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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 12, Issue 7 (July 2015), Pages 7100-8618

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Editorial—Global Climate Change and Contaminants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7582-7584; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707582
Received: 30 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract
This Special Issue in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health focuses on the inter-linkage between the global distribution of contaminants and climate change. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Climate Change and Contaminants)
Open AccessEditorial Eleventh International Symposium on Recent Advances in Environmental Health Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7635-7637; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707635
Received: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 3 July 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (599 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This special issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is dedicated to the publication of selected papers presented at the Eleventh International Symposium on Recent Advances in Environmental Health Research.[...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Integrated Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Suxian County, South China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7100-7117; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707100
Received: 14 May 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (5425 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to assess soil heavy metal contamination and the potential risk for local residents in Suxian county of Hunan Province, southern China. Soil, rice and vegetable samples from the areas near the mining industrial districts were sampled and
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The purpose of this study was to assess soil heavy metal contamination and the potential risk for local residents in Suxian county of Hunan Province, southern China. Soil, rice and vegetable samples from the areas near the mining industrial districts were sampled and analyzed. The results indicate that the anthropogenic mining activities have caused local agricultural soil contamination with As, Pb, Cu and Cd in the ranges of 8.47–341.33 mg/kg, 19.91–837.52 mg/kg, 8.41–148.73 mg/kg and 0.35–6.47 mg/kg, respectively. GIS-based mapping shows that soil heavy metal concentrations abruptly diminish with increasing distance from the polluting source. The concentrations of As, Pb, Cu and Cd found in rice were in the ranges of 0.02–1.48 mg/kg, 0.66–5.78 mg/kg, 0.09–6.75 mg/kg, and up to 1.39 mg/kg, respectively. Most of these concentrations exceed their maximum permissible levels for contaminants in foods in China. Heavy metals accumulate to significantly different levels between leafy vegetables and non-leafy vegetables. Food consumption and soil ingestion exposure are the two routes that contribute to the average daily intake dose of heavy metals for local adults. Moreover, the total hazard indices of As, Pb and Cd are greater than or close to the safety threshold of 1. Long-term As, Pb and Cd exposure through the regular consumption of the soil, rice and vegetables in the investigated area poses potential health problems to residents in the vicinity of the mining industry. Full article
Open AccessArticle Quantification of Protozoa and Viruses from Small Water Volumes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7118-7132; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707118
Received: 8 April 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (270 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Large sample volumes are traditionally required for the analysis of waterborne pathogens. The need for large volumes greatly limits the number of samples that can be processed. The aims of this study were to compare extraction and detection procedures for quantifying protozoan parasites
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Large sample volumes are traditionally required for the analysis of waterborne pathogens. The need for large volumes greatly limits the number of samples that can be processed. The aims of this study were to compare extraction and detection procedures for quantifying protozoan parasites and viruses from small volumes of marine water. The intent was to evaluate a logistically simpler method of sample collection and processing that would facilitate direct pathogen measures as part of routine monitoring programs. Samples were collected simultaneously using a bilayer device with protozoa capture by size (top filter) and viruses capture by charge (bottom filter). Protozoan detection technologies utilized for recovery of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. were qPCR and the more traditional immunomagnetic separation—IFA-microscopy, while virus (poliovirus) detection was based upon qPCR versus plaque assay. Filters were eluted using reagents consistent with the downstream detection technologies. Results showed higher mean recoveries using traditional detection methods over qPCR for Cryptosporidium (91% vs. 45%) and poliovirus (67% vs. 55%) whereas for Giardia the qPCR-based methods were characterized by higher mean recoveries (41% vs. 28%). Overall mean recoveries are considered high for all detection technologies. Results suggest that simultaneous filtration may be suitable for isolating different classes of pathogens from small marine water volumes. More research is needed to evaluate the suitability of this method for detecting pathogens at low ambient concentration levels. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Sister Cities’ Staff Exchanges in Developing “Learning Cities”: Exploring Necessary and Sufficient Conditions in Social Capital Development Utilizing Proportional Odds Modeling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7133-7153; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707133
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 17 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
PDF Full-text (833 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In the last half century former international adversaries have become cooperators through networking and knowledge sharing for decision making aimed at improving quality of life and sustainability; nowhere has this been more striking then at the urban level where such activity is seen
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In the last half century former international adversaries have become cooperators through networking and knowledge sharing for decision making aimed at improving quality of life and sustainability; nowhere has this been more striking then at the urban level where such activity is seen as a key component in building “learning cities” through the development of social capital. Although mega-cities have been leaders in such efforts, mid-sized cities with lesser resource endowments have striven to follow by focusing on more frugal sister city type exchanges. The underlying thesis of our research is that great value can be derived from city-to-city exchanges through social capital development. However, such a study must differentiate between necessary and sufficient conditions. Past studies assumed necessary conditions were met and immediately jumped to demonstrating the existence of structural relationships by measuring networking while further assuming that the existence of such demonstrated a parallel development of cognitive social capital. Our research addresses this lacuna by stepping back and critically examining these assumptions. To accomplish this goal we use a Proportional Odds Modeling with a Cumulative Logit Link approach to demonstrate the existence of a common latent structure, hence asserting that necessary conditions are met. Full article
Open AccessArticle Αlpha 2a-Adrenoceptor Gene Expression and Early Life Stress-Mediated Propensity to Alcohol Drinking in Outbred Rats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7154-7171; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707154
Received: 13 May 2015 / Revised: 9 June 2015 / Accepted: 10 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (372 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stressful events early in life, later high alcohol consumption and vulnerability to alcohol use disorder (AUD) are tightly linked. Norepinephrine is highly involved in the stress response and the α2A-adrenoceptor, which is an important regulator of norepinephrine signalling, is a putative target in
[...] Read more.
Stressful events early in life, later high alcohol consumption and vulnerability to alcohol use disorder (AUD) are tightly linked. Norepinephrine is highly involved in the stress response and the α2A-adrenoceptor, which is an important regulator of norepinephrine signalling, is a putative target in pharmacotherapy of AUD. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of early-life stress and adult voluntary alcohol drinking on the α2A-adrenoceptor. The relative expression and promoter DNA methylation of the Adra2a gene were measured in the hypothalamus, a key brain region in stress regulation. A well-characterized animal model of early-life stress was used in combination with an episodic voluntary drinking in adulthood. Alcohol drinking rats with a history of early-life stress had lower Adra2a expression than drinking rats not exposed to stress. Alcohol intake and Adra2a gene expression were negatively correlated in high-drinking animals, which were predominantly rats subjected to early-life stress. The results provide support for a link between early-life stress, susceptibility for high alcohol consumption, and low Adra2a expression in the hypothalamus. These findings can increase our understanding of the neurobiological basis for vulnerability to initiate risk alcohol consumption and individual differences in the response to α2A-adrenoceptor agonists. Full article
Open AccessArticle Forecasting and Analyzing the Disease Burden of Aged Population in China, Based on the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7172-7184; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707172
Received: 16 April 2015 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (841 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Forecasting the disease burden of the elderly will contribute to make a comprehensive assessment about physical and mental status of the elderly in China and provide a basis for reducing the negative consequences of aging society to a minimum. Methods:
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Background: Forecasting the disease burden of the elderly will contribute to make a comprehensive assessment about physical and mental status of the elderly in China and provide a basis for reducing the negative consequences of aging society to a minimum. Methods: This study collected data from a public database online provided by Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Grey model GM (1, 1) was used to forecast all-cause and disease-specific rates of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) in 2015 and 2020. Results: After cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis, we found that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were still the greatest threats in the elderly, followed by injuries. As for 136 predicted causes, more than half of NCDs increased obviously with age, less than a quarter of communicable, material, neonatal, and nutritional disorders or injuries had uptrend. Conclusions: The findings display the health condition of the Chinese elderly in the future, which will provide critical information for scientific and sociological researches on preventing and reducing the risks of aging society. Full article
Open AccessArticle Physical Activity and Snus: Is There a Link?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7185-7198; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707185
Received: 11 March 2015 / Revised: 30 May 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (664 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The study aimed at assessing the link between physical activity (PA), sports activity and snus use among young men in Switzerland. Data from the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF) were used to measure PA with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire
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The study aimed at assessing the link between physical activity (PA), sports activity and snus use among young men in Switzerland. Data from the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF) were used to measure PA with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and sports activity with a single item. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to measure the association between snus use, PA and sports activity. Similar models were run for smoking and snuff use. Snus use increased in a dose-response association with PA (high level: OR = 1.72; 95% CI 1.16–2.55) and with individuals exercising once a week or more often (OR = 1.65; 95% CI 1.26–2.16; p < 0.001) or almost every day (OR = 2.27; 95% CI 1.72–3.01; p < 0.001) in separate models. Entered simultaneously, only sports and exercise maintained a basically unchanged significant dose-response relationship, whereas PA became non-significant. A non-significant dose-response relation was found for cigarette smoking and snuff use, indicating that the association with sport is specific to snus and not to tobacco use in general or smokeless tobacco in particular. This study showed that the association between snus use and sports is not specific to Nordic countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle Accessible Transportation, Geographic Elevation, and Masticatory Ability Among Elderly Residents of a Rural Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7199-7207; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707199
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (682 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Given that public transportation networks are often worse in rural areas than in urban areas, rural residents who do not drive can find it difficult to access health-promoting goods, services, and resources related to masticatory ability. Moreover, geographical location, assessed by elevation, could
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Given that public transportation networks are often worse in rural areas than in urban areas, rural residents who do not drive can find it difficult to access health-promoting goods, services, and resources related to masticatory ability. Moreover, geographical location, assessed by elevation, could modify this association. The aim of this study was to test whether the association between access to transportation and masticatory ability varied by elevation. Data were collected from a cross-sectional study conducted in Mizuho and Iwami counties, Japan. Objective masticatory ability was evaluated using a test gummy jelly and elevation was estimated by the geographic information systems according to the participant’s address. After excluding subjects with missing data, 672 subjects (Mizuho = 401 and Iwami = 271) were analyzed. After adjustment for potential confounders, being a driver was not significantly associated with masticatory ability among elderly people living at low elevation (≤313 m) in Mizuho county. However, after the same adjustment, being a driver remained significantly associated with increased masticatory ability among elderly at high elevations. Similar findings were observed in Iwami county. Accessible transportation was significantly associated with increased mastication ability in elderly people living at high elevations, but not in those living at low elevations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Accessibility of Catering Service Venues and Adolescent Drinking in Beijing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7208-7219; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707208
Received: 2 April 2015 / Revised: 1 June 2015 / Accepted: 10 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
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Abstract
This study assessed the association between accessibility of catering service venues and adolescents’ alcohol use over the previous 30 days. The data were collected from cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2014, 2223 students at 27 high schools in Chaoyang and Xicheng districts, Beijing using
[...] Read more.
This study assessed the association between accessibility of catering service venues and adolescents’ alcohol use over the previous 30 days. The data were collected from cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2014, 2223 students at 27 high schools in Chaoyang and Xicheng districts, Beijing using self-administered questionnaires to collect the adolescents information on socio-demographic characteristics and recent alcohol experiences. The accessibility of, and proximity to, catering service venues were summarized by weights, which were calculated by multiplication of the type-weight and the distance-weight. All sampled schools were categorized into three subgroups (low, middle, and high geographic density) based on the tertile of nearby catering service venues, and a multi-level logistic regression analysis was performed to explore variance between the school levels. Considering the setting characteristics, the catering service venues weighted value was found to account for 8.6% of the school level variance of adolescent alcohol use. The odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of drinking over the past 30-days among adolescents with medium and high accessibility of catering service venues were 1.17 (0.86, 1.57) and 1.47 (1.06, 2.02), respectively (p < 0.001 for trend test). This study addressed a gap in the adolescent drinking influence by the catering service venues around schools in China. Results suggest that the greater accessibility of catering service venues around schools is associated with a growing risk of recent drinking. Full article
Open AccessCommunication The Prefrontal Cortex Activity and Psychological Effects of Viewing Forest Landscapes in Autumn Season
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7235-7243; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707235
Received: 24 April 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (686 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently reported research indicate that forest environments have physiological and psychological relaxing effects compared to urban environments. However, some researchers claim that the stress of the subjects from being watched by others during measurements can affect the measurement result in urban experiments conducted
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Recently reported research indicate that forest environments have physiological and psychological relaxing effects compared to urban environments. However, some researchers claim that the stress of the subjects from being watched by others during measurements can affect the measurement result in urban experiments conducted in the center of a street. The present study was conducted to determine whether forest environments have physiological and psychological relaxing effects, using comparison of viewing a forest area with viewing an urban area from the roof of an urban building without being watched by others. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) measurement was performed on subjects while they viewed scenery for 15 min at each experimental site (urban and forest areas). Subjective assessments were performed after the NIRS measurement was complete. Total hemoglobin and oxyhemoglobin concentrations were significantly lower in the forest area than in the urban area. For semantic differential in subjective assessments, feelings of “comfortable”, “natural”, and “soothed” were significantly higher in the forest area than in the urban area, and for profile of mood states, negative emotions were significantly lower in the forest area than in the urban area. The results of physiological and psychological measurements show that viewing the forest enabled effective relaxation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Arsenic Accumulation and Translocation in Mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum L.) Grown in Arsenic Contaminated Soils
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7244-7253; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707244
Received: 5 May 2015 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (998 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mangrove wetlands serve as both a sink and source for arsenic (As), as mangrove plants are able to uptake and accumulate As. The present study used pot experiments to evaluate As accumulation and translocation in mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum L.) seedlings grown in As
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Mangrove wetlands serve as both a sink and source for arsenic (As), as mangrove plants are able to uptake and accumulate As. The present study used pot experiments to evaluate As accumulation and translocation in mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum L.) seedlings grown in As contaminated soils. Results indicated that A. corniculatum seedlings grew normally under As stress with minute growth inhibition and biomass reduction at different As treatment concentrations in a range of 0–150 mg·kg−1. As concentrations in roots, stems and leaves were increased with increasing As treatment concentrations, but As accumulated mainly in roots, with accumulation rates of 74.54%–89.26% of the total As accumulation. In particular, relatively high bioconcentration factor (BCF) in root (2.12–1.79), low BCF in stem (0.44–0.14) and leaf (0.06–0.01), and thereby a low translocation factor (TF) in stem/root (0.21–0.08) and leaf/root (0.02–0.008) were observed. These results demonstrated that A. corniculatum is an As excluder with the innate capacity to tolerate As stress and root tissues may be employed as a bio-indicator of As in polluted sediments. Additionally, A. corniculatum is a potential candidate mangrove species for As phytostabilization in tropical and subtropical estuarine wetlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arsenic in Drinking Water: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
Open AccessArticle Scrub Typhus Incidence Modeling with Meteorological Factors in South Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7254-7273; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707254
Received: 16 March 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3831 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since its recurrence in 1986, scrub typhus has been occurring annually and it is considered as one of the most prevalent diseases in Korea. Scrub typhus is a 3rd grade nationally notifiable disease that has greatly increased in Korea since 2000. The objective
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Since its recurrence in 1986, scrub typhus has been occurring annually and it is considered as one of the most prevalent diseases in Korea. Scrub typhus is a 3rd grade nationally notifiable disease that has greatly increased in Korea since 2000. The objective of this study is to construct a disease incidence model for prediction and quantification of the incidences of scrub typhus. Using data from 2001 to 2010, the incidence Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model, which considers the time-lag between scrub typhus and minimum temperature, precipitation and average wind speed based on the Granger causality and spectral analysis, is constructed and tested for 2011 to 2012. Results show reliable simulation of scrub typhus incidences with selected predictors, and indicate that the seasonality in meteorological data should be considered. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Significance of Experiences of Nature for People with Parkinson’s Disease, with Special Focus on Freezing of Gait—The Necessity for a Biophilic Environment. A Multi-Method Single Subject Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7274-7299; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707274
Received: 21 April 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1200 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Freezing of Gait (FOG) is a common condition in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). FOG entails suddenly experiencing difficulties moving or feeling that one’s feet are as glued to the ground. It is triggered, e.g., when passing through doorways. Earlier studies suggest that
[...] Read more.
