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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 14, Issue 2 (February 2017)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial UV-Radiation: From Physics to Impacts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 200; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020200
Received: 13 February 2017 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has affected life at least since the first life forms moved out of the seas and crawled onto the land. Therefore, one might assume that evolution has adapted to natural UV radiation. However, evolution is mostly concerned with the propagation
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Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has affected life at least since the first life forms moved out of the seas and crawled onto the land. Therefore, one might assume that evolution has adapted to natural UV radiation. However, evolution is mostly concerned with the propagation of the genetic code, not with a long, happy, and fulfilling life. Because rickets is bad for a woman giving birth, the beneficial effects of UV-radiation outweigh the adverse effects like aged skin and skin tumors of various grades of malignancy that usually only afflict us at older age. Anthropogenic damage to the stratospheric ozone layer and frighteningly high rates of melanoma skin cancer in the light-skinned descendants of British settlers in Australia piqued interest in the health impacts of UV radiation. A changing cultural perception of the beauty of tanned versus light skin and commercial interests in selling UV-emitting devices such as tanning booths caught public health experts off-guard. Counseling and health communication are extremely difficult when dealing with a “natural” risk factor, especially when this risk factor cannot (and should not) be completely avoided. How much is too much for whom or for which skin type? How even measure “much”? Is it the (cumulative) dose or the dose rate that matters most? Or should we even construct a more complex metric such as the cumulative dose above a certain dose rate threshold? We find there are still many open questions, and we are glad that this special issue offered us the opportunity to present many interesting aspects of this important topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UV-Radiation: From Physics to Impacts)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 87; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020087
Received: 11 October 2016 / Revised: 18 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 3 February 2017
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Abstract
Pit latrines can provide improved household sanitation, but without effective and inexpensive emptying options, they are often abandoned once full and may pose a public health threat. Emptying techniques can be difficult, as the sludge contents of each pit latrine are different. The
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Pit latrines can provide improved household sanitation, but without effective and inexpensive emptying options, they are often abandoned once full and may pose a public health threat. Emptying techniques can be difficult, as the sludge contents of each pit latrine are different. The design of effective emptying techniques (e.g., pumps) is limited by a lack of data characterizing typical in situ latrine sludge resistance. This investigation aimed to better understand the community education and technical engineering needs necessary to improve pit latrine management. In low income areas within Mzuzu city, Malawi, 300 pit latrines from three distinct areas were assessed using a dynamic cone penetrometer to quantify fecal sludge strength, and household members were surveyed to determine their knowledge of desludging procedures and practices likely to impact fecal sludge characteristics. The results demonstrate that there is a significant difference in sludge strength between lined and unlined pits within a defined area, though sludge hardened with depth, regardless of the pit type or region. There was only limited association between cone penetration depth and household survey data. To promote the adoption of pit emptying, it is recommended that households be provided with information that supports pit emptying, such as latrine construction designs, local pit emptying options, and cost. This study indicates that the use of a penetrometer test in the field prior to pit latrine emptying may facilitate the selection of appropriate pit emptying technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Particulate Matter and Respiratory Symptoms among Adults Living in Windhoek, Namibia: A Cross Sectional Descriptive Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 110; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020110
Received: 8 November 2016 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and to assess respiratory health risks associated with Particulate Matter (PM) exposure among the residents of Windhoek, Namibia. Objectives: To measure particulate pollution concentration in Windhoek through monitoring of particulate matter concentration and
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This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and to assess respiratory health risks associated with Particulate Matter (PM) exposure among the residents of Windhoek, Namibia. Objectives: To measure particulate pollution concentration in Windhoek through monitoring of particulate matter concentration and to identify any associations between particulate pollution, individual location, and respiratory health among the Windhoek resident’s. Methods: an adapted standardized self-administered questionnaire was used to collect respiratory health related data as well as previous exposure, while PM monitoring was done using the ASTM (American Standard Test Method) D1739 reference method. Results: A high prevalence was observed for cough (43%), breathlessness (25%), and asthma (11.2%). PM was found to be a significant risk factor for episodes of coughing and phlegm, while high PM exposure category had an increased odds ratio (OR) for episodes of phlegm and cough (OR: 2.5, 95% CI (95% confidence intervals): 0.8–8.0). No association was observed between location and respiratory health outcomes. Conclusions: The study found high levels of PM concentration across all Windhoek suburbs which were above the German, American, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Enactment of legislation relating to the control and monitoring of PM related emissions at the point of generation is required at both a country and city level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Open AccessArticle In Vitro Investigations of Human Bioaccessibility from Reference Materials Using Simulated Lung Fluids
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 112; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020112
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
An investigation for assessing pulmonary bioaccessibility of metals from reference materials is presented using simulated lung fluids. The objective of this paper was to contribute to an enhanced understanding of airborne particulate matter and its toxic potential following inhalation. A large set of
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An investigation for assessing pulmonary bioaccessibility of metals from reference materials is presented using simulated lung fluids. The objective of this paper was to contribute to an enhanced understanding of airborne particulate matter and its toxic potential following inhalation. A large set of metallic elements (Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, and Zn) was investigated using three lung fluids (phosphate-buffered saline, Gamble’s solution and artificial lysosomal fluid) on three standard reference materials representing different types of particle sources. Composition of the leaching solution and four solid-to-liquid (S/L) ratios were tested. The results showed that bioaccessibility was speciation- (i.e., distribution) and element-dependent, with percentages varying from 0.04% for Pb to 86.0% for Cd. The higher extraction of metallic elements was obtained with the artificial lysosomal fluid, in which a relative stability of bioaccessibility was observed in a large range of S/L ratios from 1/1000 to 1/10,000. For further investigations, it is suggested that this method be used to assess lung bioaccessibility of metals from smelter-impacted dusts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Polypyrrole-Grafted Coconut Shell Biological Carbon as a Potential Adsorbent for Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether Removal: Characterization and Adsorption Capability
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 113; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020113
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) has been used as a common gasoline additive worldwide since the late twentieth century, and it has become the most frequently detected groundwater pollutant in many countries. This study aimed to synthesize a novel microbial carrier to improve
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Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) has been used as a common gasoline additive worldwide since the late twentieth century, and it has become the most frequently detected groundwater pollutant in many countries. This study aimed to synthesize a novel microbial carrier to improve its adsorptive capacity for MTBE and biofilm formation, compared to the traditional granular activated carbon (GAC). A polypyrrole (PPy)-modified GAC composite (PPy/GAC) was synthesized, and characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area analysis. The adsorption behaviors of MTBE were well described by the pseudo-second-order and Langmuir isotherm models. Furthermore, three biofilm reactors were established with PPy/GAC, PPy, and GAC as the carriers, respectively, and the degradation of MTBE under continuous flow was investigated. Compared to the biofilm reactors with PPy or GAC (which both broke after a period of operation), the PPy/GAC biofilm column produced stable effluents under variable treatment conditions with a long-term effluent MTBE concentration <20 μg/L. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter pittii may be the predominant bacteria responsible for MTBE degradation in these biofilm reactors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Micro-Pollutants and Human Exposure)
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Open AccessArticle Prediction of Air Pollutants Concentration Based on an Extreme Learning Machine: The Case of Hong Kong
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 114; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020114
