non-White gap in PDVs. Interventions directed at improving both socio-economic position and insurance coverage of non-White South Africans are likely to significantly reduce racial disparities in PDVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Determinants of Oral Health)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Associated with Parents’ Perceptions of Parental Smoking in the Presence of Children and Its Consequences on Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 192-209; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010192
Received: 8 October 2012 / Revised: 8 November 2012 / Accepted: 28 December 2012 / Published: 7 January 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Parental smoking is the major source of children’s secondhand smoke exposure and is influenced by parents’ perception of children’s exposure. However, the factors associated with these perceptions remain unclear. The objective of this study was to examine factors associated with parents’ perceptions [...] Read more.
Parental smoking is the major source of children’s secondhand smoke exposure and is influenced by parents’ perception of children’s exposure. However, the factors associated with these perceptions remain unclear. The objective of this study was to examine factors associated with parents’ perceptions about parental smoking in the presence of children and its consequences. We conducted a cross-sectional study on parents’ perceptions of parental smoking and measured their evaluations of its consequences using a self-report questionnaire. Other variables include socio-demographic characteristics and smoking-related experience. Results show that parents’ gender, education level, occupational type, smoking status, and agreement on a home smoking ban independently predict parents’ evaluation of the consequences of parental smoking in the presence of children. Parents’ gender, education level, annual family income, smoking status, agreement on a home smoking ban, and evaluation of the consequences of parental smoking independently predicted parents’ perceptions. Findings indicated that a specific group expressed greater acceptance of parental smoking and was less aware of its risks. Motivating parents to create a smoke-free home and increasing awareness of the adverse consequences of parental smoking is beneficial in reinforcing attitudes opposed to parental smoking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control in Vulnerable Population Groups)
Open AccessArticle The Use of Point-of-Decision Prompts to Increase Stair Climbing in Singapore
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 210-218; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010210
Received: 3 December 2012 / Revised: 31 December 2012 / Accepted: 4 January 2013 / Published: 7 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (306 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Physical inactivity is a significant contributor to worldwide mortality and morbidity associated with non-communicable diseases. An excellent avenue to incorporate lifestyle physical activity into regular routine is to encourage the use of stairs during daily commutes. We evaluated the effectiveness of point-of-decision [...] Read more.
Physical inactivity is a significant contributor to worldwide mortality and morbidity associated with non-communicable diseases. An excellent avenue to incorporate lifestyle physical activity into regular routine is to encourage the use of stairs during daily commutes. We evaluated the effectiveness of point-of-decision prompts (PODPs) in promoting the use of stairs instead of the escalators in a Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station. We measured the number of stair climbers before the PODPs were put up, during the 4 weeks that they were in use, and 2 weeks after they were removed. Measurements at a no intervention control site were additionally taken. The use of stair-riser banners was associated with an increase in the number of people using the stairs by a factor of 1.49 (95% CI 1.34–1.64). After the banners were removed, the number of stair climbers at the experimental station dropped to slightly below baseline levels. The Singapore MRT serves a diverse multi-ethnic population with an average daily ridership of over 2 million and 88 stations island-wide. An increase of physical activity among these MRT commuters would have a large impact at the population level. Our findings can be translated into part of the national strategy to encourage an active lifestyle in Singaporeans. Full article
Open AccessArticle Development of Software Sensors for Determining Total Phosphorus and Total Nitrogen in Waters
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 219-236; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010219
Received: 27 November 2012 / Revised: 25 December 2012 / Accepted: 5 January 2013 / Published: 10 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations are important parameters to assess the quality of water bodies and are used as criteria to regulate the water quality of the effluent from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Korea. Therefore, continuous monitoring [...] Read more.