Freezing of Gait (FOG) is a common condition in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). FOG entails suddenly experiencing difficulties moving or feeling that one’s feet are as glued to the ground. It is triggered, e.g., when passing through doorways. Earlier studies suggest that being in natural environments affects FOG in a positive way. Five subjects were recruited to serve as five single subject cases. We used interviews, observations, questionnaires and collected gait pattern data with aid of an accelerometer. A special designed outdoor setting was used, where we investigated whether passing through hedge openings with or without built elements triggered FOG. We found that no one experienced a FOG reaction when they passed through hedge openings without built elements. However, FOG was triggered when a doorframe was inserted into a hedge opening, and/or when peripheral vision was blocked. We interpret the results such that the doorframe triggered a phobic reflex, causing a freezing reaction. Passing through hedge openings does not trigger FOG, which we interpret as a biophilic reaction. Our results, if repeated in future studies, may have significance to everyday lives of PD patients, who could get a simpler life by consciously prioritizing stays in natural surroundings. Full article
Open AccessArticle Removal Efficiency of Faecal Indicator Organisms, Nutrients and Heavy Metals from a Peri-Urban Wastewater Treatment Plant in Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7300-7320; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707300
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 19 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1252 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wastewater treatment facilities are known sources of fresh water pollution. This study was carried out from January to June 2014 to assess the reduction efficiency of some selected contaminants in the Thohoyandou wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The pH and electrical conductivity of the
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Wastewater treatment facilities are known sources of fresh water pollution. This study was carried out from January to June 2014 to assess the reduction efficiency of some selected contaminants in the Thohoyandou wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The pH and electrical conductivity of the effluent fell within the South African wastewater discharge guidelines. The WWTP showed the chemical oxygen demand reduction efficiency required by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) guidelines of 75 mg/L for the months of April and June, although it was below this standard in March and May. Free chlorine concentration varied between 0.26–0.96 mg/L and exceeded the DWA guideline value of 0.25 mg/L. The concentration of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3 N) in the influent and effluent varied between 0.499–2.31 mg/L and 7.545–19.413 mg/L, respectively. The concentration of NO3 N in the effluent complied with DWA effluent discharge standard of 15 mg/L, except in April and May. Phosphate concentrations in the influent and effluent were in the ranges of 0.552–42.646 mg/L and 1.572–32.554 mg/L, respectively. The WWTP showed reduction efficiencies of E. coli and Enterococci during some sampling periods but the level found in the effluent exceeded the recommended guideline value of 1000 cfu/100 mL for faecal indicator organisms in wastewater effluents. Consistent removal efficiencies were observed for Al (32–74%), Fe (7–32%) and Zn (24–94%) in most of the sampling months. In conclusion, the Thohoyandou WWTP is inefficient in treating wastewater to the acceptable quality before discharge. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of the Visual Exercise Environments on Cognitive Directed Attention, Energy Expenditure and Perceived Exertion
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7321-7336; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707321
Received: 31 May 2015 / Revised: 23 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Green exercise research often reports psychological health outcomes without rigorously controlling exercise. This study examines effects of visual exercise environments on directed attention, perceived exertion and time to exhaustion, whilst measuring and controlling the exercise component. Participants completed three experimental conditions in a
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Green exercise research often reports psychological health outcomes without rigorously controlling exercise. This study examines effects of visual exercise environments on directed attention, perceived exertion and time to exhaustion, whilst measuring and controlling the exercise component. Participants completed three experimental conditions in a randomized counterbalanced order. Conditions varied by video content viewed (nature; built; control) during two consistently-ordered exercise bouts (Exercise 1: 60% VO2peakInt for 15-mins; Exercise 2: 85% VO2peakInt to voluntary exhaustion). In each condition, participants completed modified Backwards Digit Span tests (a measure of directed attention) pre- and post-Exercise 1. Energy expenditure, respiratory exchange ratio and perceived exertion were measured during both exercise bouts. Time to exhaustion in Exercise 2 was also recorded. There was a significant time by condition interaction for Backwards Digit Span scores (F2,22 = 6.267, p = 0.007). Scores significantly improved in the nature condition (p < 0.001) but did not in the built or control conditions. There were no significant differences between conditions for either perceived exertion or physiological measures during either Exercise 1 or Exercise 2, or for time to exhaustion in Exercise 2. This was the first study to demonstrate effects of controlled exercise conducted in different visual environments on post-exercise directed attention. Via psychological mechanisms alone, visual nature facilitates attention restoration during moderate-intensity exercise. Full article
Open AccessArticle Breastfeeding Rates and Growth Charts—the Zhejiang Infant Feeding Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7337-7347; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707337
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 4 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
PDF Full-text (704 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A randomised control trial was undertaken in Hangzhou, China, to study the influence of the growth chart used on breastfeeding rates. Mothers with infants who were being fully breastfed at 6 weeks after birth (n = 1602) were invited to participate in the
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A randomised control trial was undertaken in Hangzhou, China, to study the influence of the growth chart used on breastfeeding rates. Mothers with infants who were being fully breastfed at 6 weeks after birth (n = 1602) were invited to participate in the trial; 1415 agreed to participate and 1295 completed the study. Two growth charts were used, one that was heavier for the first six months of life (Chart A, n = 686) and a lighter growth chart (Chart B, n = 609). Mothers were interviewed and infants measured at 6 weeks and 3, 4, 5 and 6 months after delivery. At 6 months the full breastfeeding rates were 18.1% in the group using the heavier growth chart compared to 22.8% in the lighter growth chart group. After adjusting for potential confounders this difference remained significant (aOR 1.41, 95% confidence intervals 1.02, 1.93). These results suggest that breastfeeding rates may be influenced by the type of growth chart used. Mothers who perceive that their infants are not growing adequately (i.e., using the heavier charts) may introduce other foods to their infants earlier than mothers using the lighter chart. While a larger trial is required to confirm the results, in the interim it is suggested that if heavier growth charts are used, a lower percentile line could be used to assess adequacy of growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breastfeeding and Infant Health)
Open AccessArticle Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Field Exposure and Parkinson’s Disease—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7348-7356; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707348
Received: 22 May 2015 / Revised: 9 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1060 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: To examine the association between occupational exposure to extremely-low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) and Parkinson’s disease. Methods: We systematically searched publications reporting risk estimates of Parkinson’s disease in workers exposed to ELF-MF. Summary relative risks were obtained with random effects meta-analysis.
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Objective: To examine the association between occupational exposure to extremely-low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) and Parkinson’s disease. Methods: We systematically searched publications reporting risk estimates of Parkinson’s disease in workers exposed to ELF-MF. Summary relative risks were obtained with random effects meta-analysis. Results: We included 11 studies. To assign exposure, four studies evaluated occupational records, four used census, interview or questionnaire information and three used death certificates. Risk of Parkinson’s disease was not elevated in workers exposed to ELF-MF with a summary relative risk of 1.05, 95% CI 0.98–1.13. Conclusions: Overall, there was no evidence that the exposure to ELF-MF increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Fields and Health)
Open AccessArticle Cross-Sectional Study of Hepatitis A Virus Infection in the Pantanal Population before Vaccine Implementation in Brazil: Usage of Non-Invasive Specimen Collection
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7357-7369; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707357
Received: 13 April 2015 / Revised: 21 May 2015 / Accepted: 25 May 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (855 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Population-based prevalence studies are essential tools for screening of hepatitis A and provide important data on susceptible groups. However, surveillance in isolated communities is difficult because of the limited access to these areas and the need for blood sample collection. This study aimed
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Population-based prevalence studies are essential tools for screening of hepatitis A and provide important data on susceptible groups. However, surveillance in isolated communities is difficult because of the limited access to these areas and the need for blood sample collection. This study aimed to determine the anti-HAV prevalence using oral fluid samples to provide an alternative tool for epidemiological studies that might be useful for vaccination-related decisions. The study population was composed of 224 volunteers from South Pantanal, aged 3 to 86 years old. This study was performed using oral fluids, previously standardized for anti-HAV antibody detection, which were collected using a ChemBio device. Eluates were tested using modified commercial EIA to detect anti-HAV antibodies. The overall prevalence was 79.1%, corresponding to 178 reactive EIA tests out of 224 samples. The age stratified data revealed a prevalence of 47.8% between 0–10 years, 84% in 11–20 years and 91.9% in subjects older than 21 years. Results indicate that hepatitis A prevalence was higher in adolescents and adults, corroborating the literature reports. Thus, oral fluid samples could replace serum in HAV epidemiological studies in isolated communities as they are efficient at detecting anti-HAV antibodies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cost-Effectiveness of a New Nordic Diet as a Strategy for Health Promotion
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7370-7391; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707370
Received: 27 April 2015 / Revised: 12 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract
Inappropriate diets constitute an important health risk and an increasing environmental burden. Healthy regional diets may contribute to meeting this dual challenge. A palatable, healthy and sustainable New Nordic diet (NND) based on organic products from the Nordic region has been developed. This
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Inappropriate diets constitute an important health risk and an increasing environmental burden. Healthy regional diets may contribute to meeting this dual challenge. A palatable, healthy and sustainable New Nordic diet (NND) based on organic products from the Nordic region has been developed. This study assesses whether a large-scale introduction of NND is a cost-effective health promotion strategy by combining an economic model for estimating the utility-maximizing composition of NND, a life cycle assessment model to assess environmental effects of the dietary change, and a health impact model to assess impacts on the disease burden. Consumer expenditure for food and beverages in the NND is about 16% higher than currently, with the largest relative difference in low-income households. Environmental loads from food consumption are 15%–25% lower, and more than 18,000 disability-adjusted life years (DALY) will be saved per year in Denmark. NND exhibits a cost-effectiveness ratio of about €73,000–94,000 per DALY saved. This cost-effectiveness improves considerably, if the NND’s emphasis on organic and Nordic-origin products is relaxed. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Association Between Geographic Elevation, Bone Status, and Exercise Habits: The Shimane CoHRE Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7392-7399; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707392
Received: 20 May 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract
In recent years, there has been growing interest in the association between the residential environment and health. The association between residential environment (i.e., geographic elevation) and bone status is unknown. Furthermore, these associations could differ by exercise habits due to the
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In recent years, there has been growing interest in the association between the residential environment and health. The association between residential environment (i.e., geographic elevation) and bone status is unknown. Furthermore, these associations could differ by exercise habits due to the chronically greater daily activity caused by steep slopes in mountainous areas. The aim of this study was to test whether the association between bone status of elderly people measured using quantitative ultrasound (QUS) and elevation varied according to the exercise habits in a mountainous area population. Data were collected from a cross-sectional study conducted during 2012–2013. QUS value was expressed as a proportion of the young adult mean (%YAM), with higher scores donating better bone status. After excluding subjects with missing data, we analyzed the data for 321 men and 500 women. Our results indicate that %YAM was not associated with elevation among men, or among women with exercise habits. However, elevation was associated with %YAM among women without exercise habits. Our results highlight the importance of considering residential environment and exercise habits when establishing promotion strategies to maintain bone status of the elderly people who live in rural mountainous areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Toxicity and Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals in Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) Grown in a Controlled Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7400-7416; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707400
Received: 20 April 2015 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract
The impact of heavy metal toxicity on the shoot and root lengths, total protein, fiber characteristics, moisture content and nutrient composition of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) was evaluated. Plants were grown in pots containing soil and treated with different concentrations (mg/kg) of
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The impact of heavy metal toxicity on the shoot and root lengths, total protein, fiber characteristics, moisture content and nutrient composition of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) was evaluated. Plants were grown in pots containing soil and treated with different concentrations (mg/kg) of lead (Pb; 300, 400 and 500), cadmium (Cd; 0.5, 1 and 1.5) and zinc (Zn; 250, 500, and 700) as well as mixtures of Cd and Pb (0.5/300, 1/400, 1.5/500), Cd and Zn (0.5/250, 1/500, 1.5/700), and Pb and Zn (300/250, 400/500, 500/700). Soil contaminated by long-term irrigation with wastewater containing heavy metals was simulated. An increase in concentrations of heavy metals both individually and as mixtures significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the growth parameters and nutrient contents of S. oleracea. The uptake patterns of heavy metals in mixtures showed antagonistic impacts on each other. The toxicities of the mixtures Cd and Pb, Cd and Zn as well as Pb and Zn were higher than those observed in separate heavy metal applications but less than their additive sums. The toxicity caused by individual heavy metals was the highest for Cd followed by Pb and Zn. The highest toxicity was observed in plants grown in soil contaminated by Cd and Pb. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sexual Health of Polish Athletes with Disabilities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7417-7429; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707417
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 13 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine sexual functioning of Polish athletes with disabilities (including paralympians). The study encompassed 218 people with physical disabilities, aged between 18 and 45 (149 men and 69 women). The entire research population was divided into three
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The purpose of this study was to determine sexual functioning of Polish athletes with disabilities (including paralympians). The study encompassed 218 people with physical disabilities, aged between 18 and 45 (149 men and 69 women). The entire research population was divided into three groups: Polish paralympians (n = 45), athletes with disabilities (n = 126) and non-athletes with disabilities (n = 47). The quality of sexual life of Polish paralympians was measured by using the Polish version of Female Sexual Function Index and International Index of Erectile Function. Clinically significant erectile dysfunctions were most often diagnosed in non-athletes (83.33%) with 50% result of severe erectile dysfunctions, followed by athletes and paralympians with comparable results of 56.98% and 54.17% respectively (p = 0.00388). Statistically significant clinical sexual dysfunctions concerned lubrication, orgasm as well as pain domains, and prevailed among female non-athletes (68.42%, 68.42% and 57.89%). Practising sports at the highest level has a favourable effect on the sexuality of men and women with physical disabilities. Men with physical disabilities manifest more sexual disorders than women, an aspect which should be considered by health-care professionals working with people with disabilities. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Two-Year Monitoring of Water Samples from Dam of Iskar and the Black Sea, Bulgaria, by Molecular Analysis: Focus on Mycobacterium spp.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7430-7443; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707430
Received: 25 March 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract
The coast of the Bulgarian Black Sea is a popular summer holiday destination. The Dam of Iskar is the largest artificial dam in Bulgaria, with a capacity of 675 million m3. It is the main source of tap water for the
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The coast of the Bulgarian Black Sea is a popular summer holiday destination. The Dam of Iskar is the largest artificial dam in Bulgaria, with a capacity of 675 million m3. It is the main source of tap water for the capital Sofia and for irrigating the surrounding valley. There is a close relationship between the quality of aquatic ecosystems and human health as many infections are waterborne. Rapid molecular methods for the analysis of highly pathogenic bacteria have been developed for monitoring quality. Mycobacterial species can be isolated from waste, surface, recreational, ground and tap waters and human pathogenicity of nontuberculose mycobacteria (NTM) is well recognized. The objective of our study was to perform molecular analysis for key-pathogens, with a focus on mycobacteria, in water samples collected from the Black Sea and the Dam of Iskar. In a two year period, 38 water samples were collected—24 from the Dam of Iskar and 14 from the Black Sea coastal zone. Fifty liter water samples were concentrated by ultrafiltration. Molecular analysis for 15 pathogens, including all species of genus Mycobacterium was performed. Our results showed presence of Vibrio spp. in the Black Sea. Rotavirus A was also identified in four samples from the Dam of Iskar. Toxigenic Escherichia coli was present in both locations, based on markers for stx1 and stx2 genes. No detectable amounts of Cryptosporidium were detected in either location using immunomagnetic separation and fluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, mass spectrometry analyses did not detect key cyanobacterial toxins. On the basis of the results obtained we can conclude that for the period 2012–2014 no Mycobacterium species were present in the water samples. During the study period no cases of waterborne infections were reported. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparison of the Cumulative Incidence Rates of Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis between 1970 and 2013 among Four State-Owned Colliery Groups in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7444-7456; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707444
Received: 12 May 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to identify differences in the incidence characteristics of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) based on data from four large state-owned colliery groups of China, by comparing the cumulative incidence rates of CWP. We investigated 87,904 coal workers from
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The purpose of this study was to identify differences in the incidence characteristics of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) based on data from four large state-owned colliery groups of China, by comparing the cumulative incidence rates of CWP. We investigated 87,904 coal workers from the Datong, Kailuan, Fuxin, and Tiefa Colliery Groups, who were exposed to dust for at least 1 year. The cumulative incidence rate of CWP was calculated with the life-table method and stratified analysis among coal workers with different occupational categories during different years of first dust exposure. Our results showed the cumulative incidence rate of Datong was higher than that of any other colliery group among workers with different occupational categories during different years of first dust exposure. For Datong workers who started their dust exposure in the 1970s, the cumulative incidence rates of CWP among tunneling, mining, combining, and helping workers were 34.77%, 10.20%, 34.59%, and 4.91% during the observed time of 34 years, respectively. For those in the 1980s, the cumulative incidence rates were 32.29%, 13.51%, 2.98%, and 0.47%, respectively. The cumulative incidence rates of Fuxin and Tiefa were the lowest. In conclusion, the Datong colliery has the highest cumulative incidence rate of CWP among the four studied collieries, followed by Kailuan. The cumulative incidence rates of Fuxin and Tiefa were the lowest. Additional dust-proofing measures for decreasing dust concentrations are still necessary. Full article
Open AccessArticle Irrigation Water Quality for Leafy Crops: A Perspective of Risks and Potential Solutions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7457-7477; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707457
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 3 July 2015
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is increasing evidence of the contribution of irrigation water in the contamination of produce leading to subsequent outbreaks of foodborne illness. This is a particular risk in the production of leafy vegetables that will be eaten raw without cooking. Retailers selling leafy
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There is increasing evidence of the contribution of irrigation water in the contamination of produce leading to subsequent outbreaks of foodborne illness. This is a particular risk in the production of leafy vegetables that will be eaten raw without cooking. Retailers selling leafy vegetables are increasingly targeting zero-risk production systems and the associated requirements for irrigation water quality have become more stringent in regulations and quality assurance schemes (QAS) followed by growers. Growers can identify water sources that are contaminated with potential pathogens through a monitoring regime and only use water free of pathogens, but the low prevalence of pathogens makes the use of faecal indicators, particularly E. coli, a more practical approach. Where growers have to utilise water sources of moderate quality, they can reduce the risk of contamination of the edible portion of the crop (i.e., the leaves) by treating irrigation water before use through physical or chemical disinfection systems, or avoid contact between the leaves and irrigation water through the use of drip or furrow irrigation, or the use of hydroponic growing systems. This study gives an overview of the main problems in the production of leafy vegetables associated with irrigation water, including microbial risk and difficulties in water monitoring, compliance with evolving regulations and quality standards, and summarises the current alternatives available for growers to reduce microbial risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety)