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1586 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the development of the economy and society all over the world, most metropolitan cities are experiencing elevated concentrations of ground-level air pollutants. It is urgent to predict and evaluate the concentration of air pollutants for some local environmental or health agencies. Feed-forward
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With the development of the economy and society all over the world, most metropolitan cities are experiencing elevated concentrations of ground-level air pollutants. It is urgent to predict and evaluate the concentration of air pollutants for some local environmental or health agencies. Feed-forward artificial neural networks have been widely used in the prediction of air pollutants concentration. However, there are some drawbacks, such as the low convergence rate and the local minimum. The extreme learning machine for single hidden layer feed-forward neural networks tends to provide good generalization performance at an extremely fast learning speed. The major sources of air pollutants in Hong Kong are mobile, stationary, and from trans-boundary sources. We propose predicting the concentration of air pollutants by the use of trained extreme learning machines based on the data obtained from eight air quality parameters in two monitoring stations, including Sham Shui Po and Tap Mun in Hong Kong for six years. The experimental results show that our proposed algorithm performs better on the Hong Kong data both quantitatively and qualitatively. Particularly, our algorithm shows better predictive ability, with R 2 increased and root mean square error values decreased respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Isolation, Characterization, and Degradation Performance of the 17β-Estradiol-Degrading Bacterium Novosphingobium sp. E2S
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 115; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020115
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 25 January 2017
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Abstract
A 17β-estradiol (E2)-degrading bacterium E2S was isolated from the activated sludge in a sewage treatment plant (STP). The morphology, biological characteristics, and 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequence of strain E2S indicated that it belonged to the genus Novosphingobium. The optimal degrading
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A 17β-estradiol (E2)-degrading bacterium E2S was isolated from the activated sludge in a sewage treatment plant (STP). The morphology, biological characteristics, and 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequence of strain E2S indicated that it belonged to the genus Novosphingobium. The optimal degrading conditions were 30 °C and pH 7.0. The ideal inoculum volume was 5% (v/v), and a 20-mL degradation system was sufficient to support the removal ability of strain E2S. The addition of extra NaCl to the system did not benefit the E2 degradation in batch culture by this strain. Strain E2S exhibited high degradation efficiency with initial substrate concentrations of 10–50 mg·L−1. For example, in mineral salt medium containing 50 mg·L−1 of E2, the degradation efficiency was 63.29% after seven days. In cow manure samples supplemented with 50 mg·L−1 of E2, strain E2S exhibited 66.40% degradation efficiency after seven days. The finding of the E2-degrading strain E2S provided a promising method for removing E2 from livestock manure in order to reduce the potential environmental risks of E2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Micro-Pollutants and Human Exposure)
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Open AccessArticle Racial Differences in Perceptions of Air Pollution Health Risk: Does Environmental Exposure Matter?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 116; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020116
Received: 2 December 2016 / Revised: 14 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 25 January 2017
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Abstract
This article extends environmental risk perception research by exploring how potential health risk from exposure to industrial and vehicular air pollutants, as well as other contextual and socio-demographic factors, influence racial/ethnic differences in air pollution health risk perception. Our study site is the
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This article extends environmental risk perception research by exploring how potential health risk from exposure to industrial and vehicular air pollutants, as well as other contextual and socio-demographic factors, influence racial/ethnic differences in air pollution health risk perception. Our study site is the Greater Houston metropolitan area, Texas, USA—a racially/ethnically diverse area facing high levels of exposure to pollutants from both industrial and transportation sources. We integrate primary household-level survey data with estimates of excess cancer risk from ambient exposure to industrial and on-road mobile source emissions of air toxics obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Statistical analysis is based on multivariate generalized estimation equation models which account for geographic clustering of surveyed households. Our results reveal significantly higher risk perceptions for non-Hispanic Black residents and those exposed to greater cancer risk from industrial pollutants, and also indicate that gender influences the relationship between race/ethnicity and air pollution risk perception. These findings highlight the need to incorporate measures of environmental health risk exposure in future analysis of social disparities in risk perception. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Understanding Resilience Dimensions and Adaptive Strategies to the Impact of Recurrent Droughts in Borana Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia: A Grounded Theory Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 118; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020118
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 26 January 2017
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Abstract
Recurrent shocks and stresses are increasingly deteriorating pastoralist communities’ resilience capacities in many aspects. A context specific resilience framework is essential to strengthen pastoralist community’s resilience capacity towards the impact of recurrent drought. Hence, the present study was aimed to develop a context
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Recurrent shocks and stresses are increasingly deteriorating pastoralist communities’ resilience capacities in many aspects. A context specific resilience framework is essential to strengthen pastoralist community’s resilience capacity towards the impact of recurrent drought. Hence, the present study was aimed to develop a context specific and data driven resilience building framework towards impacts of recurrent droughts in the case of Borana pastoralists in Ethiopia. Qualitative grounded theory approach was employed to guide the study process. The data were collected through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews in two drought affected districts of Borana Zone during October 2013. The analysis was assisted by ATLAS. ti 7.1.4. The analysis provided a context specific resilience building conceptual tool, which consists of, closely interconnected, eight dimensions operating at multiple capacities and levels: environment (underlying vulnerability factor); livestock, infrastructures/social services, and wealth (immediate causes and effects); community network/social capital, as well as governance, peace and security (support and enabling factors oriented), psychosocial, and human capital (as eventual outcomes and impacts). The resilience capacities of these pastoralist communities have been eroded, leaving them without sufficient and effective adaptive strategies. The emergent resilience framework can serve as a useful guidance to design context-specific interventions that makes the people and the system resilient to the impacts of recurrent droughts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Are There Inequities in Treatment of End-Stage Renal Disease in Sweden? A Longitudinal Register-Based Study on Socioeconomic Status-Related Access to Kidney Transplantation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 119; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020119
Received: 8 November 2016 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
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Abstract
Socioeconomic status-related factors have been associated with access to kidney transplantation, yet few studies have investigated both individual income and education as determinates of access to kidney transplantation. Therefore, this study aims to explore the effects of both individual income and education on
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Socioeconomic status-related factors have been associated with access to kidney transplantation, yet few studies have investigated both individual income and education as determinates of access to kidney transplantation. Therefore, this study aims to explore the effects of both individual income and education on access to kidney transplantation, controlling for both medical and non-medical factors. We linked the Swedish Renal Register to national registers for a sample of adult patients who started Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) in Sweden between 1 January 1995, and 31 December 2013. Using uni- and multivariate logistic models, we studied the association between pre-RRT income and education and likelihood of receiving kidney transplantation. For non-pre-emptive transplantation patients, we also used multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis to assess the association between treatment and socioeconomic factors. Among the 16,215 patients in the sample, 27% had received kidney transplantation by the end of 2013. After adjusting for covariates, the highest income group had more than three times the chance of accessing kidney transplantation compared with patients in the lowest income group (odds ratio (OR): 3.22; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.73–3.80). Patients with college education had more than three times higher chance of access to kidney transplantation compared with patients with mandatory education (OR: 3.18; 95% CI: 2.77–3.66). Neither living in the county of the transplantation center nor gender was shown to have any effect on the likelihood of receiving kidney transplantation. For non-pre-emptive transplantation patients, the results from Cox models were similar with what we got from logistic models. Sensitive analyses showed that results were not sensitive to different conditions. Overall, socioeconomic status-related inequities exist in access to kidney transplantation in Sweden. Additional studies are needed to explore the possible mechanisms and strategies to mitigate these inequities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Services and Health Economics Research)