Total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations are important parameters to assess the quality of water bodies and are used as criteria to regulate the water quality of the effluent from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Korea. Therefore, continuous monitoring of TN and TP using in situ instruments is conducted nationwide in Korea. However, most in situ instruments in the market are expensive and require a time-consuming sample pretreatment step, which hinders the widespread use of in situ TN and TP monitoring. In this study, therefore, software sensors based on multiple-regression with a few easily in situ measurable water quality parameters were applied to estimate the TN and TP concentrations in a stream, a lake, combined sewer overflows (CSOs), and WWTP effluent. In general, the developed software sensors predicted TN and TP concentrations of the WWTP effluent and CSOs reasonably well. However, they showed relatively lower predictability for TN and TP concentrations of stream and lake waters, possibly because the water quality of stream and lake waters is more variable than that of WWTP effluent or CSOs. Full article
Open AccessArticle Biomarkers of Maternal and Fetal Exposure to Organochlorine Pesticides Measured in Pregnant Hispanic Women from Brownsville, Texas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 237-248; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010237
Received: 29 October 2012 / Revised: 4 January 2013 / Accepted: 5 January 2013 / Published: 11 January 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomarkers of organochlorine pesticides were measured in both venous and umbilical cord blood from 35 pregnant Hispanic women living in Brownsville, Texas, USA. Gas chromatography with an electron capture detector was used to analyze specimens for 30 individual pesticides or their metabolites. [...] Read more.
Biomarkers of organochlorine pesticides were measured in both venous and umbilical cord blood from 35 pregnant Hispanic women living in Brownsville, Texas, USA. Gas chromatography with an electron capture detector was used to analyze specimens for 30 individual pesticides or their metabolites. Results indicate that blood concentrations were relatively low for most individual compounds, but that high-end (upper 10th percentile) values for total DDT were comparatively high. Although health effects associated with measured blood concentrations are uncertain, there is concern that fetal exposure to low levels of these OC compounds, either individually or in combination, might contribute to subsequent health problems, including neurodevelopmental effects, cancer, endocrine disruption, obesity and diabetes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Exploring the Role of the Food Environment on Food Shopping Patterns in Philadelphia, PA, USA: A Semiquantitative Comparison of Two Matched Neighborhood Groups
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 295-313; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010295
Received: 24 October 2012 / Revised: 3 December 2012 / Accepted: 5 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1179 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing research has focused on the built food environment and nutrition-related outcomes, yet what constitutes a food environment and how this environment influences individual behavior still remain unclear. This study assesses whether travel mode and distance to food shopping venues differ among [...] Read more.
Increasing research has focused on the built food environment and nutrition-related outcomes, yet what constitutes a food environment and how this environment influences individual behavior still remain unclear. This study assesses whether travel mode and distance to food shopping venues differ among individuals in varying food environments and whether individual- and household-level factors are associated with food shopping patterns. Fifty neighbors who share a traditionally defined food environment (25 in an unfavorable environment and 25 in a favorable environment) were surveyed using a mix of close- and open-ended survey questions. Food shopping patterns were mapped using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Stores visited were beyond the 0.5-mile (805 meters) radius traditionally used to represent the extent of an individual’s food environment in an urban area. We found no significant difference in shopping frequency or motivating factor behind store choice between the groups. No differences existed between the two groups for big food shopping trips. For small trips, individuals in the favorable food environment traveled shorter distances and were more likely to walk than drive. Socioeconomic status, including car ownership, education, and income influenced distance traveled. These findings highlight the complexities involved in the study and measurement of food environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cancer Risk in Diagnostic Radiation Workers in Korea from 1996–2002
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 314-327; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010314
Received: 6 October 2012 / Revised: 5 January 2013 / Accepted: 8 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (224 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study was aimed to examine the association between the effective radiation dose of diagnostic radiation workers in Korea and their risk for cancer. A total of 36,394 diagnostic radiation workers (159,189 person-years) were included in this study; the effective dose and [...] Read more.