Open AccessArticle Increased Long-Term Mortality among Black CABG Patients Receiving Preoperative Inotropic Agents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7478-7490; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707478
Received: 28 December 2014 / Revised: 13 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 February 2015 / Published: 6 July 2015
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to examine racial differences in long-term mortality after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), stratified by preoperative use of inotropic agents. Black and white patients who required preoperative inotropic support prior to undergoing CABG procedures between 1992 and
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The aim of this study was to examine racial differences in long-term mortality after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), stratified by preoperative use of inotropic agents. Black and white patients who required preoperative inotropic support prior to undergoing CABG procedures between 1992 and 2011 were compared. Mortality probabilities were computed using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using a Cox regression model. A total of 15,765 patients underwent CABG, of whom 211 received preoperative inotropic agents within 48 hours of surgery. Long-term mortality differed by race (black versus white) among preoperative inotropic category (inotropes: adjusted HR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.009–2.4; no inotropes: adjusted HR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.08–1.2; Pinteraction < 0.0001). Our study identified an independent preoperative risk-factor for long-term mortality among blacks receiving CABG. This outcome provides information that may be useful for surgeons, primary care providers, and their patients. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Acute Ingestion of Native Banana Starch on Glycemic Response Evaluated by Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Obese and Lean Subjects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7491-7505; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707491
Received: 3 December 2014 / Accepted: 2 February 2015 / Published: 6 July 2015
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Abstract
An abnormal glycemic profile, including postprandial glycemia and acute glucose spikes, precedes the onset of overt diabetes in obese subjects. Previous studies have shown the beneficial effects of chronic native banana starch (NBS) supplementation. In this study, we examined the effects of acute
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An abnormal glycemic profile, including postprandial glycemia and acute glucose spikes, precedes the onset of overt diabetes in obese subjects. Previous studies have shown the beneficial effects of chronic native banana starch (NBS) supplementation. In this study, we examined the effects of acute ingestion of NBS on glycemic profiles by means of continuous glucose monitoring in obese and lean subjects. In a crossover study, obese and lean subjects consumed beverages containing either 38.3 g of NBS or 38.3 g of digestible corn starch (DCS) twice daily during 4 days. On day 5, a 3-h meal tolerance test (MTT) was performed to evaluate glucose and insulin responses. After 1 week of washout period, treatments were inverted. NBS supplementation reduced the 48-h glycemia AUC in lean, obese, and in the combined group of lean and obese subjects in comparison with DCS. Postprandial glucose and insulin responses at MTT were reduced after NBS in comparison with DCS in all groups. However, no changes were observed in glycemic variability (GV) indexes between groups. In conclusion, acute NBS supplementation improved postprandial glucose and insulin responses in obese and lean subjects during 48 h of everyday life and at MTT. Further research to elucidate the mechanism behind these changes is required. Full article
Open AccessArticle The AhR Ligand, TCDD, Regulates Androgen Receptor Activity Differently in Androgen-Sensitive versus Castration-Resistant Human Prostate Cancer Cells
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7506-7518; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707506
Received: 31 December 2014 / Revised: 3 March 2015 / Accepted: 11 March 2015 / Published: 6 July 2015
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Abstract
The reported biological effects of TCDD include induction of drug metabolizing enzymes, wasting syndrome and tumor promotion. TCDD elicits most of its effects through binding the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). TCDD induced degradation of AhR has been widely reported and requires ubiquitination of
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The reported biological effects of TCDD include induction of drug metabolizing enzymes, wasting syndrome and tumor promotion. TCDD elicits most of its effects through binding the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). TCDD induced degradation of AhR has been widely reported and requires ubiquitination of the protein. The rapid depletion of AhR following TCDD activation serves as a mechanism to modulate AhR mediated gene induction. In addition to inducing AhR degradation, TCDD has been reported to induce degradation of hormone receptors. The studies reported here, evaluate the effect of TCDD exposure on androgen receptor (AR) expression and activity in androgen-sensitive LNCaP and castration-resistant C4-2 prostate cancer cells. Our results show that TCDD exposure does not induce AhR or AR degradation in C4-2 cells. However, both AhR and AR are degraded in LNCaP cells following TCDD exposure. In addition, TCDD enhances AR phosphorylation and induces expression of AR responsive genes in LNCaP cells. Our data reveals that TCDD effect on AR expression and activity differs in androgen-sensitive and castration-resistant prostate cancer cell models. Full article
Open AccessArticle Indoor Particulate Matter Concentration, Water Boiling Time, and Fuel Use of Selected Alternative Cookstoves in a Home-Like Setting in Rural Nepal
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7558-7581; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707558
Received: 17 February 2015 / Revised: 6 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract
Alternative cookstoves are designed to improve biomass fuel combustion efficiency to reduce the amount of fuel used and lower emission of air pollutants. The Nepal Cookstove Trial (NCT) studies effects of alternative cookstoves on family health. Our study measured indoor particulate matter concentration
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Alternative cookstoves are designed to improve biomass fuel combustion efficiency to reduce the amount of fuel used and lower emission of air pollutants. The Nepal Cookstove Trial (NCT) studies effects of alternative cookstoves on family health. Our study measured indoor particulate matter concentration (PM2.5), boiling time, and fuel use of cookstoves during a water-boiling test in a house-like setting in rural Nepal. Study I was designed to select a stove to be used in the NCT; Study II evaluated stoves used in the NCT. In Study I, mean indoor PM2.5 using wood fuel was 4584 μg/m3, 1657 μg/m3, and 2414 μg/m3 for the traditional, alternative mud brick stove (AMBS-I) and Envirofit G-series, respectively. The AMBS-I reduced PM2.5 concentration but increased boiling time compared to the traditional stove (p-values < 0.001). Unlike AMBS-I, Envirofit G-series did not significantly increase overall fuel consumption. In Phase II, the manufacturer altered Envirofit stove (MAES) and Nepal Nutrition Intervention Project Sarlahi (NNIPS) altered Envirofit stove (NAES), produced lower mean PM2.5, 1573 μg/m3 and 1341 μg/m3, respectively, relative to AMBS-II 3488 μg/m3 for wood tests. The liquid propane gas stove had the lowest mean PM2.5 concentrations, with measurements indistinguishable from background levels. Results from Study I and II showed significant reduction in PM2.5 for all alternative stoves in a controlled setting. In study I, the AMBS-I stove required more fuel than the traditional stove. In contrast, in study II, the MAES and NAES stoves required statistically less fuel than the AMBS-II. Reductions and increases in fuel use should be interpreted with caution because the composition of fuels was not standardized—an issue which may have implications for generalizability of other findings as well. Boiling times for alternative stoves in Study I were significantly longer than the traditional stove—a trade-off that may have implications for acceptability of the stoves among end users. These extended cooking times may increase cumulative exposure during cooking events where emission rates are lower; these differences must be carefully considered in the evaluation of alternative stove designs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality: Exposures and Occupant Health)
Open AccessArticle Seminal Shedding of CMV and HIV Transmission among Men Who Have Sex with Men
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7585-7592; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707585
Received: 27 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract
As in many urban areas in the United States, the largest burden of the HIV epidemic in San Diego is borne by men who have sex with men (MSM). Using data from well-characterized HIV transmitting and non-transmitting partner pairs of MSM in San
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As in many urban areas in the United States, the largest burden of the HIV epidemic in San Diego is borne by men who have sex with men (MSM). Using data from well-characterized HIV transmitting and non-transmitting partner pairs of MSM in San Diego, we calculated the population attributable risk (PAR) of HIV transmissions for different co-infections common among MSM in this area. We found that over a third of HIV transmissions could be potentially attributed to genital shedding of cytomegalovirus (CMV) (111 transmission events), compared to 21% potentially attributed to bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STI) (62 events) and 17% to herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) (51 events). Although our study cannot infer causality between the described associations and is limited in sample size, these results suggest that interventions aimed at reducing CMV shedding might be an attractive HIV prevention strategy in populations with high prevalence of CMV co-infection. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Critical Evaluation of Waste Incineration Plants in Wuhan (China) Based on Site Selection, Environmental Influence, Public Health and Public Participation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7593-7614; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707593
Received: 13 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the rapid development of the waste incineration industry in China, top priority has been given to the problem of pollution caused by waste incineration. This study is the first attempt to assess all the waste incineration plants in Wuhan, the only national
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With the rapid development of the waste incineration industry in China, top priority has been given to the problem of pollution caused by waste incineration. This study is the first attempt to assess all the waste incineration plants in Wuhan, the only national key city in central China, in terms of environmental impact, site selection, public health and public participation. By using a multi-criterion assessment model for economic, social, public health and environmental effects, this study indicates these incineration plants are established without much consideration of the local residents’ health and environment. A location analysis is also applied and some influences of waste incineration plants are illustrated. This study further introduces a signaling game model to prove that public participation is a necessary condition for improving the environmental impact assessment and increasing total welfare of different interest groups in China. This study finally offers some corresponding recommendations for improving the environmental impact assessments of waste incineration projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Assessments of Drought Impacts on Vegetation in China with the Optimal Time Scales of the Climatic Drought Index
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7615-7634; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707615
Received: 8 May 2015 / Revised: 20 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
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Abstract
Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity due to global warming, and its impacts on vegetation are typically extensively evaluated with climatic drought indices, such as multi-scalar Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). We analyzed the covariation between the SPEIs of various
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Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity due to global warming, and its impacts on vegetation are typically extensively evaluated with climatic drought indices, such as multi-scalar Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). We analyzed the covariation between the SPEIs of various time scales and the anomalies of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), from which the vegetation type-related optimal time scales were retrieved. The results indicated that the optimal time scales of needle-leaved forest, broadleaf forest and shrubland were between 10 and 12 months, which were considerably longer than the grassland, meadow and cultivated vegetation ones (2 to 4 months). When the optimal vegetation type-related time scales were used, the SPEI could better reflect the vegetation’s responses to water conditions, with the correlation coefficients between SPEIs and NDVI anomalies increased by 5.88% to 28.4%. We investigated the spatio-temporal characteristics of drought and quantified the different responses of vegetation growth to drought during the growing season (April–October). The results revealed that the frequency of drought has increased in the 21st century with the drying trend occurring in most of China. These results are useful for ecological assessments and adapting management steps to mitigate the impact of drought on vegetation. They are helpful to employ water resources more efficiently and reduce potential damage to human health caused by water shortages. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Successful Nicotine Intake in Medical Assisted Use of E-Cigarettes: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7638-7646; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707638
Received: 29 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 26 June 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (687 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The electronic cigarette (e-cig) has gained popularity as an aid in smoking cessation programs mainly because it maintains the gestures and rituals of tobacco smoking. However, it has been shown in inexperienced e-cig users that ineffective nicotine delivery can cause tobacco craving that
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The electronic cigarette (e-cig) has gained popularity as an aid in smoking cessation programs mainly because it maintains the gestures and rituals of tobacco smoking. However, it has been shown in inexperienced e-cig users that ineffective nicotine delivery can cause tobacco craving that could be responsible for unsuccessful smoking reduction/cessation. Moreover, the incorrect use of an e-cig could also led to potential nicotine overdosage and intoxication. Medically assisted training on the proper use of an e-cig plus behavioral support for tobacco dependence could be a pivotal step in avoiding both issues. We performed an eight-month pilot study of adult smokers who started e-cig use after receiving a multi-component medically assisted training program with monitoring of nicotine intake as a biomarker of correct e-cig use. Participants were tested during follow-up for breath carbon monoxide (CO), plasma cotinine and trans-3’-hydroxycotinine, and number of tobacco cigarettes smoked. At the end of the first, fourth, and eighth month of follow-up, 91.1, 73.5, and 76.5% of participants respectively were e-cig users (‘only e-cig’ and ‘dual users’). They showed no significant variation in plasma cotinine and trans-3’-hydroxycotinine with respect to the start of the study when they smoked only tobacco cigarettes, but a significant reduction in breath CO. The proposed medically assisted training program of e-cig use led to a successful nicotine intake, lack of typical cigarette craving and overdosage symptoms and a significant decrease in the biomarker of cigarette combustion products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control 2015)
Open AccessArticle The Prevalence of Dry Eye Syndrome’s and the Likelihood to Develop Sjögren’s Syndrome in Taiwan: A Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7647-7655; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707647
Received: 29 March 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (816 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is one of the key clinical features and possibly an early clinical presentation of Sjögren’s syndrome (SS). We explore DES prevalence and assess the likelihood of DES patients to develop SS in Taiwan through the National Health
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Background: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is one of the key clinical features and possibly an early clinical presentation of Sjögren’s syndrome (SS). We explore DES prevalence and assess the likelihood of DES patients to develop SS in Taiwan through the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). Methods: Through a cohort comparison study, longitudinal data from the NHIRD (2000 to 2008) in Taiwan was used to probe the prevalence of DES and the odds that DES patients would later develop SS. Results: The prevalence of DES in the present study is 4.87%. The incidence rates of developing SS were 4.8% for the DES group and 1.5% for comparison group. The median age and interquartile range of DES and comparison patients was 49.8 (10) and 48.7 (15) years old, respectively. The crude hazard ratio (with 95% confidence interval) for DES patients to develop SS was 3.13 (3.10–3.50) for the DES group, and the adjusted hazard ratio (with 95% confidence interval) was 3.64 (3.43–3.87). The observation period and interquartile range for DES and comparison patients to develop SS later were 1418 (781–2316) versus 1641 (971–2512) days respectively. Conclusions: DES patients carried a higher risk for developing SS (hazard ratio 3.13) and presented for SS 3.88 years earlier than comparison group patients in this study. Full article
Open AccessArticle Do Motives to Undertake Physical Activity Relate to Physical Activity in Adolescent Boys and Girls?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7656-7666; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707656
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 30 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (704 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Low levels of physical activity (PA) during adolescence contribute to obesity and poor health outcomes in adolescence, and these associations endure into adulthood. The aim of this study was to assess the associations between motives for PA and the level of PA among
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Low levels of physical activity (PA) during adolescence contribute to obesity and poor health outcomes in adolescence, and these associations endure into adulthood. The aim of this study was to assess the associations between motives for PA and the level of PA among adolescent boys and girls. We obtained data regarding motives for PA and frequency of PA in 2010 via the Health Behavior in School-aged Children cross-sectional study in the Czech and Slovak Republics (n = 9018, mean age = 13.6, 49% boys). Respondents answered questions about their motives for PA and the frequency of their PA. Motives for PA were assessed using 13 items, which were structured in four groups. We explored the association between the motives for PA and sufficient PA using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models adjusted for age, and separately for boys and girls. “Good child” motives and Achievement motives were significantly associated with sufficient PA among both boys and girls. Health motives were associated with sufficient PA only among boys, and Social motives were associated with sufficient PA only among girls. Motives for PA were associated with the level of PA, and this association was partially gender dependent. These gender differences should be considered in interventions focusing on enhancement of PA. Full article
Open AccessArticle Secondary Particulate Matter Originating from an Industrial Source and Its Impact on Population Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7667-7681; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707667
Received: 13 May 2015 / Revised: 22 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
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Abstract
Epidemiological studies have reported adverse associations between long-term exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM2.5) and several health outcomes. One issue in this field is exposure assessment and, in particular, the role of secondary PM2.5, often neglected in environmental and
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Epidemiological studies have reported adverse associations between long-term exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM2.5) and several health outcomes. One issue in this field is exposure assessment and, in particular, the role of secondary PM2.5, often neglected in environmental and health risk assessment. Thus, the aim of this work was to evaluate the long-term environmental and health impact of primary and secondary PM2.5 concentrations originating from a single industrial source. As a case study, we considered a coal power plant which is a large emitter of both primary PM2.5 and secondary PM2.5 precursors. PM2.5 concentrations were estimated using the Calpuff dispersion model. The health impact was expressed in terms of number of non-accidental deaths potentially attributable to the power plant. Results showed that the estimated secondary PM2.5 extended over a larger area than that related to primary PM2.5 with maximum concentration values of the two components well separated in space. Exposure to secondary PM2.5 increased significantly the estimated number of annual attributable non-accidental deaths. Our study indicates that the impact of secondary PM2.5 may be relevant also at local scale and ought to be considered when estimating the impact of industrial emissions on population health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Levels of Urbanization and Parental Education in Relation to the Mortality Risk of Young Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7682-7696; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707682
Received: 20 May 2015 / Revised: 23 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
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Abstract
Background: The establishment of the National Health Insurance program in Taiwan in 1995 effectively removed the financial barrier to access health care services of Taiwanese people. This population-based cohort study aimed to determine the independent and joint effects of parental education and
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Background: The establishment of the National Health Insurance program in Taiwan in 1995 effectively removed the financial barrier to access health care services of Taiwanese people. This population-based cohort study aimed to determine the independent and joint effects of parental education and area urbanization on the mortality risk among children under the universal health insurance coverage in Taiwan since 1995. Methods: We linked 1,501,620 births from 1996 to 2000 to the Taiwan Death Registry to estimate the neonatal, infant, and under-five mortality rates, according to the levels of parental education and urbanization of residential areas. We used a logistic regression model that considers data clustering to estimate the independent and joint effects. Results: Lower levels of parental education and area urbanization exerted an independent effect of mortality on young children, with a stronger magnitude noted for areas with lower levels of urbanization. Children whose parents had lower levels of education and who were born in areas with lower levels of urbanization experienced the highest risk for neonatal (odds ratio (OR) = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.46–1.76), infant (OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.48–1.70), and under-five (OR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.61–1.82) mortality. Conclusions: Even with universal health insurance coverage, lower levels of area urbanization and parental education still exerted independent and joint effects on mortality in young children. This finding implies the inadequate accessibility to health care resources for children from socially disadvantaged families and less urbanized areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Indoor Air Quality in Urban and Rural Preschools in Upper Silesia, Poland: Particulate Matter and Carbon Dioxide