Open AccessArticle Black–White and Country of Birth Disparities in Retention in HIV Care and Viral Suppression among Latinos with HIV in Florida, 2015
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 120; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020120
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
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Abstract
The study’s purpose was to identify HIV, Black–White race, and birth country disparities in retention in HIV care and HIV viral load (VL) suppression among Latinos, in 2015. Florida’s surveillance data for Latinos diagnosed with HIV (2000–2014) were merged with American Community Survey
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The study’s purpose was to identify HIV, Black–White race, and birth country disparities in retention in HIV care and HIV viral load (VL) suppression among Latinos, in 2015. Florida’s surveillance data for Latinos diagnosed with HIV (2000–2014) were merged with American Community Survey data. Multi-level (random effects) models were used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) for non-retention in care and non-viral load suppression. Blacks and Whites experienced similar odds of non–retention in care. Racial differences in VL suppression disappeared after controlling for neighborhood factors. Compared to U.S.–born Latinos, those born in Mexico (retention aOR 2.00, 95% CI 1.70–2.36; VL 1.85, 95% CI 1.57–2.17) and Central America (retention aOR 1.33, 95% CI 1.16–1.53; VL 1.28, 95% CI 1.12–2.47) were at an increased risk after controlling for individual and neighborhood factors. Among Central Americans, those born in Guatemala (retention aOR 2.39, 95% CI 1.80–3.18; VL 2.20, 95% CI 1.66–2.92) and Honduras (retention aOR 1.39, 95% CI 1.13–1.72; VL 1.42, 95% CI 1.16–1.74) experienced the largest disparities, when compared to U.S.-born Latinos. Disparities in care and treatment exist within the Latino population. Cultural and other factors, unique to Latino Black-White racial and birth country subgroups, should be further studied and considered for intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Determinants of HIV, Substance Abuse and Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Attitudes and Learning through Practice Are Key to Delivering Brief Interventions for Heavy Drinking in Primary Health Care: Analyses from the ODHIN Five Country Cluster Randomized Factorial Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 121; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020121
Received: 6 December 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 26 January 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, we test path models that study the interrelations between primary health care provider attitudes towards working with drinkers, their screening and brief advice activity, and their receipt of training and support and financial reimbursement. Study participants were 756 primary health
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In this paper, we test path models that study the interrelations between primary health care provider attitudes towards working with drinkers, their screening and brief advice activity, and their receipt of training and support and financial reimbursement. Study participants were 756 primary health care providers from 120 primary health care units (PHCUs) in different locations throughout Catalonia, England, The Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden. Our interventions were training and support and financial reimbursement to providers. Our design was a randomized factorial trial with baseline measurement period, 12-week implementation period, and 9-month follow-up measurement period. Our outcome measures were: attitudes of individual providers in working with drinkers as measured by the Short Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Perception Questionnaire; and the proportion of consulting adult patients (age 18+ years) who screened positive and were given advice to reduce their alcohol consumption (intervention activity). We found that more positive attitudes were associated with higher intervention activity, and higher intervention activity was then associated with more positive attitudes. Training and support was associated with both positive changes in attitudes and higher intervention activity. Financial reimbursement was associated with more positive attitudes through its impact on higher intervention activity. We conclude that improving primary health care providers’ screening and brief advice activity for heavy drinking requires a combination of training and support and on-the-job experience of actually delivering screening and brief advice activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Health)
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Open AccessArticle General Population Knowledge about Extreme Heat: A Cross-Sectional Survey in Lisbon and Madrid
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 122; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020122
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
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Abstract
Extreme heat is associated with an increased mortality and morbidity. National heat plans have been implemented to minimize the effect of extreme heat. The population’s awareness and knowledge of national heat plans and extreme heat is essential to improve the community’s behavior and
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Extreme heat is associated with an increased mortality and morbidity. National heat plans have been implemented to minimize the effect of extreme heat. The population’s awareness and knowledge of national heat plans and extreme heat is essential to improve the community’s behavior and adaptation. A general population survey was conducted in Lisbon and in Madrid to assess this knowledge. We used a questionnaire to interview passers-by. Results were compared between Lisbon and Madrid and between locals and foreigners, using Pearson Chi-square tests and Fisher's exact test. We conducted 260 interviews in six locations of different socio-economic backgrounds in each city. The most frequently mentioned extreme heat-related risk groups were the elderly (79.2%), children (49.6%) and babies (21.5%). The most frequently reported protective measures were increased fluid intake (73.1%) and avoiding exposure to the sun (50.8%). Knowledge about the heat plan was higher in Lisbon (37.2%) than in Madrid (25.2%) (p-value = 0.03). Foreigners had less knowledge of risk groups compared to locals. Heat plans were not widely known in Madrid and Lisbon. Nonetheless, knowledge of practical concepts to face extreme heat, such as certain risk groups and protective measures, was found. Our results were similar to comparable surveys where specific respondents’ groups were identified as less knowledgeable. This highlighted the importance of addressing these groups when communicating public health messages on heat. Foreigners should be specifically targeted to increase their awareness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Gender on the Association of Urinary Phthalate Metabolites with Thyroid Hormones in Children: A Prospective Cohort Study in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 123; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020123
Received: 6 November 2016 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (688 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Phthalates are considered endocrine disruptors. Our study assessed the gender-specific effects of phthalate exposure on thyroid function in children. In total, 189 Taiwanese children were enrolled in the study. One-spot urine and blood samples were collected for analyzing 12 phthalate metabolites in urine
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Phthalates are considered endocrine disruptors. Our study assessed the gender-specific effects of phthalate exposure on thyroid function in children. In total, 189 Taiwanese children were enrolled in the study. One-spot urine and blood samples were collected for analyzing 12 phthalate metabolites in urine and thyroid hormones. The association between urinary phthalate metabolites and serum thyroid hormones was determined using a generalized linear model with a log link function; the children were categorized into groups for analysis according to the 33rd and 66th percentiles. The data were stratified according to gender and adjusted for a priori defined covariates. In girls, a positive association existed between urinary di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) metabolites (mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate, and mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate) and free thyroxine (T4). In boys, urinary dibutyl phthalate (DBP) metabolites (mono-i-butyl phthalate and mono-n-butyl phthalate) were positively associated with free triiodothyronine (T3). After categorizing each exposure into three groups, urinary DEHP metabolites were positively associated with free T3 levels in boys. Our results suggested that DEHP is associated with free T4 in girls and that DBP is associated with free T3 in boys. Higher DEHP metabolite concentrations exerted larger effects on free T3 in boys. These results reveal the gender-specific relationships between phthalate metabolites and thyroid hormones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Recruitment of Refugees for Health Research: A Qualitative Study to Add Refugees’ Perspectives
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 125; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020125
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
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Abstract
Research is needed to understand refugees’ health challenges and barriers to accessing health services during settlement. However, there are practical and ethical challenges for engaging refugees as participants. Despite this, there have been no studies to date specifically investigating refugee perspectives on factors
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Research is needed to understand refugees’ health challenges and barriers to accessing health services during settlement. However, there are practical and ethical challenges for engaging refugees as participants. Despite this, there have been no studies to date specifically investigating refugee perspectives on factors affecting engagement in health research. Language-concordant focus groups in British Columbia, Canada, with four government-assisted refugee language groups (Farsi/Dari, Somali, Karen, Arabic) inquired about willingness to participate in health research. Twenty-three variables associated with the willingness of refugees to participate in health research were elicited. Variables related to research design included recruitment strategies, characteristics of the research team members and the nature of the research. Variables related to individual participants included demographic features such as gender and education, attitudes towards research and previous experience with research. This research can be used to increase opportunities for refugees’ engagement in research and includes recommendations for subgroups of refugees that may have more difficulties engaging in research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee Health)