This study was aimed to examine the association between the effective radiation dose of diagnostic radiation workers in Korea and their risk for cancer. A total of 36,394 diagnostic radiation workers (159,189 person-years) were included in this study; the effective dose and cancer incidence were analyzed between the period 1996 and 2002. Median (range) follow-up time was 5.5 (0.04–7) years in males and 3.75 (0.04–7) years in females. Cancer risk related to the average annual effective dose and exposure to more than 5 mSv of annual radiation dose were calculated by the Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for occupation and age at the last follow-up. The standardized incidence ratio of cancer in radiation workers showed strong healthy worker effects in both male and female workers. The relative risk of all cancers from exposure of the average annual effective dose in the highest quartile (upper 75% or more of radiation dose) was 2.14 in male workers (95% CI: 1.48–3.10, p-trend: <0.0001) and 4.43 in female workers (95% CI: 2.17–9.04, p-trend: <0.0001), compared to those in the lower three quartiles of radiation exposure dose (less than upper 75% of radiation dose). Cancer risks of the brain (HR: 17.38, 95% CI: 1.05–287.8, p-trend: 0.04) and thyroid (HR: 3.88, 95% CI: 1.09–13.75, p-trend: 0.01) in female workers were significantly higher in the highest quartile group of radiation exposure compared to those in the lower three quartiles, and the risk of colon and rectum cancers in male workers showed a significantly increasing trend according to the increase of the average annual radiation dose (HR: 2.37, 95% CI: 0.99–5.67, p-trend: 0.02). The relative risk of leukemia in male workers and that of brain cancer in female workers were significantly higher in the group of people who had been exposed to more than 5 mSv/year than those exposed to less than 5 mSv/year (HR: 11.75, 95% CI: 1.08–128.20; HR: 63.11, 95% CI: 3.70–1,075.00, respectively). Although the present study involved a relatively young population and a short follow-up time, statistically significant increased risks of some cancers in radiation workers were found, which warrants a longer follow-up study and more intensive protective measures in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation and Cancer Risk)
Open AccessArticle Ecological Risk Assessment of Land Use Change in the Poyang Lake Eco-economic Zone, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 328-346; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010328
Received: 23 August 2012 / Revised: 17 December 2012 / Accepted: 5 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Land use/land cover change has been attracting increasing attention in the field of global environmental change research because of its role in the social and ecological environment. To explore the ecological risk characteristics of land use change in the Poyang Lake Eco-economic [...] Read more.
Land use/land cover change has been attracting increasing attention in the field of global environmental change research because of its role in the social and ecological environment. To explore the ecological risk characteristics of land use change in the Poyang Lake Eco-economic Zone of China, an eco-risk index was established in this study by the combination of a landscape disturbance index with a landscape fragmentation index. Spatial distribution and gradient difference of land use eco-risk are analyzed by using the methods of spatial autocorrelation and semivariance. Results show that ecological risk in the study area has a positive correlation, and there is a decreasing trend with the increase of grain size both in 1995 and 2005. Because the area of high eco-risk value increased from 1995 to 2005, eco-environment quality declined slightly in the study area. There are distinct spatial changes in the concentrated areas with high land use eco-risk values from 1995 to 2005. The step length of spatial separation of land use eco-risk is comparatively long — 58 km in 1995 and 11 km in 2005 — respectively. There are still nonstructural factors affecting the quality of the regional ecological environment at some small-scales. Our research results can provide some useful information for land eco-management, eco-environmental harnessing and restoration. In the future, some measures should be put forward in the regions with high eco-risk value, which include strengthening land use management, avoiding unreasonable types of land use and reducing the degree of fragmentation and separation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Full-Facepiece Respirator Fit on Fire Fighters in the Municipality of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 347-360; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010347
Received: 11 November 2012 / Revised: 12 December 2012 / Accepted: 5 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (341 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of personal variables on the fit of the respirators used by firefighters and workers in highly polluted environments. However, resistance from many plants managers was met to conduct the study on their [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of personal variables on the fit of the respirators used by firefighters and workers in highly polluted environments. However, resistance from many plants managers was met to conduct the study on their workers. Therefore, we were forced to limit the study on firefighters who were found very cooperative. Forty volunteer firefighters from different departments participated in the study. They were subjected to a daily leak rate measurement using a Control Negative Pressure (CNP) fit tester for five consecutive days. Two types of respirators were used for each volunteer: the Drager type and the MSA. At the end of the study, the association between face shape and presence of beard with the respirator leak rates was investigated. A significant difference in the leak rate was detected between the two types of respirators used, with the Drager respirator having higher leak rates. The presence of a beard increased dramatically the leak rate whatever the face shape was. The oval shape was the best fitting to the respirators, followed by the rounded and finally the rectangular face. The study recommends that personal variables like face shape must be taken into consideration and fit testing must be carried out periodically, to specify the respirator that best fits each firefighter. Having beard must be absolutely prohibited, since it can be life threatening in environmental dangerous conditions such those encountered during extinguishing fires and overhaul situations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Application of Solid Phase Extraction on Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes of Some Heavy Metal Ions to Analysis of Skin Whitening Cosmetics Using ICP-AES
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 361-374; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010361
Received: 13 August 2012 / Revised: 19 December 2012 / Accepted: 20 December 2012 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A novel and highly sensitive method for the determination of some heavy metals in skin whitening cosmetics creams using multiwalled carbon nanotubes MWCNTs as solid phase extraction sorbent for the preconcentration of these heavy metals prior to their determination by inductively coupled [...] Read more.