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7697-7711; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707697
Received: 22 April 2015 / Revised: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
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Abstract
Indoor air quality (IAQ) in preschools is an important public health challenge. Particular attention should be paid to younger children, because they are more vulnerable to air pollution than higher grade children and because they spend more time indoors. Among air pollutants, particulate
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Indoor air quality (IAQ) in preschools is an important public health challenge. Particular attention should be paid to younger children, because they are more vulnerable to air pollution than higher grade children and because they spend more time indoors. Among air pollutants, particulate matter (PM) is of the greatest interest mainly due to its acute and chronic effects on children’s health. In addition, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels indicate ventilation conditions. In this paper, we present the concentrations of PM (PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and total—TSP) and CO2 monitored in four naturally ventilated nursery schools located in the area of Gliwice, Poland. The nursery schools were selected to characterize areas with different degrees of urbanization and traffic densities during the winter season. The results indicate the problem of elevated concentrations of PM inside the examined classrooms, as well as that of high levels of CO2 exceeding 1000 ppm in relation to outdoor air. The characteristics of IAQ were significantly different, both in terms of classroom occupation (younger or older children) and of localization (urban or rural). To evaluate the children’s exposure to poor IAQ, indicators based on air quality guidelines were proposed to rank classrooms according to their hazard on the health of children. Full article
Open AccessArticle Waist Circumferences of Chilean Students: Comparison of the CDC-2012 Standard and Proposed Percentile Curves
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7712-7724; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707712
Received: 3 June 2015 / Revised: 21 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
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Abstract
The measurement of waist circumference (WC) is considered to be an important means to control overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. The objectives of the study were to (a) compare the WC measurements of Chilean students with the international CDC-2012 standard and
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The measurement of waist circumference (WC) is considered to be an important means to control overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. The objectives of the study were to (a) compare the WC measurements of Chilean students with the international CDC-2012 standard and other international standards, and (b) propose a specific measurement value for the WC of Chilean students based on age and sex. A total of 3892 students (6 to 18 years old) were assessed. Weight, height, body mass index (BMI), and WC were measured. WC was compared with the CDC-2012 international standard. Percentiles were constructed based on the LMS method. Chilean males had a greater WC during infancy. Subsequently, in late adolescence, males showed values lower than those of the international standards. Chilean females demonstrated values similar to the standards until the age of 12. Subsequently, females showed lower values. The 85th and 95th percentiles were adopted as cutoff points for evaluating overweight and obesity based on age and sex. The WC of Chilean students differs from the CDC-2012 curves. The regional norms proposed are a means to identify children and adolescents with a high risk of suffering from overweight and obesity disorders. Full article
Open AccessArticle Difference in Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Responses Induced in THP1 Cells by Particulate Matter Collected on Days with and without ASIAN Dust Storms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7725-7737; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707725
Received: 27 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
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Abstract
The associations between particulate matter from Asian dust storms (ADS) and health disorders differ among studies, and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, ADS and non-ADS particles were tested for their potential to induce pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with adverse respiratory effects.
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The associations between particulate matter from Asian dust storms (ADS) and health disorders differ among studies, and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, ADS and non-ADS particles were tested for their potential to induce pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with adverse respiratory effects. Particulate matter was collected in Japan during four periods in 2013 (2 × ADS periods; 2 × non-ADS). THP1 cells were exposed to this particulate matter, and the levels of various interleukins (ILs), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were measured. Levels of IL-2 increased significantly following exposure to all particulate matter samples (compared to levels in a solvent control). Increased levels of IL-10 and TNF-α were also observed following exposure to particles collected during three (one ADS and two non-ADS) and two (one ADS and one non-ADS) collection periods, respectively. Thus, the effects of particulate matter on cytokine responses differed according to collection period, and the effects of ADS particles differed for each ADS event. Additionally, the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines induced by ADS particles were not always higher than those induced by non-ADS particles. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Optimization Model for Expired Drug Recycling Logistics Networks and Government Subsidy Policy Design Based on Tri-level Programming
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7738-7751; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707738
Received: 15 May 2015 / Revised: 19 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
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Abstract
In order to recycle and dispose of all people’s expired drugs, the government should design a subsidy policy to stimulate users to return their expired drugs, and drug-stores should take the responsibility of recycling expired drugs, in other words, to be recycling stations.
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In order to recycle and dispose of all people’s expired drugs, the government should design a subsidy policy to stimulate users to return their expired drugs, and drug-stores should take the responsibility of recycling expired drugs, in other words, to be recycling stations. For this purpose it is necessary for the government to select the right recycling stations and treatment stations to optimize the expired drug recycling logistics network and minimize the total costs of recycling and disposal. This paper establishes a tri-level programming model to study how the government can optimize an expired drug recycling logistics network and the appropriate subsidy policies. Furthermore, a Hybrid Genetic Simulated Annealing Algorithm (HGSAA) is proposed to search for the optimal solution of the model. An experiment is discussed to illustrate the good quality of the recycling logistics network and government subsides obtained by the HGSAA. The HGSAA is proven to have the ability to converge on the global optimal solution, and to act as an effective algorithm for solving the optimization problem of expired drug recycling logistics network and government subsidies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Short-Term Effects of Fine Particulate Matter and Temperature on Lung Function among Healthy College Students in Wuhan, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7777-7793; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707777
Received: 15 May 2015 / Revised: 2 July 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1153 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ambient fine particulate matter (PM) has been associated with impaired lung function, but the effect of temperature on lung function and the potential interaction effect between PM and temperature remain uncertain. To estimate the short-term effects of PM2.5 combined with temperature on
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Ambient fine particulate matter (PM) has been associated with impaired lung function, but the effect of temperature on lung function and the potential interaction effect between PM and temperature remain uncertain. To estimate the short-term effects of PM2.5 combined with temperature on lung function, we measured the daily peak expiratory flow (PEF) in a panel of 37 healthy college students in four different seasons. Meanwhile, we also monitored daily concentrations of indoor and outdoor PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 μm), ambient temperature and relative humidity of the study area, where the study participants lived and attended school. Associations of air pollutants and temperature with lung function were assessed by generalized estimating equations (GEEs). A 10 μg/m3 increase of indoor PM2.5 was associated with a change of −2.09 L/min in evening PEF (95%CI: −3.73 L/min–−0.51 L/min) after adjusting for season, height, gender, temperature and relative humidity. The changes of −2.17 L/min (95%CI: −3.81 L/min– −0.52 L/min) and −2.18 L/min (95%CI: −3.96 L/min–−0.41 L/min) in evening PEF were also observed after adjusting for outdoor SO2 and NO2 measured by Environmental Monitoring Center 3 kilometers away, respectively. An increase in ambient temperature was found to be associated with a decrease in lung function and our results revealed a small but significant antagonistic interactive effect between PM2.5 and temperature. Our findings suggest that ambient PM2.5 has an acute adverse effect on lung function in young healthy adults, and that temperature also plays an important role. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) on the Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Dairy Manure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7794-7803; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707794
Received: 6 March 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
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Abstract
Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EcO157) shed in cattle manure can survive for extended periods of time and intervention strategies to control this pathogen at the source are critical as produce crops are often grown in proximity to animal raising operations. This study evaluated whether
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Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EcO157) shed in cattle manure can survive for extended periods of time and intervention strategies to control this pathogen at the source are critical as produce crops are often grown in proximity to animal raising operations. This study evaluated whether neem (Azadirachta indica), known for its antimicrobial and insecticidal properties, can be used to amend manure to control EcO157. The influence of neem materials (leaf, bark, and oil) on the survival of an apple juice outbreak strain of EcO157 in dairy manure was monitored. Neem leaf and bark supplements eliminated the pathogen in less than 10 d with a D-value (days for 90% elimination) of 1.3 d. In contrast, nearly 4 log CFU EcO157/g remained after 10 d in neem-free manure control. The ethyl acetate extractable fraction of neem leaves was inhibitory to the growth of EcO157 in LB broth. Azadirachtin, a neem product with insect antifeedant properties, failed to inhibit EcO157. Application of inexpensive neem supplements to control pathogens in manure and possibly in produce fields may be an option for controlling the transfer of foodborne pathogens from farm to fork. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety)
Open AccessArticle Retrospective Investigation of a Lead Poisoning Outbreak from the Consumption of an Ayurvedic Medicine: Durban, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7804-7813; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707804
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 12 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ayurvedic medicines have been gaining in popularity around the world in recent decades, but have also been associated with lead contamination and poisoning. In 2012 in Durban, South Africa, a lead poisoning outbreak among adolescents was associated with the consumption of an Ayurvedic
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Ayurvedic medicines have been gaining in popularity around the world in recent decades, but have also been associated with lead contamination and poisoning. In 2012 in Durban, South Africa, a lead poisoning outbreak among adolescents was associated with the consumption of an Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of skin conditions. In 2014 eight individuals (out of 12 affected) were traced and interviewed. Questionnaires were administered; blood samples were taken for lead content analysis; and medical records were reviewed. Samples of the implicated medicines were analyzed to determine lead levels. Blood lead levels during the acute phase ranged from 34 to 116 µg/dL; and during the current study (two years later) from 13 to 34 µg/dL. The implicated lead capsules had a lead content of 125,235 µg/g. Participants suffered a wide range of non-specific ill health symptoms; and there was a significant delay in the diagnosis of lead poisoning. This study highlights the potential for lead poisoning outbreaks from the consumption of Ayurvedic medicines in African settings. There were weaknesses with regard to the diagnosis of and response to the outbreak, for which measures need to be put in place to ensure greater awareness of the role of Ayurvedic medicine in lead poisoning, and prompt diagnosis and treatment of future cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lead: Risk Assessment and Health Effects)
Open AccessArticle A Randomized Cross-over Air Filtration Intervention Trial for Reducing Cardiovascular Health Risks in Residents of Public Housing near a Highway
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7814-7838; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707814
Received: 22 January 2015 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
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Abstract
Exposure to traffic-generated ultrafine particles (UFP; particles <100 nm) is likely a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We conducted a trial of high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration in public housing near a highway. Twenty residents in 19 apartments living <200 m from the
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Exposure to traffic-generated ultrafine particles (UFP; particles <100 nm) is likely a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We conducted a trial of high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration in public housing near a highway. Twenty residents in 19 apartments living <200 m from the highway participated in a randomized, double-blind crossover trial. A HEPA filter unit and a particle counter (measuring particle number concentration (PNC), a proxy for UFP) were installed in living rooms. Participants were exposed to filtered air for 21 days and unfiltered air for 21 days. Blood samples were collected and blood pressure measured at days 0, 21 and 42 after a 12-hour fasting period. Plasma was analyzed for high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha-receptor II (TNF-RII) and fibrinogen. PNC reductions ranging from 21% to 68% were recorded in 15 of the apartments. We observed no significant differences in blood pressure or three of the four biomarkers (hsCRP, fibrinogen, and TNF-RII) measured in participants after 21-day exposure to HEPA-filtered air compared to measurements after 21-day exposure to sham-filtered air. In contrast, IL-6 concentrations were significantly higher following HEPA filtration (0.668 pg/mL; CI = 0.465–0.959) compared to sham filtration. Likewise, PNC adjusted for time activity were associated with increasing IL-6 in 14- and 21-day moving averages, and PNC was associated with decreasing blood pressure in Lags 0, 1 and 2, and in a 3-day moving average. These negative associations were unexpected and could be due to a combination of factors including exposure misclassification, unsuccessful randomization (i.e., IL-6 and use of anti-inflammatory medicines), or uncontrolled confounding. Studies with greater reduction in UFP levels and larger sample sizes are needed. There also needs to be more complete assessment of resident time activity and of outdoor vs. indoor source contributions to UFP exposure. HEPA filtration remains a promising, but not fully realized intervention. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effects of Storm Runoff on Water Quality and the Coping Strategy of a Deep Canyon-Shaped Source Water Reservoir in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7839-7855; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707839
Received: 7 May 2015 / Revised: 2 July 2015 / Accepted: 3 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
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Abstract
Storm runoff events in the flooding season affect the water quality of reservoirs and increase risks to the water supply, but coping strategies have seldom been reported. The phenomenon of turbid current intrusion resulting in water turbidity and anoxic conditions reappearing after storm
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Storm runoff events in the flooding season affect the water quality of reservoirs and increase risks to the water supply, but coping strategies have seldom been reported. The phenomenon of turbid current intrusion resulting in water turbidity and anoxic conditions reappearing after storm runoff, resulting in the deterioration of water quality, was observed in the flooding season in the deep canyon-shaped Heihe Reservoir. The objective of this work was to elucidate the effects of storm runoff on the Heihe Reservoir water quality and find a coping strategy. In this study, an intensive sampling campaign measuring water temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, nutrients, and metals were conducted in the reservoir over a period of two years, and the water-lifting aerators were improved to achieve single aeration and a full layer of mixing and oxygenation functions using different volumes of gas. The operation of the improved water-lifting aerators mixed the reservoir three months ahead of the natural mixing time, and good water quality was maintained during the induced mixing period, thereby extending the good water quality period. The results can provide an effective coping strategy to improve the water quality of a source water reservoir and ensure the safety of drinking water. Full article
Open AccessArticle Prevalence Characteristics of Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP) in a State-Owned Mine in Eastern China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7856-7867; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707856
Received: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP) is the primary occupational disease in China. However, information about the definite prevalence of CWP is only partially available. The aims of our study were to assess the prevalence characteristics of CWP in a state-owned coal mine, evaluate the
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Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP) is the primary occupational disease in China. However, information about the definite prevalence of CWP is only partially available. The aims of our study were to assess the prevalence characteristics of CWP in a state-owned coal mine, evaluate the effects of control measures and develop further preventive strategies for CWP. The total study population included 495 cases who were diagnosed with CWP from the construction of this coal mine to the end of October 2014. Individuals’ information, including duration of dust exposure, job titles, age as first diagnosis, stages of CWP, CWP progress, complications with pulmonary tuberculosis, death and others were collected and analyzed. The results showed that 71.11% of 495 CWP cases were stage I and 90.71% were involved in tunneling or coal mining. The mean dust exposure period in CWP patients was 26.7 years, the mean latent period was 29.3 years and the mean diagnosed age was 50.3 years old. The proportion of CWP diagnosed after ending dust exposure were remarkably increased with the time passing. Among the CWP cases, 36 (7.27%) were complicated with pulmonary tuberculosis. The mortality of patients with stage III was the highest (60.71%) (p < 0.0001). Our data obviously show that more strict policies to protect coal miners are needed to be implemented in China, especially for tunneling and mining workers. Full article
Open AccessArticle Emergency Response System for Pollution Accidents in Chemical Industrial Parks, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7868-7885; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707868
Received: 23 May 2015 / Revised: 22 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
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Abstract
In addition to property damage and loss of lives, environment pollution, such as water pollution and air pollution caused by accidents in chemical industrial parks (CIPs) is a significant issue in China. An emergency response system (ERS) was therefore planned to properly and
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In addition to property damage and loss of lives, environment pollution, such as water pollution and air pollution caused by accidents in chemical industrial parks (CIPs) is a significant issue in China. An emergency response system (ERS) was therefore planned to properly and proactively cope with safety incidents including fire and explosions occurring in the CIPs in this study. Using a scenario analysis, the stages of emergency response were divided into three levels, after introducing the domino effect, and fundamental requirements of ERS design were confirmed. The framework of ERS was composed mainly of a monitoring system, an emergency command center, an action system, and a supporting system. On this basis, six main emergency rescue steps containing alarm receipt, emergency evaluation, launched corresponding emergency plans, emergency rescue actions, emergency recovery, and result evaluation and feedback were determined. Finally, an example from the XiaoHu Chemical Industrial Park (XHCIP) was presented to check on the integrality, reliability, and maneuverability of the ERS, and the result of the first emergency drill with this ERS indicated that the developed ERS can reduce delays, improve usage efficiency of resources, and raise emergency rescue efficiency. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sex and Age Differences in Mortality in Southern China, 2004–2010
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7886-7898; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707886
Received: 14 May 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 17 June 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
PDF Full-text (1967 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to describe the mortality patterns in the southern provinces of China, and to provide epidemiologic data on sex and age differences of death outcomes. Reliable mortality and population data from January 2004 to December 2010 were obtained
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The purpose of this study was to describe the mortality patterns in the southern provinces of China, and to provide epidemiologic data on sex and age differences of death outcomes. Reliable mortality and population data from January 2004 to December 2010 were obtained from 12 Disease Surveillance Point (DSP) sites in four provinces of China. Death data from all causes and respiratory disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia and influenza, circulatory disease, and ischemic heart disease, were stratified by year, month of death occurrence and sex, seven age groups, and summarized by descriptive statistics. The mean annual mortality rates of the selected 12 DSP sites in the southernmost provinces of China were 543.9 (range: 423.9–593.6) deaths per 100,000 population. The death rates show that noted sex differences were higher in the male population for all-cause, COPD and circulatory diseases. Pneumonia and influenza death rates present a different sex- and age-related distribution, with higher rates in male aged 65–74 years; whereas the death rates were opposite in elderly aged ≥75 years, and relatively higher in young children. This study had practical implications for recommending target groups for public health interventions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Incidence Density and Risk Factors of Diabetic Retinopathy Within Type 2 Diabetes: A Five-Year Cohort Study in China (Report 1)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7899-7909; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707899
Received: 26 May 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (683 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A prospective study was carried out from August 2010 to August 2014 in the community of Fengyutan (China). Six hundred and twenty two T2D subjects were collected. The incidence density of diabetic retinopathy (DR) was 1.81% person-year (95% confidence interval, CI: 1.21–2.43% person-year).