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Open AccessArticle Smoking Status and the Five-Factor Model of Personality: Results of a Cross-Sectional Study Conducted in Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 126; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020126
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 5 January 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
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Abstract
Tobacco smoking is the single most important modifiable factor in increased morbidity and premature mortality. Numerous factors—including genetics, personality, and environment—affect the development and persistence of tobacco addiction, and knowledge regarding these factors could improve smoking cessation rates. This study compared personality traits
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Tobacco smoking is the single most important modifiable factor in increased morbidity and premature mortality. Numerous factors—including genetics, personality, and environment—affect the development and persistence of tobacco addiction, and knowledge regarding these factors could improve smoking cessation rates. This study compared personality traits between never, former, and current smokers, using the Five-Factor Model of Personality in a country with a turbulent smoking reduction process.: In this cross-sectional study, 909 Polish adults completed the Revised Neuroticism-Extraversion-Openness Personality Inventory. Our results showed that current smokers’ scores for extraversion, one of the five global dimensions of personality, were higher relative to never smokers. Neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness did not differ significantly according to smoking status. Facet analysis, which described each dimension in detail, showed that current smokers’ activity and excitement seeking (facets of extraversion) scores were higher relative to those of never and former smokers. In turn, current smokers’ dutifulness and deliberation (facets of conscientiousness) scores were lower than those found in former and never smokers. Never smokers scored the highest in self-consciousness (a facet of neuroticism) and compliance (a component of agreeableness). The study conducted among Polish individuals showed variation in personality traits according to their smoking status; however, this variation differed from that reported in countries in which efforts to reduce smoking had begun earlier relative to Poland. Knowledge regarding personality traits could be useful in designing smoking prevention and cessation programs tailored to individuals’ needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Ultrafine and Fine Particulate Matter Inside and Outside of Mechanically Ventilated Buildings
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 128; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020128
Received: 26 November 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 22 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
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Abstract
The objectives of this study were to measure levels of particulate matter (PM) in mechanically ventilated buildings and to improve understanding of filtration requirements to reduce exposure. With the use of an Ultra High Sensitivity Aerosol Spectrometer and an Aerodyne Mass Spectrometer, ultrafine
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The objectives of this study were to measure levels of particulate matter (PM) in mechanically ventilated buildings and to improve understanding of filtration requirements to reduce exposure. With the use of an Ultra High Sensitivity Aerosol Spectrometer and an Aerodyne Mass Spectrometer, ultrafine (0.055–0.1 μm) and fine (0.1–0.7 μm) indoor and outdoor PM was measured as a function of time in an office, a university building, and two elementary schools. Indoor particle levels were highly correlated with outdoor levels. Indoor and outdoor number concentrations in Denver were higher than those in Boulder, with the highest number concentrations occurring during summer and fall. The ratio of indoor-to-outdoor (I/O) PM was weakly but positively correlated with the amount of ventilation provided to the indoor environment, did not vary much with particle size (ranged between 0.48 and 0.63 for the entire size range), and was similar for each period of the week (weekend vs. weekday, night vs. day). Regression analyses showed that ultrafine indoor PM baseline concentrations were higher at night from nighttime infiltration. A lag time was observed between outdoor and indoor measurements. Weekday days had the shortest lag time of 11 min, and weekend nighttime lags when the HVAC was not in use were 50 to 148 min. Indoor-outdoor PM concentration plots showed ultrafine PM was more correlated compared to fine, and especially when the HVAC system was on. Finally, AMS data showed that most of the PM was organic, with occasional nitrate events occurring outdoors. During nitrate events, there were less indoor particles detected, indicating a loss of particulate phase nitrate. The results from this study show that improved filtration is warranted in mechanically ventilated buildings, particularly for ultrafine particles, and that nighttime infiltration is significant depending on the building design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Coffee Consumption and the Risk of Thyroid Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 129; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020129
Received: 8 November 2016 / Revised: 20 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
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Abstract
An inverse association has been reported between coffee consumption and the risk of several cancers. However, the association between coffee and thyroid cancer is controversial. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the association between coffee consumption and the risk of thyroid cancer through
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An inverse association has been reported between coffee consumption and the risk of several cancers. However, the association between coffee and thyroid cancer is controversial. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the association between coffee consumption and the risk of thyroid cancer through a systematic review and meta-analysis. Published studies were examined from PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central, and the reference lists of the retrieved articles. The summary odds ratio (OR) for the association between coffee consumption was categorized as highest versus lowest consumption, and thyroid cancer risk was calculated using a fixed effects model. Subgroup analyses by study design, geographic location, source of controls, and adjusted variables were performed. A total of 1039 thyroid cancer cases and 220,816 controls were identified from five case-control studies and two cohort studies. The summary OR for the association between coffee consumption and thyroid cancer risk was 0.88 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.71–1.07). There was no significant heterogeneity among the study results (I² = 0%, p = 0.79). However, the beneficial effect of coffee consumption on thyroid cancer was found only in hospital-based case-control studies (OR= 0.59, 95% CI= 0.37–0.93). There was no significant association between coffee consumption and thyroid cancer risk according to our meta-analysis results. These findings should be interpreted with caution because of potential biases and confounding variables. Further prospective studies with a larger number of cases are encouraged to confirm these results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring the Impacts of Anthropogenic Disturbance on Seawater and Sediment Microbial Communities in Korean Coastal Waters Using Metagenomics Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 130; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020130
Received: 4 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
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Abstract
The coastal ecosystems are considered as one of the most dynamic and vulnerable environments under various anthropogenic developments and the effects of climate change. Variations in the composition and diversity of microbial communities may be a good indicator for determining whether the marine
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The coastal ecosystems are considered as one of the most dynamic and vulnerable environments under various anthropogenic developments and the effects of climate change. Variations in the composition and diversity of microbial communities may be a good indicator for determining whether the marine ecosystems are affected by complex forcing stressors. DNA sequence-based metagenomics has recently emerged as a promising tool for analyzing the structure and diversity of microbial communities based on environmental DNA (eDNA). However, few studies have so far been performed using this approach to assess the impacts of human activities on the microbial communities in marine systems. In this study, using metagenomic DNA sequencing (16S ribosomal RNA gene), we analyzed and compared seawater and sediment communities between sand mining and control (natural) sites in southern coastal waters of Korea to assess whether anthropogenic activities have significantly affected the microbial communities. The sand mining sites harbored considerably lower levels of microbial diversities in the surface seawater community during spring compared with control sites. Moreover, the sand mining areas had distinct microbial taxonomic group compositions, particularly during spring season. The microbial groups detected solely in the sediment load/dredging areas (e.g., Marinobacter, Alcanivorax, Novosphingobium) are known to be involved in degradation of toxic chemicals such as hydrocarbon, oil, and aromatic compounds, and they also contain potential pathogens. This study highlights the versatility of metagenomics in monitoring and diagnosing the impacts of human disturbance on the environmental health of marine ecosystems from eDNA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Smoking Patterns and Smoking Cessation Willingness—A Study among Beneficiaries of Government Welfare Assistance in Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 131; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020131