A novel and highly sensitive method for the determination of some heavy metals in skin whitening cosmetics creams using multiwalled carbon nanotubes MWCNTs as solid phase extraction sorbent for the preconcentration of these heavy metals prior to their determination by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry is described. Different practical parameters have been thoroughly investigated and the optimum experimental conditions were employed. The developed method was then applied for the determination of arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, mercury, lead and titanium in samples of skin whitening cosmetics. The detection limits under these conditions for As, Bi, Cd, Pb, Hg and Ti were 2.4, 4.08, 0.3, 2.1, 1.8, and 1.8 ng·mL−1, respectively. The relative standard deviations (RSDs) were found to be less than 2.0%. For validation, a certified reference material of NIST SRM 1570a spinach leaves was analyzed and the determined values were in good agreement with the certified values. The recoveries for spiked samples were found to be in the range of 89.6–104.4%. Full article
Open AccessArticle Job Stress Across Gender: The Importance of Emotional and Intellectual Demands and Social Support in Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 375-389; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010375
Received: 6 October 2012 / Revised: 21 December 2012 / Accepted: 5 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (252 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aims to analyse whether any differences exist between the genders with respect to the effect of perceived Job Demands, Control and Support (JDCS model) on how individuals reach high levels of job stress. To do this, the perceived risk of [...] Read more.
This study aims to analyse whether any differences exist between the genders with respect to the effect of perceived Job Demands, Control and Support (JDCS model) on how individuals reach high levels of job stress. To do this, the perceived risk of suffering an illness or having an accident in the workplace is used as an outcome measure. The study is based on the First Survey on Working Conditions in Andalusia, which has a sample of 5,496 men and 2,779 women. We carry out a multi-sample analysis with structural equation models, controlling for age and sector. The results show that the generation of job stress has a different pattern in men and women. In the case of men, the results show that only one dimension of the job demands stressor is significant (quantitative demands), whose effect on job stress is weakened slightly by the direct effects of control and support. With women, in contrast, emotional and intellectual aspects (qualitative demands) are also statistically significant. Moreover, social support has a greater weakening effect on the levels of job stress in women than in men. These results suggest that applying the JDCS model in function of the gender will contribute to a greater understanding of how to reduce the levels of job stress in men and women, helping the design of more effective policies in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women's Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Duration of Exposure to Cement Dust on Respiratory Function of Non-Smoking Cement Mill Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 390-398; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010390
Received: 24 December 2012 / Revised: 5 January 2013 / Accepted: 10 January 2013 / Published: 16 January 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (152 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the effect of long term exposure to cement dust on lung function in non-smoking cement mill workers. This is a cross-sectional study of respiratory functions. Spirometry was performed in 100 apparently healthy volunteers; 50 non-smoking cement mill [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the effect of long term exposure to cement dust on lung function in non-smoking cement mill workers. This is a cross-sectional study of respiratory functions. Spirometry was performed in 100 apparently healthy volunteers; 50 non-smoking cement mill workers and 50 non-smoking un-exposed subjects. Based on the duration of exposure, cement mill workers were divided into three groups, less than 5, 5–10 and greater than 10 years. All subjects were individually matched for age, height, weight, and socioeconomic status. Pulmonary function test was performed by using an electronic spirometer. Significant reduction was observed in the mean values of Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), Forced Expiratory Volume in one second (FEV1), Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) and Maximal Voluntary Ventilation in cement mill workers who had been working in the cement industry for more than 10 years compared to their matched un-exposed group. Lung functions in cement mill workers were significantly impaired and results show a long term duration response effect of years of exposure to cement dust on lung functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Social Trust on Citizens’ Health Risk Perception in the Context of a Petrochemical Industrial Complex
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 399-416; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010399
Received: 15 November 2012 / Revised: 21 December 2012 / Accepted: 8 January 2013 / Published: 21 January 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (370 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Perceived risk of environmental threats often translates into psychological stress with a wide range of effects on health and well-being. Petrochemical industrial complexes constitute one of the sites that can cause considerable pollution and health problems. The uncertainty around emissions results in [...] Read more.