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A prospective study was carried out from August 2010 to August 2014 in the community of Fengyutan (China). Six hundred and twenty two T2D subjects were collected. The incidence density of diabetic retinopathy (DR) was 1.81% person-year (95% confidence interval, CI: 1.21–2.43% person-year). After a Cox regression model analysis and adjusted confounding factors, independent predictors related to the incidence of DR including male gender (adjusted hazard ratios, aHR: 1.47, 95% CI: 1.21–1.62), with hypertension (aHR: 1.49, 95%: 1.12–1.73), duration of diabetes > 10 years (aHR: 2.28, 95%: 2.05–2.42), uncontrolled diabetes (aHR: 1.76, 95%: 1.41–2.01), total cholesterol ≥ 200 mg/dL (aHR: 1.54, 95%: 1.34–1.72) and HbA1c ≥ 7% (mmol/mol) (aHR: 2.12, 95%: 1.87–2.32). Duration of T2D revealed the significantly dose-response relationship to the onset of DR. The incidence density of DR in the Chinese community was relatively low in comparison with other studies. More attention should be paid to the T2D patients, especially of male gender, with hypertension, longer duration of diabetes, uncontrolled diabetes, total cholesterol ≥ 200mg/dL and HbA1c ≥ 7% (mmol/mol). Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Consumption of Caffeinated Energy Drinks among Polish Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7910-7921; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707910
Received: 21 April 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (684 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Energy drinks (EDs) are extremely popular among adults and adolescents. Regular intake of EDs may lead to an overdose of caffeine, loss of bone mass, overweight, hypertension and, in older age, osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. Some people mix EDs with alcohol, which
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Background: Energy drinks (EDs) are extremely popular among adults and adolescents. Regular intake of EDs may lead to an overdose of caffeine, loss of bone mass, overweight, hypertension and, in older age, osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. Some people mix EDs with alcohol, which adversely affects their health. The objective of this study was to analyze the consumption of EDs by adolescents. Methods: The study consisted of a questionnaire surveying amounts of drinks, preferences and product awareness among younger consumers. The study was carried out in junior and senior high schools in Poland (n = 2629). Results: EDs were consumed by 67% of students (quite frequently by 16%). Students who practiced sports were more willing to drink EDs. Also, boys drank them more often than girls. When selecting a particular ED, young people looked at the taste, price and effect. Most respondents consumed one ED (250 mL) daily, although there were individuals consuming two or more drinks daily. Most respondents knew the ingredients of EDs, and 24% admitted to mixing EDs with alcohol. Conclusions: EDs are extremely popular among adolescents. Young people drinking EDs every day are potentially at risk of taking an overdose of caffeine. Full article
Open AccessArticle Injury Profiles Associated with Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Tarkwa, Ghana
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7922-7937; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707922
Received: 16 May 2015 / Revised: 6 July 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is inherently risky, but little is known about mining-associated hazards and injuries despite the tremendous growth worldwide of ASGM and the benefits it offers. The current study aimed to characterize the physical injuries associated with ASGM in
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Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is inherently risky, but little is known about mining-associated hazards and injuries despite the tremendous growth worldwide of ASGM and the benefits it offers. The current study aimed to characterize the physical injuries associated with ASGM in Ghana to guide policy formulation. A cross-sectional survey was carried out in the Tarkwa mining district of the Western Region of Ghana in 2014. A total of 404 small-scale miners were recruited and interviewed regarding their occupational injury experiences over the preceding 10 years using a paper-based structured questionnaire. Nearly one-quarter (23.5%) of the miners interviewed reported getting injured over the previous 10 years, and the overall injury rate was calculated to be 5.39 per 100 person years. The rate was significantly higher for women (11.93 per 100 person years) and those with little mining experience (e.g., 25.31 per 100 person years for those with less than one year of work experience). The most injury-prone mining activities were excavation (58.7%) and crushing (23.1%), and over 70% of the injuries were reported to be due to miners being hit by an object. The majority of the injuries (57%) were lacerations, and nearly 70% of the injuries were to the upper or lower limbs. Approximately one-third (34.7%) of the injuries resulted in miners missing more than two weeks of work. One-quarter of the injured workers believed that abnormal work pressure played a role in their injuries, and nearly two-fifths believed that their injuries could have been prevented, with many citing personal protective equipment as a solution. About one-quarter of the employees reported that their employers never seemed to be interested in the welfare or safety of their employees. These findings greatly advance our understanding of occupational hazards and injuries amongst ASGM workers and help identify several intervention points. Full article
Open AccessArticle Measuring the Environmental Burden of Disease in South Korea: A Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7938-7948; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707938
Received: 13 April 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
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Abstract
Background: This study attempted to measure the environmental burden of disease by examining mortality and disability rates in South Korea, permitting international comparisons. Methods: Disability-adjusted life years (DALY) was used to analyze data from public records. Years of life lost (YLL) and years
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Background: This study attempted to measure the environmental burden of disease by examining mortality and disability rates in South Korea, permitting international comparisons. Methods: Disability-adjusted life years (DALY) was used to analyze data from public records. Years of life lost (YLL) and years lost to disability (YLD) were measured in terms of incidence rate and number of deaths. Attributable risks were based on those for WHO Western Pacific Regions. For air pollution, attributable risk was calculated using local PM10 levels and relative risk. Results: The total Korean environmental burden of disease was 17.98 per 1000 persons and the most serious risk factor was air pollution, at 6.89per1000 persons. Occupation was the second highest contributing factor, at 3.29 per 1000 persons, followed by indoor air pollution at 2.91 per 1000 persons. The DALY of air-pollution (indoor and outdoor) was 9.80 per 1000 persons, accounting for more than half of the total environmental burden of disease. The burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and asthma were 4.07, 3.16, and 1.96 per 1000 persons, respectively. Conclusions: Respiratory illnesses comprised most of the disease burden, the majority of which was linked to air pollution. The present results are important as they could be used to make evidence-based decisions regarding the management of diseases and environmental-risk factors. Full article
Open AccessArticle Doctor-Shopping Behavior among Patients with Eye Floaters
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7949-7958; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707949
Received: 26 April 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
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Abstract
Patients suffering from eye floaters often resort to consulting more than one ophthalmologist. The purpose of this study, using the Health Belief Model (HBM), was to identify the factors that influence doctor-shopping behavior among patients with eye floaters. In this cross-sectional survey, 175
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Patients suffering from eye floaters often resort to consulting more than one ophthalmologist. The purpose of this study, using the Health Belief Model (HBM), was to identify the factors that influence doctor-shopping behavior among patients with eye floaters. In this cross-sectional survey, 175 outpatients who presented floaters symptoms were enrolled. Data from 143 patients (77 first time visitors and 66 doctor-shoppers) who completed the questionnaire were analyzed. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were performed. We found that women and non-myopia patients were significantly related with frequent attendance and doctor switching. Though the HBM has performed well in a number of health behaviors studies, but most of the conceptual constructors of HBM did not show significant differences between the first time visitors and true doctor-shoppers in this study. Motivation was the only significant category affecting doctor-shopping behavior of patients with eye floaters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Speciation and Degrees of Contamination of Metals in Sediments from Upstream and Downstream Reaches along the Catchment of the Southern Bohai Sea, China
by and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7959-7973; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707959
Received: 24 May 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
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Abstract
Environmental processes and biological community structures change along fluvial gradients within coastal river basins; the accumulation and associated risk of metal contamination would also be expected to change from upstream to downstream reaches. Speciation and degrees of contamination of metals in sediments from
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Environmental processes and biological community structures change along fluvial gradients within coastal river basins; the accumulation and associated risk of metal contamination would also be expected to change from upstream to downstream reaches. Speciation and degrees of contamination of metals in sediments from the upstream and downstream of river catchments of the southern Bohai Sea were investigated. The mean concentrations of Cu, Zn, Cr, Ni, Cd and Pb from upstream reaches were 82.6, 157, 63.6, 26.6, 0.18 and 24.9 mg/kg, respectively. The mean concentrations of Cu, Zn, Cr, Ni, Cd and Pb from downstream reaches were 38.0, 66.0, 38.9, 18.1, 0.16 and 24.0 mg/kg, respectively. Most of the Cu, Zn, Cr, Ni and Pb in sediments from both the upstream and downstream reaches was mainly associated with the residual fraction. However, Cd was preferentially bound to the exchangeable phase. A cluster analysis was used to study the degree of association between sites, and three distinct clusters were identified in both upstream and downstream sediments. A correlation analysis was conducted to determine the extent of association among metals and showed that metals in sediments from the upstream reaches have more affinity than those in the downstream area. Sediment quality guidelines were used to evaluate potential risks. The risks from Zn, Cr and Ni in the upstream reaches were higher than those from downstream reaches; however, the other three metals (Cu, Pb and Cd) showed opposite results. Full article
Open AccessArticle Moving to Serene Nature May Prevent Poor Mental Health—Results from a Swedish Longitudinal Cohort Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7974-7989; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707974
Received: 4 April 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Green spaces are recognized for improving mental health, but what particular kind of nature is required is yet not elucidated. This study explores the effect of specific types of recreational nature qualities on mental health. Longitudinal data (1999/2000 and 2005) from a public
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Green spaces are recognized for improving mental health, but what particular kind of nature is required is yet not elucidated. This study explores the effect of specific types of recreational nature qualities on mental health. Longitudinal data (1999/2000 and 2005) from a public health survey was distributed to a stratified sample (n = 24,945) of a Swedish population. People from rural or suburban areas (n = 9230) who had moved between baseline and follow-up (n = 1419) were studied. Individual geographic residence codes were linked to five predefined nature qualities, classified in geographic information systems (GIS). Any change in the amount of or type of qualities within 300 m distance between baseline and follow-up was correlated to any change in mental health (as measured by the General Health Questionnaire) by logistic regression models. On average, the population had limited access to nature qualities both pre- and post-move. There was no significant correlation between change in the amount of qualities and change in mental health. However, the specific quality “serene” was a significant determinant with a significantly decreased risk for women of change to mental ill-health at follow-up. The objective definition of the potentially health-promoting quality may facilitate implication in landscape practice and healthy planning. Full article
Open AccessArticle PM2.5 in Urban and Rural Nursery Schools in Upper Silesia, Poland: Trace Elements Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7990-8008; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707990
Received: 19 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
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Abstract
Indoor air quality (IAQ) in nursery schools is an emerging public health challenge. Particular attention should be paid to younger children, because they are more vulnerable to air pollution than older children. Among air pollutants, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is of
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Indoor air quality (IAQ) in nursery schools is an emerging public health challenge. Particular attention should be paid to younger children, because they are more vulnerable to air pollution than older children. Among air pollutants, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is of the greatest interest mainly due to its strong association with acute and chronic effects on children’s health. In this paper, we present concentrations of PM2.5 and the composition of its trace elements at naturally ventilated nursery schools located in the area of Gliwice, Poland. The nursery schools were selected to characterize areas with different degrees of urbanization and traffic densities during the winter and spring seasons. The results indicate there is a problem with elevated concentrations of PM2.5 inside the examined classrooms. The children’s exposure to trace elements was different based on localization and season. PM2.5 concentration and its trace element composition have been studied using correlation coefficients between the different trace elements, the enrichment factor (EF) and principal component analysis (PCA). PCA allowed the identification of the three components: anthropogenic and geogenic sources (37.2%), soil dust contaminated by sewage sludge dumping (18.6%) and vehicular emissions (19.5%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality: Exposures and Occupant Health)
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Open AccessArticle Disparities in Quality of Park Play Spaces between Two Cities with Diverse Income and Race/Ethnicity Composition: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8009-8022; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708009
Received: 26 May 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (205 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated the differences in the quality of park play spaces between an affluent and a non-affluent community in a large US Southeastern metropolitan area. Two cities were purposefully selected to reflect differences in household income and race/ethnicity characteristics. Using the Playable
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This study investigated the differences in the quality of park play spaces between an affluent and a non-affluent community in a large US Southeastern metropolitan area. Two cities were purposefully selected to reflect differences in household income and race/ethnicity characteristics. Using the Playable Space Quality Assessment Tool (PSQAT), all parks (n = 11, with six in the affluent city, and five in the non-affluent city) in these two cities were evaluated. The data were analyzed across three aspects of environmental features of the PSQAT: Location, Play Value and Care and Maintenance between parks in the two cities. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to test the study hypotheses. Results indicated significant differences between parks in the two cities in all three aspects of the PSQAT with p-values ≤ 0.03 and effect sizes of > 0.65, suggesting that the affluent city had parks of a higher quality than the non-affluent city. Significant disparity in Play Value (p = 0.009) in parks between these two communities suggests that children and young people are likely to have different experiences of the play spaces in their locality and therefore may experience different physical and psychological health benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Built Environment on Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 Gene Promoter (rs 3918242) Mutation Reduces the Risk of Diabetic Microvascular Complications
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8023-8033; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708023
Received: 27 May 2015 / Revised: 5 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
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Abstract
Background: Many studies have evaluated the association between matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) gene promoter polymorphism and diabetic microvascular complications. However, the results are conflicting and inconclusive. The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the association more precisely. Materials and Methods: Studies were
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Background: Many studies have evaluated the association between matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) gene promoter polymorphism and diabetic microvascular complications. However, the results are conflicting and inconclusive. The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the association more precisely. Materials and Methods: Studies were retrieved from the PubMed, Embase, Medline, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases. All statistical analyses were performed using Review Manager 5.2. Results: Data were abstracted from four case-control studies that included 446 patients with diabetic microvascular complications and 496 diabetic control subjects. The MMP9-1562 C/T genotype was significantly associated with the risk of diabetic nephropathy after stratification by specific type of microvascular complication (CT + TT vs. CC: OR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.26–0.69, p = 0.0006; TT vs. CC + CT: OR = 0.37, 95% CI = 0.19–0.76, p = 0.006). Conclusions: This study adds to the evidence that MMP9-1562 T gene mutation might reduce the risk of diabetic nephropathy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Limitations to Thermoregulation and Acclimatization Challenge Human Adaptation to Global Warming
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8034-8074; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708034
Received: 23 April 2015 / Revised: 15 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
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Abstract
Human thermoregulation and acclimatization are core components of the human coping mechanism for withstanding variations in environmental heat exposure. Amidst growing recognition that curtailing global warming to less than two degrees is becoming increasing improbable, human survival will require increasing reliance on these
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Human thermoregulation and acclimatization are core components of the human coping mechanism for withstanding variations in environmental heat exposure. Amidst growing recognition that curtailing global warming to less than two degrees is becoming increasing improbable, human survival will require increasing reliance on these mechanisms. The projected several fold increase in extreme heat events suggests we need to recalibrate health protection policies and ratchet up adaptation efforts. Climate researchers, epidemiologists, and policy makers engaged in climate change adaptation and health protection are not commonly drawn from heat physiology backgrounds. Injecting a scholarly consideration of physiological limitations to human heat tolerance into the adaptation and policy literature allows for a broader understanding of heat health risks to support effective human adaptation and adaptation planning. This paper details the physiological and external environmental factors that determine human thermoregulation and acclimatization. We present a model to illustrate the interrelationship between elements that modulate the physiological process of thermoregulation. Limitations inherent in these processes, and the constraints imposed by differing exposure levels, and thermal comfort seeking on achieving acclimatization, are then described. Combined, these limitations will restrict the likely contribution that acclimatization can play in future human adaptation to global warming. We postulate that behavioral and technological adaptations will need to become the dominant means for human individual and societal adaptations as global warming progresses. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Climate Change and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle The State of Ambient Air Quality in Two Ugandan Cities: A Pilot Cross-Sectional Spatial Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8075-8091; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708075
Received: 11 May 2015 / Revised: 6 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
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Abstract
Air pollution is one of the leading global public health risks but its magnitude in many developing countries’ cities is not known. We aimed to measure the concentration of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2