Received: 23 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
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Abstract
This study examines the prevalence and tobacco use patterns among adult social assistance beneficiaries and their interest in quitting. The results are based on data collected in a cross-sectional survey conducted among adults in the Piotrkowski district. A sample of 3636 social assistance
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This study examines the prevalence and tobacco use patterns among adult social assistance beneficiaries and their interest in quitting. The results are based on data collected in a cross-sectional survey conducted among adults in the Piotrkowski district. A sample of 3636 social assistance beneficiaries produced a total of 1817 respondents who completed face-to-face questionnaires. Overall, 37.1% of the respondents, including 52.8% men and 29.6% women, were current smokers. Over one third of the smokers reported their willingness to quit. In the study population, several characteristics were significantly associated with the current daily smoking: male gender, low educational attainment, unemployment or temporary employment, lack of awareness of smoking-associated health risks, use of e-cigarettes, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The intention to quit smoking among the daily smokers was positively correlated with their awareness of smoking-associated health risks, lack of previous quit attempts, and low exposure to ETS. Smoking prevalence among social assistance recipients tends to be higher than in the general population, but more than half of the smokers are willing to quit. There is an urgency to develop policies tailored to the needs of these disadvantaged population groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
Open AccessArticle Migration and Health in the Construction Industry: Culturally Centering Voices of Bangladeshi Workers in Singapore
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 132; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020132
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
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Abstract
Construction workers globally face disproportionate threats to health and wellbeing, constituted by the nature of the work they perform. The workplace fatalities and lost-time injuries experienced by construction workers are significantly greater than in other forms of work. This paper draws on the
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Construction workers globally face disproportionate threats to health and wellbeing, constituted by the nature of the work they perform. The workplace fatalities and lost-time injuries experienced by construction workers are significantly greater than in other forms of work. This paper draws on the culture-centered approach (CCA) to dialogically articulate meanings of workplace risks and injuries, voiced by Bangladeshi migrant construction workers in Singapore. The narratives voiced by the participants suggest an ecological approach to workplace injuries in the construction industries, attending to food insecurity, lack of sleep, transportation, etc. as contextual features of work that shape the risks experienced at work. Moreover, participant voices point to the barriers in communication, lack of understanding, and experiences of incivility as features of work that constitute the ways in which they experience injury risks. The overarching discourses of productivity and efficiency constitute a broader climate of threats to worker safety and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effecting a Safe and Healthy Environment in Construction)
Open AccessArticle PM2.5-Induced Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Damage in the Nasal Mucosa of Rats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 134; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020134
Received: 21 December 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
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Abstract
Exposure to PM2.5 (particulate matter ≤2.5 μm) increases the risk of nasal lesions, but the underlying mechanisms, especially the mechanisms leading to mitochondrial damage, are still unclear. Thus, we investigated the in vivo effects of PM2.5 exposure on the inflammatory response,
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Exposure to PM2.5 (particulate matter ≤2.5 μm) increases the risk of nasal lesions, but the underlying mechanisms, especially the mechanisms leading to mitochondrial damage, are still unclear. Thus, we investigated the in vivo effects of PM2.5 exposure on the inflammatory response, oxidative stress, the enzyme activities of Na+K+-ATPase and Ca2+-ATPase, and the morphology and function of mitochondria in the nasal mucosa of rats. Exposure to PM2.5 occurred through inhalation of a PM2.5 solution aerosol. The results show that the PM2.5 exposure induced increased levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and levels of proinflammatory mediators, including interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). These changes were accompanied by decreases in the activities of total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD), Na+K+-ATPase, and Ca2+-ATPase in rat nasal mucosa. PM2.5 significantly affected the expression of specific mitochondrial fission/fusion genes (OPA1, Mfn1, Fis1, and Drp1) in nasal mucosa. These changes were accompanied by abnormal alterations of mitochondrial structures, including mitochondrial swelling, cristae disorder, and even fission resulting from higher doses of PM2.5. Our data shows that oxidative damage, inflammatory response, and mitochondrial dysfunction may be the toxic mechanisms that cause nasal lesions after exposure to PM2.5. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation and Analysis of Eco-Security in Environmentally Sensitive Areas Using an Emergy Ecological Footprint
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 136; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020136
Received: 6 September 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 30 January 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, the overall ecological and environmental sustainability in the Cing-Jing region in Taiwan is examined. As land use and cover change has been found to be an important analysis method, an emergy ecological footprint model was applied and the eco-security assessed
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In this paper, the overall ecological and environmental sustainability in the Cing-Jing region in Taiwan is examined. As land use and cover change has been found to be an important analysis method, an emergy ecological footprint model was applied and the eco-security assessed to ensure authorities maintain a balance between ecological preservation and tourism development. While the ecological environment in the Cing-Jing region from 2008 to 2014 was found to be within safe levels, all related indices had increased considerably. A Grey model was used to predict the 2015–2024 ecological carrying capacities, from which it was found that there is expected to be a large increase in per capita ecological footprints (EFs), meaning that in the future there is going to be a larger ecological deficit and a higher ecological pressure index (EFI), with the eco-security predicted to reach a Grade 2 intermediate level in 2022. As the Cing-Jing region is predicted to become ecologically unsustainable, local, regional, and national governments need to implement regulations to strictly control the land use in the Cing-Jing region. This study demonstrated that emergy EF (EEF) theory application can give objective guidance to decision-makers to ensure that recreational non-urban eco-security can be maintained at a safe level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Open AccessArticle Electrosurgical Smoke: Ultrafine Particle Measurements and Work Environment Quality in Different Operating Theatres
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 137; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020137
Received: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 30 January 2017
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Abstract
Air cleanliness in operating theatres (OTs) is an important factor for preserving the health of both the patient and the medical staff. Particle contamination in OTs depends mainly on the surgery process, ventilation principle, personnel clothing systems and working routines. In many open
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Air cleanliness in operating theatres (OTs) is an important factor for preserving the health of both the patient and the medical staff. Particle contamination in OTs depends mainly on the surgery process, ventilation principle, personnel clothing systems and working routines. In many open surgical operations, electrosurgical tools (ESTs) are used for tissue cauterization. ESTs generate a significant airborne contamination, as surgical smoke. Surgical smoke is a work environment quality problem. Ordinary surgical masks and OT ventilation systems are inadequate to control this problem. This research work is based on numerous monitoring campaigns of ultrafine particle concentrations in OTs, equipped with upward displacement ventilation or with a downward unidirectional airflow system. Measurements performed during ten real surgeries highlight that the use of ESTs generates a quite sharp and relevant increase of particle concentration in the surgical area as well within the entire OT area. The measured contamination level in the OTs are linked to surgical operation, ventilation principle, and ESTs used. A better knowledge of airborne contamination is crucial for limiting the personnel’s exposure to surgical smoke. Research results highlight that downward unidirectional OTs can give better conditions for adequate ventilation and contaminant removal performances than OTs equipped with upward displacement ventilation systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle Toward an Assessment of the Global Inventory of Present-Day Mercury Releases to Freshwater Environments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 138; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020138
Received: 23 November 2016 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 1 February 2017
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Abstract
Aquatic ecosystems are an essential component of the biogeochemical cycle of mercury (Hg), as inorganic Hg can be converted to toxic methylmercury (MeHg) in these environments and reemissions of elemental Hg rival anthropogenic Hg releases on a global scale. Quantification of effluent Hg