Perceived risk of environmental threats often translates into psychological stress with a wide range of effects on health and well-being. Petrochemical industrial complexes constitute one of the sites that can cause considerable pollution and health problems. The uncertainty around emissions results in a perception of risk for citizens residing in neighboring areas, which translates into anxiety and physiological stress. In this context, social trust is a key factor in managing the perceived risk. In the case of industrial risks, it is essential to distinguish between trust in the companies that make up the industry, and trust in public institutions. In the context of a petrochemical industrial complex located in the port of Castellón (Spain), this paper primarily discusses how trust — both in the companies located in the petrochemical complex and in the public institutions — affects citizens’ health risk perception. The research findings confirm that while the trust in companies negatively affects citizens’ health risk perception, trust in public institutions does not exert a direct and significant effect. Analysis also revealed that trust in public institutions and health risk perception are essentially linked indirectly (through trust in companies). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Economical Determinants of Health)
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Open AccessArticle Understanding Urban Green Space as a Health Resource: A Qualitative Comparison of Visit Motivation and Derived Effects among Park Users in Sheffield, UK
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 417-442; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010417
Received: 3 December 2012 / Revised: 11 January 2013 / Accepted: 15 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
Cited by 35 | PDF Full-text (292 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With increasing interest in the use of urban green space to promote human health, there is a need to understand the extent to which park users conceptualize these places as a resource for health and well-being. This study sought to examine park [...] Read more.
With increasing interest in the use of urban green space to promote human health, there is a need to understand the extent to which park users conceptualize these places as a resource for health and well-being. This study sought to examine park users’ own reasons for and benefits from green space usage and compare these with concepts and constructs in existing person-environment-health theories and models of health. Conducted in 13 public green spaces in Sheffield, UK, we undertook a qualitative content analysis of 312 park users’ responses to open-ended interview questions and identified a breadth, depth and salience of visit motivators and derived effects. Findings highlight a discrepancy between reasons for visiting and derived effects from the use of urban green space. Motivations emphasized walking, green space qualities, and children. Derived effects highlighted relaxation, positive emotions within the self and towards the place, and spiritual well-being. We generate a taxonomy of motivations and derived effects that could facilitate operationalization within empirical research and articulate a conceptual framework linking motivators to outcomes for investigating green space as a resource for human health and well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Nature)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Arsenic Contaminated Groundwater and Its Treatment Options in Bangladesh
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 18-46; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010018
Received: 2 November 2012 / Revised: 13 December 2012 / Accepted: 13 December 2012 / Published: 20 December 2012
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (1387 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Arsenic (As) causes health concerns due to its significant toxicity and worldwide presence in drinking water and groundwater. The major sources of As pollution may be natural process such as dissolution of As-containing minerals and anthropogenic activities such as percolation of water [...] Read more.
Arsenic (As) causes health concerns due to its significant toxicity and worldwide presence in drinking water and groundwater. The major sources of As pollution may be natural process such as dissolution of As-containing minerals and anthropogenic activities such as percolation of water from mines, etc. The maximum contaminant level for total As in potable water has been established as 10 µg/L. Among the countries facing As contamination problems, Bangladesh is the most affected. Up to 77 million people in Bangladesh have been exposed to toxic levels of arsenic from drinking water. Therefore, it has become an urgent need to provide As-free drinking water in rural households throughout Bangladesh. This paper provides a comprehensive overview on the recent data on arsenic contamination status, its sources and reasons of mobilization and the exposure pathways in Bangladesh. Very little literature has focused on the removal of As from groundwaters in developing countries and thus this paper aims to review the As removal technologies and be a useful resource for researchers or policy makers to help identify and investigate useful treatment options. While a number of technological developments in arsenic removal have taken place, we must consider variations in sources and quality characteristics of As polluted water and differences in the socio-economic and literacy conditions of people, and then aim at improving effectiveness in arsenic removal, reducing the cost of the system, making the technology user friendly, overcoming maintenance problems and resolving sludge management issues. Full article
Open AccessReview Mouse Models for Efficacy Testing of Agents against Radiation Carcinogenesis — A Literature Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 107-143; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010107
Received: 6 October 2012 / Revised: 26 November 2012 / Accepted: 11 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (306 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the number of cancer survivors treated with radiation as a part of their therapy regimen is constantly increasing, so is concern about radiation-induced cancers. This increases the need for therapeutic and mitigating agents against secondary neoplasias. Development and efficacy testing of [...] Read more.