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Air pollution is one of the leading global public health risks but its magnitude in many developing countries’ cities is not known. We aimed to measure the concentration of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ozone (O3) pollutants in two Ugandan cities (Kampala and Jinja). PM2.5, O3, temperature and humidity were measured with real-time monitors, while NO2 and SO2 were measured with diffusion tubes. We found that the mean concentrations of the air pollutants PM2.5, NO2, SO2 and O3 were 132.1 μg/m3, 24.9 µg/m3, 3.7 µg/m3 and 11.4 μg/m3, respectively. The mean PM2.5 concentration is 5.3 times the World Health Organization (WHO) cut-off limits while the NO2, SO2 and O3 concentrations are below WHO cut-off limits. PM2.5 levels were higher in Kampala than in Jinja (138.6 μg/m3 vs. 99.3 μg/m3) and at industrial than residential sites (152.6 μg/m3 vs. 120.5 μg/m3) but residential sites with unpaved roads also had high PM2.5 concentrations (152.6 μg/m3). In conclusion, air pollutant concentrations in Kampala and Jinja in Uganda are dangerously high. Long-term studies are needed to characterize air pollution levels during all seasons, to assess related public health impacts, and explore mitigation approaches. Full article
Open AccessArticle Smoke-Free Multiunit Housing Policy: Caretakers’ Perspectives on Economic and Personal Impacts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8092-8102; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708092
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 9 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
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Abstract
Objective: Multiunit housing (MUH) operators may be motivated to adopt smoke-free policies to achieve cost savings. MUH caretakers provide a unique perspective for understanding the implications of smoke-free policies because of their role in property maintenance. We examine MUH caretakers’ perceptions regarding the
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Objective: Multiunit housing (MUH) operators may be motivated to adopt smoke-free policies to achieve cost savings. MUH caretakers provide a unique perspective for understanding the implications of smoke-free policies because of their role in property maintenance. We examine MUH caretakers’ perceptions regarding the economic and personal impact of smoke-free policies at their properties. Methods: We conducted and analyzed qualitative interviews with 20 multiunit housing caretakers from two large property management companies in the southeastern United States that had implemented smoke-free policies. Results: For non-smoking units, caretakers reported shortened turnover times, in addition to reduction in the need for turnover supplies and capital replacements. Caretakers reported an improvement in their work environments due to reduced workload and exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke after implementation of smoke-free policies. Conclusion: The potential for cost savings exists for MUH operators who enact smoke-free policies because of decreased labor, supplies, and capital costs. Smoke-free policies may also improve the work environment of caretakers and other frontline MUH employees. These are important findings for MUH companies seeking to lower their operation costs and improve their employees’ working conditions, as well as for smoke-free advocates seeking to promote policy change. Full article
Open AccessArticle Understanding Health Information Seeking from an Actor-Centric Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8103-8124; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708103
Received: 14 April 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 9 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2532 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a conceptual approach for discussing health information seeking among poor households in Africa and Asia. This approach is part of a larger research endeavor aimed at understanding how health systems are adapting; with possibilities and constraints emerging. These health systems
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This paper presents a conceptual approach for discussing health information seeking among poor households in Africa and Asia. This approach is part of a larger research endeavor aimed at understanding how health systems are adapting; with possibilities and constraints emerging. These health systems can be found in a context of the changing relationships between states, markets and civil society in low and middle income countries. The paper starts from an understanding of the health sector as a “health knowledge economy”, organized to provide people with access to knowledge and advice. The use of the term “health knowledge economy” draws attention to the ways the health sector is part of a broader knowledge economy changing the way individuals and households obtain and use specialist information. The paper integrates an actor centric approach with the theory of planned behavior. It seeks to identify the actors engaged in the health knowledge economy as a precursor to longer term studies on the uptake of innovations integrating health services with mobile phones, commonly designated as mHealth, contributing to an understanding of the potential vulnerabilities of poor people, and highlighting possible dangers if providers of health information and advice are strongly influenced by interest groups. Full article
Open AccessArticle Extraction of 3,4,4′-Trichlorocarbanilide from Rat Fecal Samples for Determination by High Pressure Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8125-8132; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708125
Received: 12 June 2015 / Revised: 7 July 2015 / Accepted: 9 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
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Abstract
Triclocarban (3,4,4′-Trichlorocarbanilide; TCC) in the environment has been well documented. Methods have been developed to monitor TCC levels from various matrices including water, sediment, biosolids, plants, blood and urine; however, no method has been developed to document the concentration of TCC in fecal
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Triclocarban (3,4,4′-Trichlorocarbanilide; TCC) in the environment has been well documented. Methods have been developed to monitor TCC levels from various matrices including water, sediment, biosolids, plants, blood and urine; however, no method has been developed to document the concentration of TCC in fecal content after oral exposure in animal studies. In the present study, we developed and validated a method that uses liquid extraction coupled with HPLC-MS/MS determination to measure TCC in feces. The limit of detection and limit of quantitation in control rats without TCC exposure was 69.0 ng/g and 92.9 ng/g of feces, respectively. The base levels of TCC in feces were lower than LOD. At 12 days of treatment, the fecal TCC concentration increased to 2220 µg/g among 0.2% w/w exposed animals. The concentration in fecal samples decreased over the washout period in 0.2% w/w treated animals to 0.399 µ/g feces after exposure was removed for 28 days. This method required a small amount of sample (0.1 g) with simple sample preparation. Given its sensitivity and efficiency, this method may be useful for monitoring TCC exposure in toxicological studies of animals. Full article
Open AccessArticle Working with Policy and Regulatory Factors to Implement Universal Design in the Built Environment: The Australian Experience
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8157-8171; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708157
Received: 1 June 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Built environments that are usable by all provide opportunities for engagement in meaningful occupations. However, enabling them in day to day design processes and practice is problematic for relevant professions. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain greater understanding of the
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Built environments that are usable by all provide opportunities for engagement in meaningful occupations. However, enabling them in day to day design processes and practice is problematic for relevant professions. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain greater understanding of the policy and regulatory influences that promote or hinder the uptake of universal design in built environments, to inform better future design. Focus groups or telephone interviews were undertaken with 28 key building industry and disability stakeholders in Australia. Four themes were identified: the difficulties of definition; the push or pull of regulations and policy; the role of formal standards; and, shifting the focus of design thinking. The findings highlight the complexity of working within policy and regulatory contexts when implementing universal design. Occupational therapists working with colleagues from other professions must be aware of these influences, and develop the skills to work with them for successful practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Therapies and Human Well-Being)
Open AccessArticle Application of Multi-Species Microbial Bioassay to Assess the Effects of Engineered Nanoparticles in the Aquatic Environment: Potential of a Luminous Microbial Array for Toxicity Risk Assessment (LumiMARA) on Testing for Surface-Coated Silver Nanoparticles
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8172-8186; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708172
Received: 13 May 2015 / Revised: 20 June 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
PDF Full-text (1673 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Four different manufactured surface-coated silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) with coating of citrate, tannic acid, polyethylene glycol, and branched polyethylenimine were used in this study. The toxicity of surface-coated AgNPs was evaluated by a luminous microbial array for toxicity risk assessment (LumiMARA) using multi-species of
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Four different manufactured surface-coated silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) with coating of citrate, tannic acid, polyethylene glycol, and branched polyethylenimine were used in this study. The toxicity of surface-coated AgNPs was evaluated by a luminous microbial array for toxicity risk assessment (LumiMARA) using multi-species of luminescent bacteria. The salt stability of four different AgNPs was measured by UV absorbance at 400 nm wavelength, and different surface-charged AgNPs in combination with bacteria were observed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Both branched polyethylenimine (BPEI)-AgNPs and polyethylene glycol (PEG)-AgNPs were shown to be stable with 2% NaCl (non-aggregation), whereas both citrate (Cit)-AgNPs and tannic acid (Tan)-AgNPs rapidly aggregated in 2% NaCl solution. The values of the 50% effective concentration (EC50) for BPEI-AgNPs in marine bacteria strains (1.57 to 5.19 mg/L) were lower than those for the other surface-coated AgNPs (i.e., Cit-AgNPs, Tan-AgNPs, and PEG-AgNPs). It appears that the toxicity of AgNPs could be activated by the interaction of positively charged AgNPs with the negatively charged bacterial cell wall from the results of LumiMARA. LumiMARA for toxicity screening has advantageous compared to a single-species bioassay and is applicable for environmental samples as displaying ranges of assessment results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Fate and Effect of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Regional Brain Perfusion Levels in Chronically Smoking and Non-Smoking Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8198-8213; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708198
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 7 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (715 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chronic cigarette smoking is associated with numerous abnormalities in brain neurobiology, but few studies specifically investigated the chronic effects of smoking (compared to the acute effects of smoking, nicotine administration, or nicotine withdrawal) on cerebral perfusion (i.e., blood flow). Predominately middle-aged
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Chronic cigarette smoking is associated with numerous abnormalities in brain neurobiology, but few studies specifically investigated the chronic effects of smoking (compared to the acute effects of smoking, nicotine administration, or nicotine withdrawal) on cerebral perfusion (i.e., blood flow). Predominately middle-aged male (47 ± 11 years of age) smokers (n = 34) and non-smokers (n = 27) were compared on regional cortical perfusion measured by continuous arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance studies at 4 Tesla. Smokers showed significantly lower perfusion than non-smokers in the bilateral medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortices, bilateral inferior parietal lobules, bilateral superior temporal gyri, left posterior cingulate, right isthmus of cingulate, and right supramarginal gyrus. Greater lifetime duration of smoking (adjusted for age) was related to lower perfusion in multiple brain regions. The results indicated smokers showed significant perfusion deficits in anterior cortical regions implicated in the development, progression, and maintenance of all addictive disorders. Smokers concurrently demonstrated reduced blood flow in posterior brain regions that show morphological and metabolic aberrations as well as elevated beta amyloid deposition demonstrated by those with early stage Alzheimer disease. The findings provide additional novel evidence of the adverse effects of cigarette smoking on the human brain. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Possible Internalization of an Enterovirus in Hydroponically Grown Lettuce
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8214-8227; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708214
Received: 29 May 2015 / Revised: 7 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (961 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Several studies have shown that enteric viruses can be transferred onto the surface of vegetables and fruits through spray irrigation, but, recently, reports have suggested viral contamination of vegetables sub-irrigated with reused wastewater. Hydroponic cultures, used to grow ready to eat fresh lettuce,
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Several studies have shown that enteric viruses can be transferred onto the surface of vegetables and fruits through spray irrigation, but, recently, reports have suggested viral contamination of vegetables sub-irrigated with reused wastewater. Hydroponic cultures, used to grow ready to eat fresh lettuce, have also been used to study the possibility of viral absorption through roots. This study was conducted to assess a possible risk of viral contamination in lettuce from contaminated water. The leaves of lettuce plants grown in hydroponic cultures where the roots were exposed to water containing Coxsakievirus B2, were analysed for evidence of the virus. The plants and water were sampled at different times and virus was measured using quantitative RT-PCR and infectivity assay. In leaf samples, the lowest observed infective data were lower than the qRT-PCR detection limits, suggesting that free viral RNA or damaged viruses are eliminated rapidly while infectious particles remain stable for a longer time. The obtained data revealed that the leaves were contaminated at a water concentration of 4.11 ± 1 Log Most Probable Number/L (8.03 ± 1 Log GC/L) a concentration observed in contaminated untreated water of wastewater treatment plants. However, the absorption dynamics and whether the virus is inactive in the leaves still remains to be clarified. Nevertheless, this work has practical implications for risk management in using reclaimed water for agricultural use; when irrigated vegetables are destined for raw consumption, virological contamination in water sources should be evaluated. Full article
Open AccessArticle Association of C-Reactive Protein and Metabolic Disorder in a Chinese Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8228-8242; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708228
Received: 3 May 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (789 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: To assess the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels and explore the risk factors for an elevated hs-CRP level. We also provide the clinical utility of CRP to identify subjects with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Methods: Data were drawn from a cross-sectional
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Objective: To assess the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels and explore the risk factors for an elevated hs-CRP level. We also provide the clinical utility of CRP to identify subjects with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Methods: Data were drawn from a cross-sectional survey in China. Subjects were divided into three subgroups: hs-CRP ≤ 1 mg/L, 1 mg/L < hs-CRP ≤ 3 mg/L and hs-CRP > 3 mg/L. Multiple linear regressions and logistic regression models were used. Results: In the Chinese population, 50.43% subjects had a low hs-CRP level, 30.21% subjects had an intermediate hs-CRP level and 19.36% subjects had an elevated hs-CRP level. Age, physical inactivity, abdominal obesity, a low LDL level, an elevated fasting glucose level, uric acid and urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) were correlated with log-CRP. In multivariate analysis, relative risks of an elevated CRP level were 2.40 (95% CI 1.44–3.99, p = 0.001), 3.63 (95% CI 2.20–5.98, p < 0.001), 4.23 (95% CI 2.51–7.11, p < 0.001) and 6.23 (95% CI 3.45–11.26, p < 0.001) for subjects with 1, 2, 3, or more than 3 MetS components, respectively. The accurate estimates of the area under the receiver operating characteristic of hs-CRP for MetS was 0.6954 (95% CI, 0.67–0.72). Conclusion: Age, physical inactivity, abdominal obesity, a low LDL level, an elevated fasting glucose level, uric acid and ACR are correlated with log-CRP. The number of MetS components is a significant determinant of elevated CRP levels after adjusted for other potential confounders. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Variability of Heavy Metal Concentrations in Liquid-Solid Two-Phase and Related Environmental Risks in the Weihe River of Shaanxi Province, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8243-8262; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708243
Received: 27 May 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (591 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
Accurate estimation of the variability of heavy metals in river water and the hyporheic zone is crucial for pollution control and environmental management. The biotoxicities and potential ecological risks of heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd) in a solid-liquid two-phase system were estimated
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Accurate estimation of the variability of heavy metals in river water and the hyporheic zone is crucial for pollution control and environmental management. The biotoxicities and potential ecological risks of heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd) in a solid-liquid two-phase system were estimated using the Geo-accumulation Index, Potential Ecological Risk Assessment and Quality Standard Index methods in the Weihe River of Shaanxi Province, China. Water and sediment samples were collected from five study sites during spring, summer and winter, 2013. The dominant species in the streambed sediments were chironomids and flutter earthworm, whose bioturbation mainly ranged from 0 to 20 cm. The concentrations of heavy metals in surface water and pore water varied obviously in spring and summer. The degrees of concentration of Cu and Cd in spring and summer were higher than the U.S. water quality Criteria Maximum Concentrations. Furthermore, the biotoxicities of Pb and Zn demonstrated season-spatial variations. The concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd in spring and winter were significantly higher than those in summer, and the pollution levels also varied obviously in different layers of the sediments. Moreover, the pollution level of Cd was the most serious, as estimated by all three assessment methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Systems Engineering)
Open AccessArticle Cobalt Oxide Nanoparticles: Behavior towards Intact and Impaired Human Skin and Keratinocytes Toxicity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8263-8280; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708263
Received: 31 May 2015 / Revised: 7 July 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2148 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Skin absorption and toxicity on keratinocytes of cobalt oxide nanoparticles (Co3O4NPs) have been investigated. Co3O4NPs are commonly used in industrial products and biomedicine. There is evidence that these nanoparticles can cause membrane damage and genotoxicity
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Skin absorption and toxicity on keratinocytes of cobalt oxide nanoparticles (Co3O4NPs) have been investigated. Co3O4NPs are commonly used in industrial products and biomedicine. There is evidence that these nanoparticles can cause membrane damage and genotoxicity in vitro, but no data are available on their skin absorption and cytotoxicity on keratinocytes. Two independent 24 h in vitro experiments were performed using Franz diffusion cells, using intact (experiment 1) and needle-abraded human skin (experiment 2). Co3O4NPs at a concentration of 1000 mg/L in physiological solution were used as donor phase. Cobalt content was evaluated by Inductively Coupled–Mass Spectroscopy. Co permeation through the skin was demonstrated after 24 h only when damaged skin protocol was used (57 ± 38 ng·cm−2), while no significant differences were shown between blank cells (0.92 ± 0.03 ng cm−2) and those with intact skin (1.08 ± 0.20 ng·cm−2). To further investigate Co3O4NPs toxicity, human-derived HaCaT keratinocytes were exposed to Co3O4NPs and cytotoxicity evaluated by MTT, Alamarblue® and propidium iodide (PI) uptake assays. The results indicate that a long exposure time (i.e., seven days) was necessary to induce a concentration-dependent cell viability reduction (EC50 values: 1.3 × 10−4 M, 95% CL = 0.8–1.9 × 10−4 M, MTT essay; 3.7 × 10−5 M, 95% CI = 2.2–6.1 × 10−5 M, AlamarBlue® assay) that seems to be associated to necrotic events (EC50 value: 1.3 × 10−4 M, 95% CL = 0.9–1.9 × 10−4 M, PI assay). This study demonstrated that Co3O4NPs can penetrate only damaged skin and is cytotoxic for HaCat cells after long term exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Fate and Effect of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials)