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Aquatic ecosystems are an essential component of the biogeochemical cycle of mercury (Hg), as inorganic Hg can be converted to toxic methylmercury (MeHg) in these environments and reemissions of elemental Hg rival anthropogenic Hg releases on a global scale. Quantification of effluent Hg releases to aquatic systems globally has focused on discharges to the global oceans, rather than contributions to freshwater systems that affect local exposures and risks associated with MeHg. Here we produce a first-estimate of sector-specific, spatially resolved global aquatic Hg discharges to freshwater systems. We compare our release estimates to atmospheric sources that have been quantified elsewhere. By analyzing available quantitative and qualitative information, we estimate that present-day global Hg releases to freshwater environments (rivers and lakes) associated with anthropogenic activities have a lower bound of ~1000 Mg· a−1. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) represents the single largest source, followed by disposal of mercury-containing products and domestic waste water, metal production, and releases from industrial installations such as chlor-alkali plants and oil refineries. In addition to these direct anthropogenic inputs, diffuse inputs from land management activities and remobilization of Hg previously accumulated in terrestrial ecosystems are likely comparable in magnitude. Aquatic discharges of Hg are greatly understudied and further constraining associated data gaps is crucial for reducing the uncertainties in the global biogeochemical Hg budget. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle Employment Condition, Economic Deprivation and Self-Evaluated Health in Europe: Evidence from EU-SILC 2009–2012
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 143; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020143
Received: 27 October 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 3 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: The mixed empirical evidence about employment conditions (i.e., permanent vs. temporary job, full-time vs. part-time job) as well as unemployment has motivated the development of conceptual models with the aim of assessing the pathways leading to effects of employment status on
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Background: The mixed empirical evidence about employment conditions (i.e., permanent vs. temporary job, full-time vs. part-time job) as well as unemployment has motivated the development of conceptual models with the aim of assessing the pathways leading to effects of employment status on health. Alongside physically and psychologically riskier working conditions, one channel stems in the possibly severe economic deprivation faced by temporary workers. We investigate whether economic deprivation is able to partly capture the effect of employment status on Self-evaluated Health Status (SHS). Methods: Our analysis is based on the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey, for a balanced sample from 26 countries from 2009 to 2012. We estimate a correlated random-effects logit model for the SHS that accounts for the ordered nature of the dependent variable and the longitudinal structure of the data. Results and Discussion: Material deprivation and economic strain are able to partly account for the negative effects on SHS from precarious and part-time employment as well as from unemployment that, however, exhibits a significant independent negative association with SHS. Conclusions: Some of the indicators used to proxy economic deprivation are significant predictors of SHS and their correlation with the employment condition is such that it should not be neglected in empirical analysis, when available and further to the monetary income. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Services and Health Economics Research)
Open AccessArticle Building Responsive Health Systems to Help Communities Affected by Migration: An International Delphi Consensus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 144; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020144
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 14 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 3 February 2017
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Abstract
Persons affected by migration require health systems that are responsive and adaptable to the needs of both disadvantaged migrants and non-migrant populations. The objective of this study is to support health systems for populations affected by migration. Materials and Methods: An international Delphi
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Persons affected by migration require health systems that are responsive and adaptable to the needs of both disadvantaged migrants and non-migrant populations. The objective of this study is to support health systems for populations affected by migration. Materials and Methods: An international Delphi consensus process was used to identify policy approaches to improve health systems for populations affected by migration. Participants were leading migrant health experts from Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australasia. We calculated average ranking scores and qualitatively analyzed open-ended questions. Results: Participants identified the following key areas as priorities for policy development: health inequities, system discrimination, migrant related health data, disadvantaged migrant sub-groups, and considerations for disadvantaged non-migrant populations. Highly ranked items to improve health systems were: Health Equity Impact Assessment, evidence based guidelines, and the International Organization for Migration annual reports. Discussion: Policy makers need tools, data and resources to address health systems challenges. Policies need to avoid preventable deaths of migrants and barriers to basic health services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee Health)
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Open AccessArticle Review and Extension of CO2-Based Methods to Determine Ventilation Rates with Application to School Classrooms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 145; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020145
Received: 23 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 28 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract
The ventilation rate (VR) is a key parameter affecting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and the energy consumption of buildings. This paper reviews the use of CO2 as a “natural” tracer gas for estimating VRs, focusing on applications in school classrooms. It provides
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The ventilation rate (VR) is a key parameter affecting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and the energy consumption of buildings. This paper reviews the use of CO2 as a “natural” tracer gas for estimating VRs, focusing on applications in school classrooms. It provides details and guidance for the steady-state, build-up, decay and transient mass balance methods. An extension to the build-up method and an analysis of the post-exercise recovery period that can increase CO2 generation rates are presented. Measurements in four mechanically-ventilated school buildings demonstrate the methods and highlight issues affecting their applicability. VRs during the school day fell below recommended minimum levels, and VRs during evening and early morning were on the order of 0.1 h−1, reflecting shutdown of the ventilation systems. The transient mass balance method was the most flexible and advantageous method given the low air change rates and dynamic occupancy patterns observed in the classrooms. While the extension to the build-up method improved stability and consistency, the accuracy of this and the steady-state method may be limited. Decay-based methods did not reflect the VR during the school day due to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system shutdown. Since the number of occupants in classrooms changes over the day, the VR expressed on a per person basis (e.g., L·s−1·person−1) depends on the occupancy metric. If occupancy measurements can be obtained, then the transient mass balance method likely will provide the most consistent and accurate results among the CO2-based methods. Improved VR measurements can benefit many applications, including research examining the linkage between ventilation and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Spatio-Temporal Disease Mapping Approaches Including an Application to Ischaemic Heart Disease in New South Wales, Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 146; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020146
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 3 February 2017
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Abstract
The field of spatio-temporal modelling has witnessed a recent surge as a result of developments in computational power and increased data collection. These developments allow analysts to model the evolution of health outcomes in both space and time simultaneously. This paper models the
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The field of spatio-temporal modelling has witnessed a recent surge as a result of developments in computational power and increased data collection. These developments allow analysts to model the evolution of health outcomes in both space and time simultaneously. This paper models the trends in ischaemic heart disease (IHD) in New South Wales, Australia over an eight-year period between 2006 and 2013. A number of spatio-temporal models are considered, and we propose a novel method for determining the goodness-of-fit for these models by outlining a spatio-temporal extension of the Moran’s I statistic. We identify an overall decrease in the rates of IHD, but note that the extent of this health improvement varies across the state. In particular, we identified a number of remote areas in the north and west of the state where the risk stayed constant or even increased slightly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Modelling for Public Health Research)
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Open AccessArticle Examining the Effects of Ambient Temperature on Pre-Term Birth in Central Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 147; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020147
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 23 January 2017 / Accepted: 30 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract
Preterm birth (born before 37 completed weeks of gestation) is one of the leading causes of death among children under 5 years of age. Several recent studies have examined the association between extreme temperature and preterm births, but there have been almost no