As the number of cancer survivors treated with radiation as a part of their therapy regimen is constantly increasing, so is concern about radiation-induced cancers. This increases the need for therapeutic and mitigating agents against secondary neoplasias. Development and efficacy testing of these agents requires not only extensive in vitro assessment, but also a set of reliable animal models of radiation-induced carcinogenesis. The laboratory mouse (Mus musculus) remains one of the best animal model systems for cancer research due to its molecular and physiological similarities to man, small size, ease of breeding in captivity and a fully sequenced genome. This work reviews relevant M. musculus inbred and F1 hybrid animal models and methodologies of induction of radiation-induced leukemia, thymic lymphoma, breast, and lung cancer in these models. Where available, the associated molecular pathologies are also included. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation and Cancer Risk)
Open AccessReview Nature, Nurture and Evolution of Intra-Species Variation in Mosquito Arbovirus Transmission Competence
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 249-277; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010249
Received: 10 December 2012 / Revised: 29 December 2012 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 11 January 2013
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mosquitoes vary in their competence or ability to transmit arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses). Many arboviruses cause disease in humans and animals. Identifying the environmental and genetic causes of variation in mosquito competence for arboviruses is one of the great challenges in public health. [...] Read more.
Mosquitoes vary in their competence or ability to transmit arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses). Many arboviruses cause disease in humans and animals. Identifying the environmental and genetic causes of variation in mosquito competence for arboviruses is one of the great challenges in public health. Progress identifying genetic (nature) and environmental (nurture) factors influencing mosquito competence for arboviruses is reviewed. There is great complexity in the various traits that comprise mosquito competence. The complex interactions between environmental and genetic factors controlling these traits and the factors shaping variation in Nature are largely unknown. The norms of reaction of specific genes influencing competence, their distributions in natural populations and the effects of genetic polymorphism on phenotypic variation need to be determined. Mechanisms influencing competence are not likely due to natural selection because of the direct effects of the arbovirus on mosquito fitness. More likely the traits for mosquito competence for arboviruses are the effects of adaptations for other functions of these competence mechanisms. Determining these other functions is essential to understand the evolution and distributions of competence for arboviruses. This information is needed to assess risk from mosquito-borne disease, predict new mosquito-arbovirus systems, and provide novel strategies to mitigate mosquito-borne arbovirus transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
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Open AccessReview Transfer of Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria Between Intermingled Ecological Niches: The Interface Between Humans, Animals and the Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 278-294; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010278
Received: 8 November 2012 / Revised: 31 December 2012 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (577 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of antimicrobial agents has been claimed to be the driving force for the emergence and spread of microbial resistance. However, several studies have reported the presence of multidrug-resistant bacteria in populations exposed to low levels of antimicrobial drugs or even [...] Read more.
The use of antimicrobial agents has been claimed to be the driving force for the emergence and spread of microbial resistance. However, several studies have reported the presence of multidrug-resistant bacteria in populations exposed to low levels of antimicrobial drugs or even never exposed. For many pathogens, especially those organisms for which asymptomatic colonization typically precedes infection (e.g., Enterococcus spp. and Escherichia coli), the selective effects of antimicrobial use can only be understood if we considerer all biological and environmental pathways which enable these bacteria, and the genes they carry, to spread between different biomes. This ecological framework provides an essential perspective for formulating antimicrobial use policies, precisely because it encompasses the root causes of these problems rather than merely their consequences. Full article

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