Open AccessArticle Study on Microbial Deposition and Contamination onto Six Surfaces Commonly Used in Chemical and Microbiological Laboratories
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8295-8311; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708295
Received: 1 June 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
PDF Full-text (1652 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The worktops in both chemical and microbiological laboratories are the surfaces most vulnerable to damage and exposure to contamination by indoor pollutants. The rate at which particles are deposited on indoor surfaces is an important parameter to determine human exposure to airborne biological
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The worktops in both chemical and microbiological laboratories are the surfaces most vulnerable to damage and exposure to contamination by indoor pollutants. The rate at which particles are deposited on indoor surfaces is an important parameter to determine human exposure to airborne biological particles. In contrast to what has been established for inorganic pollutants, no limit has been set by law for microbial contamination in indoor air. To our knowledge, a comparative study on the effect of surfaces on the deposition of microbes has not been carried out. An evaluation of the microbial contamination of worktop materials could be of crucial importance, both for safety reasons and for the reliability of tests and experiments that need to be carried out in non-contaminated environments. The aim of this study was to evaluate the overall microbial contamination (fungi, mesophilic and psychrophilic bacteria, staphylococci) on six widely used worktop materials in laboratories (glass, stainless steel, fine porcelain stoneware, post-forming laminate, high-performing laminate and enamel steel) and to correlate it with the characteristics of the surfaces. After cleaning, the kinetics of microbial re-contamination were also evaluated for all surfaces. Full article
Open AccessArticle Avian Conservation Areas as a Proxy for Contaminated Soil Remediation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8312-8331; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708312
Received: 27 May 2015 / Revised: 9 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1694 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Remediation prioritization frequently falls short of systematically evaluating the underlying ecological value of different sites. This study presents a novel approach to delineating sites that are both contaminated by any of eight heavy metals and have high habitat value to high-priority species. The
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Remediation prioritization frequently falls short of systematically evaluating the underlying ecological value of different sites. This study presents a novel approach to delineating sites that are both contaminated by any of eight heavy metals and have high habitat value to high-priority species. The conservation priority of each planning site herein was based on the projected distributions of eight protected bird species, simulated using 900 outputs of species distribution models (SDMs) and the subsequent application of a systematic conservation tool. The distributions of heavy metal concentrations were generated using a geostatistical joint-simulation approach. The uncertainties in the heavy metal distributions were quantified in terms of variability among 1000 realization sets. Finally, a novel remediation decision-making approach was presented for delineating contaminated sites in need of remediation based on the spatial uncertainties of multiple realizations and the priorities of conservation areas. The results thus obtained demonstrate that up to 42% of areas of high conservation priority are also contaminated by one or more of the heavy metal contaminants of interest. Moreover, as the proportion of the land for proposed remediated increased, the projected area of the pollution-free habitat also increased. Overall uncertainty, in terms of the false positive contamination rate, also increased. These results indicate that the proposed decision-making approach successfully accounted for the intrinsic trade-offs among a high number of pollution-free habitats, low false positive rates and robustness of expected decision outcomes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Protective Effect of Lycium ruthenicum Murr. Against Radiation Injury in Mice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8332-8347; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708332
Received: 15 May 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
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Abstract
The protective effect of Lycium ruthenicum Murr. against radiation injury was examined in mice. Kunming mice were randomly divided into a control group, model group, positive drug group and L. ruthenicum high dose (8 g/kg), L. ruthenicum middle dose (4 g/kg), L. ruthenicum
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The protective effect of Lycium ruthenicum Murr. against radiation injury was examined in mice. Kunming mice were randomly divided into a control group, model group, positive drug group and L. ruthenicum high dose (8 g/kg), L. ruthenicum middle dose (4 g/kg), L. ruthenicum low dose (2 g/kg) treatment groups, for which doses were administered the third day, seventh day and 14th day after irradiation. L. ruthenicum extract was administered orally to the mice in the three treatment groups and normal saline was administered orally to the mice in the control group and model group for 14 days. The positive group was treated with amifostine (WR-2721) at 30 min before irradiation. Except for the control group, the groups of mice received a 5 Gy quantity of X-radiation evenly over their whole body at one time. Body weight, hemogram, thymus and spleen index, DNA, caspase-3, caspase-6, and P53 contents were observed at the third day, seventh day, and 14th day after irradiation. L. ruthenicum could significantly increase the total red blood cell count, hemoglobin count and DNA contents (p < 0.05). The spleen index recovered significantly by the third day and 14th day after irradiation (p < 0.05). L. ruthenicum low dose group showed a significant reduction in caspase-3 and caspase-6 of serum in mice at the third day, seventh day, and 14th day after irradiation and L. ruthenicum middle dose group experienced a reduction in caspase-6 of serum in mice by the seventh day after irradiation. L. ruthenicum could decrease the expression of P53. The results showed that L. ruthenicum had protective effects against radiation injury in mice. Full article
Open AccessArticle Predictors for Using a HIV Self-Test Among Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers in North Carolina
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8348-8358; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708348
Received: 6 June 2015 / Revised: 11 July 2015 / Accepted: 15 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (671 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Approximately, two million migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSF) work in the United States annually. Several factors, such as lack of access to healthcare services and health behaviors, contribute to risk of HIV transmission. Relatively few studies have explored MSF knowledge of HIV
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Background: Approximately, two million migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSF) work in the United States annually. Several factors, such as lack of access to healthcare services and health behaviors, contribute to risk of HIV transmission. Relatively few studies have explored MSF knowledge of HIV transmission and testing options. Methods: A 12-question, self-administered survey of farmworkers (n = 178) from 19 migrant camps was conducted. The survey assessed knowledge of factors related to HIV transmission, testing, and intention to use a HIV home-test kit. Results: Participants with knowledge of treatment for HIV (p = 0.03) and that condom use protects against HIV (p = 0.04) were more willing to express intent to use a home test kit than those with less knowledge. Concern among farmworkers that HIV was a very or somewhat serious problem in their community was associated with expressing intent to use a home test kit (OR = 2.3, 95% CI = 0.92–5.5). Respondents with less knowledge were less likely to use a home test kit. Conclusions: MSF were concerned about HIV in their community and would be willing to use to a home test kit. This pilot study provides a basis for additional research related to HIV testing within the MSF community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle A Simulated Environment Experiment on Annoyance Due to Combined Road Traffic and Industrial Noises
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8413-8433; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708413
Received: 20 February 2015 / Revised: 20 February 2015 / Accepted: 16 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Total annoyance due to combined noises is still difficult to predict adequately. This scientific gap is an obstacle for noise action planning, especially in urban areas where inhabitants are usually exposed to high noise levels from multiple sources. In this context, this work
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Total annoyance due to combined noises is still difficult to predict adequately. This scientific gap is an obstacle for noise action planning, especially in urban areas where inhabitants are usually exposed to high noise levels from multiple sources. In this context, this work aims to highlight potential to enhance the prediction of total annoyance. The work is based on a simulated environment experiment where participants performed activities in a living room while exposed to combined road traffic and industrial noises. The first objective of the experiment presented in this paper was to gain further understanding of the effects on annoyance of some acoustical factors, non-acoustical factors and potential interactions between the combined noise sources. The second one was to assess total annoyance models constructed from the data collected during the experiment and tested using data gathered in situ. The results obtained in this work highlighted the superiority of perceptual models. In particular, perceptual models with an interaction term seemed to be the best predictors for the two combined noise sources under study, even with high differences in sound pressure level. Thus, these results reinforced the need to focus on perceptual models and to improve the prediction of partial annoyances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
Open AccessArticle Metabolic Polymorphisms and Clinical Findings Related to Benzene Poisoning Detected in Exposed Brazilian Gas-Station Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8434-8447; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708434
Received: 10 June 2015 / Revised: 9 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (686 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Benzene is a ubiquitous environmental pollutant and an important industrial chemical present in both gasoline and motor vehicle emissions. Occupational human exposure to benzene occurs in the petrochemical and petroleum refining industries as well as in gas-station workers, where it can lead to
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Benzene is a ubiquitous environmental pollutant and an important industrial chemical present in both gasoline and motor vehicle emissions. Occupational human exposure to benzene occurs in the petrochemical and petroleum refining industries as well as in gas-station workers, where it can lead to benzene poisoning (BP), but the mechanisms of BP are not completely understood. In Brazil, a significant number of gas-station service workers are employed. The aim of the present study was to evaluate alterations related to BP and metabolic polymorphisms in gas-station service workers exposed to benzene in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Occupational exposure was based on clinical findings related to BP, and metabolic polymorphisms in 114 Brazilian gas-station attendants. These workers were divided into No Clinical Findings (NCF) and Clinical Findings (CF) groups. Neutrophil and Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) showed a significant difference between the two study groups, and neutrophil has the greatest impact on the alterations suggestive of BP. The clinical findings revealed higher frequencies of symptoms in the CF group, although not all members presented statistical significance. The frequencies of alleles related to risk were higher in the CF group for GSTM1, GSTT1, CYP2E1 7632T > A, but lower for NQO1 and CYP2E1 1053C > T genotypes. Moreover, an association was found between GSTM1 null and alterations related to BP, but we did not observe any effects of other polymorphisms. Variations in benzene metabolizing genes may modify benzene toxicity and should be taken into consideration during risk assessment evaluations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Long-Term Health and Economic Impacts of Central Residential Air Filtration for Reducing Premature Mortality Associated with Indoor Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) of Outdoor Origin
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8448-8479; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708448
Received: 1 June 2015 / Revised: 1 June 2015 / Accepted: 9 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3467 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Much of human exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) of outdoor origin occurs in residences. High-efficiency particle air filtration in central heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems is increasingly being used to reduce concentrations of particulate matter inside homes. However, questions
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Much of human exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) of outdoor origin occurs in residences. High-efficiency particle air filtration in central heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems is increasingly being used to reduce concentrations of particulate matter inside homes. However, questions remain about the effectiveness of filtration for reducing exposures to PM2.5 of outdoor origin and adverse health outcomes. Here we integrate epidemiology functions and mass balance modeling to estimate the long-term health and economic impacts of HVAC filtration for reducing premature mortality associated with indoor PM2.5 of outdoor origin in residences. We evaluate 11 classifications of filters (MERV 5 through HEPA) using six case studies of single-family home vintages and ventilation system combinations located in 22 U.S. cities. We estimate that widespread use of higher efficiency filters would reduce premature mortality by 0.002–2.5% and increase life expectancy by 0.02–1.6 months, yielding annual monetary benefits ranging from $1 to $1348 per person in the homes and locations modeled herein. Large differences in the magnitude of health and economic impacts are driven largely by differences in rated filter efficiency and building and ventilation system characteristics that govern particle infiltration and persistence, with smaller influences attributable to geographic location. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality: Exposures and Occupant Health)
Open AccessArticle Occupant Interactions and Effectiveness of Natural Ventilation Strategies in Contemporary New Housing in Scotland, UK
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8480-8497; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708480
Received: 30 May 2015 / Revised: 30 May 2015 / Accepted: 15 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
PDF Full-text (2406 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The need to reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty has led to increased building envelope air tightness, intended to reduce uncontrolled ventilation heat losses. Ventilation strategies in dwellings still allow the use of trickle ventilators in window frames for background ventilation. The extent
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The need to reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty has led to increased building envelope air tightness, intended to reduce uncontrolled ventilation heat losses. Ventilation strategies in dwellings still allow the use of trickle ventilators in window frames for background ventilation. The extent to which this results in “healthy” Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in recently constructed dwellings was a concern of regulators in Scotland. This paper describes research to explore this. First a review of literature was conducted, then data on occupant interactions with ventilation provisions (windows, doors, trickle vents) gathered through an interview-based survey of 200 recently constructed dwellings, and measurements made on a sample of 40 of these. The main measured parameter discussed here is CO2 concentration. It was concluded after the literature review that 1000 ppm absolute was a reasonable threshold to use for “adequate” ventilation. The occupant survey found that there was very little occupant interaction with the trickle ventilators e.g., in bedrooms 63% were always closed, 28% always open, and in only 9% of cases occupants intervened to make occasional adjustments. In the measured dwellings average bedroom CO2 levels of 1520 ppm during occupied (night time) hours were observed. Where windows were open the average bedroom CO2 levels were 972 ppm. With windows closed, the combination of “trickle ventilators open plus doors open” gave an average of 1021 ppm. “Trickle ventilators open” gave an average of 1571 ppm. All other combinations gave averages of 1550 to 2000 ppm. Ventilation rates and air change rates were estimated from measured CO2 levels, for all dwellings calculated ventilation rate was less than 8 L/s/p, in 42% of cases calculated air change rate was less than 0.5 ach. It was concluded that trickle ventilation as installed and used is ineffective in meeting desired ventilation rates, evidenced by high CO2 levels reported across the sampled dwellings. Potential implications of the results are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality: Exposures and Occupant Health)
Open AccessCommunication Managing Groundwater Radioactive Contamination at the Daiichi Nuclear Plant
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8498-8503; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708498
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 16 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2681 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 severely damaged three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, leading to a major release of radiation into the environment. Groundwater flow through these crippled reactors continues to be one of the
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The Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 severely damaged three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, leading to a major release of radiation into the environment. Groundwater flow through these crippled reactors continues to be one of the main causes of contamination and associated transport of radionuclides into the Pacific Ocean. In this context, a number of strategies are being implemented to manage radioactive pollution of the water resources at the nuclear plant site. Along with water treatment and purification, it is critical to restrict the groundwater flow to and from the reactors. Thus, the devised strategies combine walls containment, bores abstraction, infiltration control, and the use of tanks for the temporary storage of contaminated waters. While some of these techniques have been previously applied in other environments, they have never been tested at such a large scale. Therefore, their effectiveness remains to be seen. The present manuscript presents an overview of the methods being currently implemented to manage groundwater contamination and to mitigate the impact of hydrological pathways in the dispersion of radionuclides at Fukushima. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Defining Neighbourhoods as a Measure of Exposure to the Food Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8504-8525; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708504
Received: 6 April 2015 / Revised: 7 April 2015 / Accepted: 15 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1270 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Neighbourhoods are frequently used as a measure for individuals’ exposure to the food environment. However, the definitions of neighbourhoods fluctuate and have not been applied consistently in previous studies. Neighbourhoods defined from a single fixed location fail to capture people’s complete exposure in
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Neighbourhoods are frequently used as a measure for individuals’ exposure to the food environment. However, the definitions of neighbourhoods fluctuate and have not been applied consistently in previous studies. Neighbourhoods defined from a single fixed location fail to capture people’s complete exposure in multiple locations, but measuring behaviour using traditional methods can be challenging. This study compares the traditional methods of measuring exposure to the food environment to methods that use data from GPS tracking. For each of the 187 participants, 11 different neighbourhoods were created in which the exposure to supermarkets and fast food outlets were measured. ANOVA, Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test and t-tests were performed to compare the neighbourhoods. Significant differences were found between area sizes and the exposure to supermarkets and fast food outlets for different neighbourhood types. Second, significant differences in exposure to food outlets were found between the urban and rural neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods are clearly a diffused and blurred concept that varies in meaning depending on each person’s perception and the conducted study. Complexity and heterogeneity of human mobility no longer appear to correspond to the use of residential neighbourhoods but rather emphasise the need for methods, concepts and measures of individual activity and exposure. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Pattern of Variation between Diarrhea and Malaria Coexistence with Corresponding Risk Factors in, Chikhwawa, Malawi: A Bivariate Multilevel Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8526-8541; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708526
Received: 2 June 2015 / Revised: 2 June 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