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Preterm birth (born before 37 completed weeks of gestation) is one of the leading causes of death among children under 5 years of age. Several recent studies have examined the association between extreme temperature and preterm births, but there have been almost no such studies in arid Australia. In this paper, we explore the potential association between exposures to extreme temperatures during the last 3 weeks of pregnancy in a Central Australian town. An immediate effect of temperature exposure is observed with an increased relative risk of 1%–2% when the maximum temperature exceeded the 90th percentile of the summer season maximum temperature data. Delayed effects are also observed closer to 3 weeks before delivery when the relative risks tend to increase exponentially. Immediate risks to preterm birth are also observed for cold temperature exposures (0 to –6 °C), with an increased relative risk of up to 10%. In the future, Central Australia will face more hot days and less cold days due to climate change and hence the risks posed by extreme heat is of particular relevance to the community and health practitioners. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Climate Change and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Relationship between Sedentariness and Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity in Youth: A Multivariate Multilevel Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 148; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020148
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 7 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract
This study aimed to jointly analyse moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentariness, and their correlates, in children within their school contexts, using a multivariate multilevel approach. The sample comprises 499 Portuguese children (284 girls) from 23 schools. MVPA and sedentary time were estimated
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This study aimed to jointly analyse moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentariness, and their correlates, in children within their school contexts, using a multivariate multilevel approach. The sample comprises 499 Portuguese children (284 girls) from 23 schools. MVPA and sedentary time were estimated by accelerometer. A set of predictor variables from both child and school levels was tested. Overall, schools explained a small amount of the total variance in both MVPA (5.6%) and sedentariness (3.2%), and a correlation coefficient of −0.45 (p < 0.05) was found between MVPA and sedentariness at the child level. Number of siblings and socioeconomic status (SES) were significantly associated with both sedentariness (SES: β = 2.372 ± 1.183; siblings: β = −8.127 ± 2.759) and MPVA (SES: β = −1.535 ± 0.421; siblings: β = 2.822 ± 0.977), but with opposite signs. Body Mass Index (BMI) (β = −4.804 ± 1.898) and sex (male) (β = 21.561 ± 3.496) were only associated with MVPA. None of the school correlates were statistically significant in their joint effects to simultaneously explain sedentariness and MVPA. These results suggest that although MVPA and sedentariness may be different constructs, they are correlated and this should be taken into account when designing strategies to reduce children’s sedentariness and increase their MVPA. In addition, the small effect of the school context on this relationship highlights the important roles of child and family characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Participatory Democracy, Community Organizing and the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH) Partnership
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 149; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020149
Received: 23 December 2016 / Revised: 26 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Conflicting interests, power imbalance and relationships characterized by distrust are just a few of the many challenges community–academic research partnerships face. In addition, the time it takes to build relationships is often overlooked, which further complicates matters and can leave well-intentioned individuals
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Background: Conflicting interests, power imbalance and relationships characterized by distrust are just a few of the many challenges community–academic research partnerships face. In addition, the time it takes to build relationships is often overlooked, which further complicates matters and can leave well-intentioned individuals re-creating oppressive conditions through inauthentic partnerships. This paper presents a novel approach of using meeting minutes to explore partnership dynamics. The Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH) partnership is used as an illustrative case study to identify how community academic partnerships overcome the challenges associated with community-based participatory research (CBPR). CAFEH is a study of ultrafine particle exposure (UFP) near highways in the Boston, MA area. Methods: Qualitative analysis was applied to meeting minutes and process evaluation reports from the first three years of the CAFEH study (n = 73 files). In addition, a group meeting was held with project partners in order to contextualize the findings from the document analysis. Results: The three most commonly referenced challenges included language barriers, the overall project structure and budgetary constraints. Meanwhile, a heavy emphasis on process and an approach steeped in participatory democracy facilitated CAFEH’s ability to overcome these challenges, as well as sustain and augment strong partnership ties. Conclusions: This experience suggests that leadership that incorporates an organizing approach and a transformational style facilitates CBPR processes and helps teams surmount challenges. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Prevalence of Breastfeeding: Findings from the First Health Service Household Interview in Hunan Province, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 150; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020150
Received: 27 November 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: With the development of economy and urbanization, methods of child-feeding have significantly changed in China over the past three decades. However, little is known about breastfeeding in China since 2009. This study aims to update information on the prevalence of breastfeeding in
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Background: With the development of economy and urbanization, methods of child-feeding have significantly changed in China over the past three decades. However, little is known about breastfeeding in China since 2009. This study aims to update information on the prevalence of breastfeeding in China. Methods: Data were obtained from the first Health Service Household Interview Survey of Hunan Province, China. Of 24,282 respondents, 1659 were aged five years or younger. We ran multivariable logistic regression to examine the impact of urban/rural setting, gender, age and household income per capita on the use of breastfeeding. Results: A total of 79.4% of children aged 5 years or younger had been breastfed at some point and 44.9% been breastfed exclusively in the first 6 months of life. After controlling for setting urban/rural setting, gender and child age, children from households with average family income were more likely to be breastfed than those from households with the lowest family income (adjusted odds ratio: 2.28). Children from households with higher and the highest family income were less likely to be exclusively breastfed in the first 6 months of life compared to those from households with the lowest family income (adjusted odds ratio: 0.51 and 0.68, respectively). Conclusions: It is encouraging that the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding for infants in the first 6 months of life in Hunan Province, China is approaching the goal of 50% proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Nevertheless, more efforts are needed to further promote exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months after birth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Older People’s Experiences of Mobility and Mood in an Urban Environment: A Mixed Methods Approach Using Electroencephalography (EEG) and Interviews
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 151; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020151
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 30 January 2017 / Accepted: 1 February 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract
There are concerns about mental wellbeing in later life in older people as the global population becomes older and more urbanised. Mobility in the built environment has a role to play in improving quality of life and wellbeing, as it facilitates independence and
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There are concerns about mental wellbeing in later life in older people as the global population becomes older and more urbanised. Mobility in the built environment has a role to play in improving quality of life and wellbeing, as it facilitates independence and social interaction. Recent studies using neuroimaging methods in environmental psychology research have shown that different types of urban environments may be associated with distinctive patterns of brain activity, suggesting that we interact differently with varying environments. This paper reports on research that explores older people’s responses to urban places and their mobility in and around the built environment. The project aim was to understand how older people experience different urban environments using a mixed methods approach including electroencephalography (EEG), self-reported measures, and interview results. We found that older participants experience changing levels of “excitement”, “engagement” and “frustration” (as interpreted by proprietary EEG software) whilst walking between a busy built urban environment and an urban green space environment. These changes were further reflected in the qualitative themes that emerged from transcribed interviews undertaken one week post-walk. There has been no research to date that has directly assessed neural responses to an urban environment combined with qualitative interview analysis. A synergy of methods offers a deeper understanding of the changing moods of older people across time whilst walking in city settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
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Open AccessArticle Can Sanitary Surveys Replace Water Quality Testing? Evidence from Kisii, Kenya
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 152; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020152
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 12 January 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 7 February 2017
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Abstract
Information about the quality of rural drinking water sources can be used to manage their safety and mitigate risks to health. Sanitary surveys, which are observational checklists to assess hazards present at water sources, are simpler to conduct than microbial tests. We assessed