PDF Full-text (772 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Developing countries face a huge burden of infectious diseases, a number of which co-exist. This paper estimates the pattern and variation of malaria and diarrhea coexistence in Chikhwawa, a district in Southern Malawi using bivariate multilevel modelling with Bayesian estimation. A probit link
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Developing countries face a huge burden of infectious diseases, a number of which co-exist. This paper estimates the pattern and variation of malaria and diarrhea coexistence in Chikhwawa, a district in Southern Malawi using bivariate multilevel modelling with Bayesian estimation. A probit link was employed to examine hierarchically built data from a survey of individuals (n = 6,727) nested within households (n = 1,380) nested within communities (n = 33). Results show significant malaria [ ] and diarrhea [ ] variations with a strong correlation between them [ ] at household level. There are significant malaria [ ] and diarrhea [ ] variations at community level but with a small correlation [ ] between them. There is also significant correlation between malaria and diarrhea at individual level [ 0.241]. These results suggest a close association between reported malaria-like illness and diarrheal illness especially at household and individual levels in Southern Malawi. Full article
Open AccessArticle Smoking Prevalence and Associated Factors as well as Attitudes and Perceptions towards Tobacco Control in Northeast China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8606-8618; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708606
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 15 July 2015 / Accepted: 15 July 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (238 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objectives: The present study aimed to investigate the prevalence of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), the associated factors of current smoking among adults, and their attitudes and perceptions towards tobacco control. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2012
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Objectives: The present study aimed to investigate the prevalence of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), the associated factors of current smoking among adults, and their attitudes and perceptions towards tobacco control. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2012 using a self-reported questionnaire. A representative sample of adults aged 18–79 years was collected in the Jilin Province of Northeast China by a multistage stratified random cluster sampling design. Descriptive data analysis was conducted, and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of prevalence/frequency were calculated to enable comparisons between the alleged differences and similarities. Multivariable logistic regressions were used to examine the risk factors associated with current smoking. Results: 21,435 adults responded to the survey (response rate: 84.9%). The overall prevalence of ever smoking, current smoking, and former smoking or smoking cessation was 39.1% (95% CI: 38.3–39.9), 31.8% (95% CI 31.1–32.6), and 7.3% (95% CI: 6.9–7.7), respectively. The proportion of ETS exposure among adult non-smokers in Jilin Province was 61.1% (95% CI: 60.1–62.1), and 23.1% (95% CI: 22.3–24.0) of the non-smokers reported daily ETS exposure. The proportion of ETS exposure at home was 33.4% (95% CI: 32.5–34.4), but the proportion of ETS exposure at restaurants was lower (6.5%) (95% CI: 6.0–7.1). More than 90% of the participants had positive attitudes and perceptions towards tobacco control, but 23.2% (95% CI: 22.5–24.0) of them did not agree with the perception of “smoking is fully quit in public places”, and almost half of the adults (49.5%) (95% CI: 48.7–50.3) did not agree with the perception of “hazards of low-tar cigarettes are equal to general cigarettes”. Conclusions: Smoking and exposure to ETS are prevalent among adults from the Jilin Province of Northeast China. Our findings suggest that tobacco control should be advocated in Northeast China. Anti-smoking campaigns and legislation should be built into the public health curriculum and government policy. Full article

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Open AccessReview The Construction and Validation of the Heat Vulnerability Index, a Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7220-7234; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707220
Received: 22 April 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 16 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (775 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The occurrence of extreme heat and its adverse effects will be exacerbated with the trend of global warming. An increasing number of researchers have been working on aggregating multiple heat-related indicators to create composite indices for heat vulnerability assessments and have visualized the
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The occurrence of extreme heat and its adverse effects will be exacerbated with the trend of global warming. An increasing number of researchers have been working on aggregating multiple heat-related indicators to create composite indices for heat vulnerability assessments and have visualized the vulnerability through geographic information systems to provide references for reducing the adverse effects of extreme heat more effectively. This review includes 15 studies concerning heat vulnerability assessment. We have studied the indicators utilized and the methods adopted in these studies for the construction of the heat vulnerability index (HVI) and then further reviewed some of the studies that validated the HVI. We concluded that the HVI is useful for targeting the intervention of heat risk, and that heat-related health outcomes could be used to validate and optimize the HVI. In the future, more studies should be conducted to provide references for the selection of heat-related indicators and the determination of weight values of these indicators in the development of the HVI. Studies concerning the application of the HVI are also needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Climate Change and Human Health)
Open AccessReview Manganese-Induced Parkinsonism and Parkinson’s Disease: Shared and Distinguishable Features
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7519-7540; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707519
Received: 18 November 2014 / Revised: 12 December 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 6 July 2015
Cited by 38 | PDF Full-text (724 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace element necessary for physiological processes that support development, growth and neuronal function. Secondary to elevated exposure or decreased excretion, Mn accumulates in the basal ganglia region of the brain and may cause a parkinsonian-like syndrome, referred to
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Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace element necessary for physiological processes that support development, growth and neuronal function. Secondary to elevated exposure or decreased excretion, Mn accumulates in the basal ganglia region of the brain and may cause a parkinsonian-like syndrome, referred to as manganism. The present review discusses the advances made in understanding the essentiality and neurotoxicity of Mn. We review occupational Mn-induced parkinsonism and the dynamic modes of Mn transport in biological systems, as well as the detection and pharmacokinetic modeling of Mn trafficking. In addition, we review some of the shared similarities, pathologic and clinical distinctions between Mn-induced parkinsonism and Parkinson’s disease. Where possible, we review the influence of Mn toxicity on dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate neurotransmitter levels and function. We conclude with a survey of the preventive and treatment strategies for manganism and idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD). Full article
Open AccessReview Environmental Resource Management in Borderlands: Evolution from Competing Interests to Common Aversions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7541-7557; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707541
Received: 16 May 2015 / Revised: 27 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 6 July 2015
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Abstract
Great enthusiasm is attached to the emergence of cross-border regions (CBRs) as a new institutional arrangement for dealing with local cross-border environmental resource management and other issues that remain too distant from national capitals and/or too expensive to be addressed in the traditional
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Great enthusiasm is attached to the emergence of cross-border regions (CBRs) as a new institutional arrangement for dealing with local cross-border environmental resource management and other issues that remain too distant from national capitals and/or too expensive to be addressed in the traditional topocratic manner requiring instead local adhocratic methods. This study briefly discusses the perceived value of CBRs and necessary and sufficient conditions for the successful and sustainable development of such places. Then, assuming that necessary conditions can be met, the study investigates an intriguing hypothesis concerning the catalyzing of sustainable consensus for cross-border resource management based on a game theoretical approach that employs the use of dilemma of common aversion rather than the more traditional dilemma of competing common interests. Using this lens to investigate a series of events on the Pacific northwestern Canadian-American border in a part of the Fraser Lowland, we look for evidence of the emergence of an active and sustainable CBR to address local trans-border resource management issues. Although our micro-level scale fails to conclusively demonstrate such evidence, it does demonstrate the value of using this approach and suggests a number of avenues for further research. Full article
Open AccessReview Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana — Part 3: Social Sciences and Economics
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8133-8156; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708133
Received: 6 April 2015 / Revised: 21 May 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1351 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article is one of three synthesis reports resulting from an integrated assessment (IA) of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. Given the complexities that involve multiple drivers and diverse disciplines influencing ASGM, an IA framework was used to analyze economic,
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This article is one of three synthesis reports resulting from an integrated assessment (IA) of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Ghana. Given the complexities that involve multiple drivers and diverse disciplines influencing ASGM, an IA framework was used to analyze economic, social, health, and environmental data and to co-develop evidence-based responses in collaboration with pertinent stakeholders. We look at both micro- and macro-economic processes surrounding ASGM, including causes, challenges, and consequences. At the micro-level, social and economic evidence suggests that the principal reasons whereby most people engage in ASGM involve “push” factors aimed at meeting livelihood goals. ASGM provides an important source of income for both proximate and distant communities, representing a means of survival for impoverished farmers as well as an engine for small business growth. However, miners and their families often end up in a “poverty trap” of low productivity and indebtedness, which reduce even further their economic options. At a macro level, Ghana’s ASGM activities contribute significantly to the national economy even though they are sometimes operating illegally and at a disadvantage compared to large-scale industrial mining companies. Nevertheless, complex issues of land tenure, social stability, mining regulation and taxation, and environmental degradation undermine the viability and sustainability of ASGM as a livelihood strategy. Although more research is needed to understand these complex relationships, we point to key findings and insights from social science and economics research that can guide policies and actions aimed to address the unique challenges of ASGM in Ghana and elsewhere. Full article
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Open AccessReview PM2.5 and Cardiovascular Diseases in the Elderly: An Overview
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8187-8197; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708187
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 19 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the elderly and the ambient concentration of PM2.5 has been associated with several cardiovascular diseases. Methods: We describe the present state of planetary air pollution, analyze epidemiological
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Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the elderly and the ambient concentration of PM2.5 has been associated with several cardiovascular diseases. Methods: We describe the present state of planetary air pollution, analyze epidemiological studies linking PM2.5 and CVD, and discuss multiple pathophysiological mechanisms linking PM2.5 and CVD. Results: A few epidemiological studies show that the elderly appear specifically susceptible to adverse cardiovascular effects triggered by PM2.5 exposure. Plausible pathophysiological mechanisms include inflammatory dysfunction, oxidative stress, abnormal activation of the hemostatic system and disturbance of the autonomic nervous system. Conclusions: An in-depth knowledge of the chemical compounds, pathophysiological mechanisms, and epidemiological studies of PM2.5 are recommended to understand this important and modifiable factor contributing to geriatric CVD burden. We offer public health recommendations to reduce this preventable cause of disease and death. Full article
Open AccessReview Evaluating the Association between Diabetes, Cognitive Decline and Dementia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8281-8294; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708281
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 12 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (675 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this article is to review the association between diabetes mellitus, cognitive decline and dementia, including the effects of cognitive decline and dementia on self management of diabetes. This is a literature review of primary research articles. A number of contemporary
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The aim of this article is to review the association between diabetes mellitus, cognitive decline and dementia, including the effects of cognitive decline and dementia on self management of diabetes. This is a literature review of primary research articles. A number of contemporary research articles that met the inclusion criteria were selected for this review paper. These articles were selected using a number of search strategies and electronic databases, such as EBSCOhost Research and SwetsWise databases. The duration of diabetes, glycated haemoglobin levels and glycaemic fluctuations were associated with cognitive decline and dementia. Similarly, hypoglycaemia was significantly related to increased risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia. Furthermore, cognitive decline and dementia were associated with poorer diabetes management. There is evidence of the association between diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia including the shared pathogenesis between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the self management of diabetes is affected by dementia and cognitive decline. It could be suggested that the association between diabetes and dementia is bidirectional with the potential to proceed to a vicious cycle. Further studies are needed in order to fully establish the relationship between diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia. Patients who have diabetes and dementia could benefit from structured education strategies, which should involve empowerment programmes and lifestyle changes. The detection of cognitive decline should highlight the need for education strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Health Care and Diabetes)
Open AccessReview Climate Change, Drought and Human Health in Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8359-8412; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708359
Received: 2 June 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (603 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Droughts have been recorded all across Canada and have had significant impacts on individuals and communities. With climate change, projections suggest an increasing risk of drought in Canada, particularly in the south and interior. However, there has been little research on the impacts
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Droughts have been recorded all across Canada and have had significant impacts on individuals and communities. With climate change, projections suggest an increasing risk of drought in Canada, particularly in the south and interior. However, there has been little research on the impacts of drought on human health and the implications of a changing climate. A review of the Canadian, U.S. and international literature relevant to the Canadian context was conducted to better define these impacts and adaptations available to protect health. Drought can impact respiratory health, mental health, illnesses related to exposure to toxins, food/water security, rates of injury and infectious diseases (including food-, water- and vector-borne diseases). A range of direct and indirect adaptation (e.g., agricultural adaptation) options exist to cope with drought. Many have already been employed by public health officials, such as communicable disease monitoring and surveillance and public education and outreach. However, gaps exist in our understanding of the impacts of short-term vs. prolonged drought on the health of Canadians, projections of drought and its characteristics at the regional level and the effectiveness of current adaptations. Further research will be critical to inform adaptation planning to reduce future drought-related risks to health. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Climate Change and Human Health)
Open AccessReview Potential Occupational Exposures and Health Risks Associated with Biomass-Based Power Generation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8542-8605; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708542
Received: 1 April 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1803 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomass is increasingly being used for power generation; however, assessment of potential occupational health and safety (OH&S) concerns related to usage of biomass fuels in combustion-based generation remains limited. We reviewed the available literature on known and potential OH&S issues associated with biomass-based
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Biomass is increasingly being used for power generation; however, assessment of potential occupational health and safety (OH&S) concerns related to usage of biomass fuels in combustion-based generation remains limited. We reviewed the available literature on known and potential OH&S issues associated with biomass-based fuel usage for electricity generation at the utility scale. We considered three potential exposure scenarios—pre-combustion exposure to material associated with the fuel, exposure to combustion products, and post-combustion exposure to ash and residues. Testing of dust, fungal and bacterial levels at two power stations was also undertaken. Results indicated that dust concentrations within biomass plants can be extremely variable, with peak levels in some areas exceeding occupational exposure limits for wood dust and general inhalable dust. Fungal spore types, identified as common environmental species, were higher than in outdoor air. Our review suggests that pre-combustion risks, including bioaerosols and biogenic organics, should be considered further. Combustion and post-combustion risks appear similar to current fossil-based combustion. In light of limited available information, additional studies at power plants utilizing a variety of technologies and biomass fuels are recommended. Full article

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Open AccessConference Report U.S. Recreational Water Quality Criteria: A Vision for the Future
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7752-7776; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707752
Received: 20 April 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (717 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This manuscript evaluates the U.S. Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC) of 2012, based upon discussions during a conference held 11–13 March 2013, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The RWQC of 2012 did not meet expectations among the research community because key recommended studies were not
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This manuscript evaluates the U.S. Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC) of 2012, based upon discussions during a conference held 11–13 March 2013, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The RWQC of 2012 did not meet expectations among the research community because key recommended studies were not completed, new data to assess risks to bathers exposed to non-point sources of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) were not developed, and the 2012 RWQC did not show marked improvements in strategies for assessing health risks for bathers using all types of recreational waters. The development of the 2012 RWQC was limited in scope because the epidemiologic studies at beach sites were restricted to beaches with point sources of pollution and water samples were monitored for only enterococci. The vision for the future is development of effective RWQC guidelines based on epidemiologic and quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) studies for sewage specific markers, as well as human enteric pathogens so that health risks for bathers at all recreational waters can be determined. The 2012 RWQC introduced a program for states and tribes to develop site-specific water quality criteria, and in theory this approach can be used to address the limitations associated with the measurements of the traditional FIB. Full article
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