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Information about the quality of rural drinking water sources can be used to manage their safety and mitigate risks to health. Sanitary surveys, which are observational checklists to assess hazards present at water sources, are simpler to conduct than microbial tests. We assessed whether sanitary survey results were associated with measured indicator bacteria levels in rural drinking water sources in Kisii Central, Kenya. Overall, thermotolerant coliform (TTC) levels were high: all of the samples from the 20 tested dug wells, almost all (95%) of the samples from the 25 tested springs, and 61% of the samples from the 16 tested rainwater harvesting systems were contaminated with TTC. There were no significant associations between TTC levels and overall sanitary survey scores or their individual components. Contamination by TTC was associated with source type (dug wells and springs were more contaminated than rainwater systems). While sanitary surveys cannot be substituted for microbial water quality results in this context, they could be used to identify potential hazards and contribute to a comprehensive risk management approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Characteristics of Traditional Chinese Medicine Use in Pediatric Dislocations, Sprains and Strains
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 153; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020153
Received: 3 December 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract
Background and Objectives: Dislocations, sprains and strains are common childhood musculoskeletal injuries, requiring medical attention. We investigated the characteristics associated with using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for children suffering from these injuries. Methods: From a nationwide representative insurance database of Taiwan, this cross-sectional
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Background and Objectives: Dislocations, sprains and strains are common childhood musculoskeletal injuries, requiring medical attention. We investigated the characteristics associated with using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for children suffering from these injuries. Methods: From a nationwide representative insurance database of Taiwan, this cross-sectional study identified 50,769 children with dislocations, sprains and strains under 18 years of age, newly diagnosed between 1999 and 2009, without previous TCM experience. Children who initiated treatment with TCM (n = 24,063, 47.4%) were defined as TCM users, others were in the non-TCM group. Multivariable logistic regression models estimated odds ratios (ORs) of TCM use. Results: Girls and children living in central Taiwan (vs. northern) were associated with higher TCM use. The adjusted ORs (95% confidence interval (CI)) of TCM uses were 1.60 (1.42–1.79) for patients of 3–5 years, 2.20 (1.99–2.42) of 6–12 years and 1.82 (1.64–2.01) of 13–17 years, compared with those of the <2 years group. TCM users were less likely to have outpatient visits for Western medicine care and hospitalizations in the previous year. The TCM group was nearly twice more likely than the non-user group to receive treatments at local clinics (99.1% vs. 53.3%, p < 0.001). Conclusions: This study reveals important demographic and medical factors associated with TCM uses for children with dislocations, sprains and strains. Interestingly, local clinics are the main healthcare facilities providing TCM services. Further studies are needed to evaluate the outcomes of TCM treatment for these musculoskeletal injuries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Injury Prevention 2017)
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Open AccessArticle Mosquitocidal Activity and Mode of Action of the Isoxazoline Fluralaner
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 154; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020154
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 6 February 2017
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Abstract
Mosquitoes, such as Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae, are important vectors of human diseases. Fluralaner, a recently introduced parasiticide, was evaluated as a mosquitocide in this study. On Ae. aegypti and An. gambiae fourth-instar larvae, fluralaner had 24-h LC50 (lethal concentration
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Mosquitoes, such as Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae, are important vectors of human diseases. Fluralaner, a recently introduced parasiticide, was evaluated as a mosquitocide in this study. On Ae. aegypti and An. gambiae fourth-instar larvae, fluralaner had 24-h LC50 (lethal concentration for 50% mortality) values of 1.8 ppb and 0.4 ppb, respectively. Following topical application to adult Ae. aegypti, fluralaner toxicity reached a plateau in about 3 days, with 1- and 3-day LD50 (lethal dose for 50% mortality) values of 1.3 ng/mg and 0.26 ng/mg, suggesting a slowly developing toxicity. Fipronil outperformed fluralaner by up to 100-fold in adult topical, glass contact, and feeding assays on Ae. aegypti. These data show that fluralaner does not have exceptional toxicity to mosquitoes in typical exposure paradigms. In electrophysiological recordings on Drosophila melanogaster larval central nervous system, the effectiveness of fluralaner for restoring nerve firing after gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) treatment, a measure of GABA antagonism, was similar in susceptible Oregon-R and cyclodiene-resistant rdl-1675 strains, with EC50 (half maximal effective concentration) values of 0.34 µM and 0.29 µM. Although this finding suggests low cross resistance in the presence of rdl, the moderate potency, low contact activity, and slow action of fluralaner argue against its use as an adult mosquitocide for vector control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mosquito Control Innovations into The 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle Overexpression of SKP2 Inhibits the Radiation-Induced Bystander Effects of Esophageal Carcinoma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 155; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020155
Received: 23 November 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 6 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: To investigate the effects of S-phase kinase protein 2 (SKP2) expression on the radiation induced bystander effect (RIBE) in esophageal cancer (EC) cells. Materials and Methods: Western blot was used to detect the levels of SKP2, Rad51, and Ku70 in EC cells.
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Background: To investigate the effects of S-phase kinase protein 2 (SKP2) expression on the radiation induced bystander effect (RIBE) in esophageal cancer (EC) cells. Materials and Methods: Western blot was used to detect the levels of SKP2, Rad51, and Ku70 in EC cells. Positive transfection, RNAi, micronucleus (MN), and γ-H2AX focus formation assay were used to investigate the effects of SKP2 on RIBE induced by irradiated cells. Results: We found a significant negative correlation between SKP2 expression and MN frequency (p < 0.05) induced by RIBE. The results were further confirmed by positive transfection, RNAi, and rescue experiments.γ-H2AX focus formation assay results indicated that overexpression of SKP2 in the irradiated cells inhibited the DNA damage of RIBE cells. However, when SKP2 expression decreased in irradiated cells, the DNA damage of RIBE cells increased. Increased or decreased expression levels of SKP2 had effects on Rad51 expression under the conditions of RIBE. Conclusions: These results showed, for the first time, that SKP2 expression can inhibit RIBE of EC cells. The mechanism may function, at least partly, through the regulation of Rad51 in the ability to repair DNA damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields from Parallel Wireless Power Transfer Systems
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 157; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020157
Received: 23 December 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 28 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
The scenario of multiple wireless power transfer (WPT) systems working closely, synchronously or asynchronously with phase difference often occurs in power supply for household appliances and electric vehicles in parking lots. Magnetic field leakage from the WPT systems is also varied due to
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The scenario of multiple wireless power transfer (WPT) systems working closely, synchronously or asynchronously with phase difference often occurs in power supply for household appliances and electric vehicles in parking lots. Magnetic field leakage from the WPT systems is also varied due to unpredictable asynchronous working conditions. In this study, the magnetic field leakage from parallel WPT systems working with phase difference is predicted, and the induced electric field and specific absorption rate (SAR) in a human body standing in the vicinity are also evaluated. Computational results are compared with the restrictions prescribed in the regulations established to limit human exposure to time-varying electromagnetic fields (EMFs). The results show that the middle region between the two WPT coils is safer for the two WPT systems working in-phase, and the peripheral regions are safer around the WPT systems working anti-phase. Thin metallic plates larger than the WPT coils can shield the magnetic field leakage well, while smaller ones may worsen the situation. The orientation of the human body will influence the maximum magnitude of induced electric field and its distribution within the human body. The induced electric field centralizes in the trunk, groin, and genitals with only one exception: when the human body is standing right at the middle of the two WPT coils working in-phase, the induced electric field focuses on lower limbs. The SAR value in the lungs always seems to be greater than in other organs, while the value in the liver is minimal. Human exposure to EMFs meets the guidelines of the International Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), specifically reference levels with respect to magnetic field and basic restrictions on induced electric fields and SAR, as the charging power is lower than 3.1 kW and 55.5 kW, respectively. These results are positive with respect to the safe applications of parallel WPT systems working simultaneously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Optimal Ethnic-Specific Waist-Circumference Cut-Off Points of Metabolic Syndrome among Low-Income Rural Uyghur Adults in Far Western China and Implications in Preventive Public Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 158; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020158
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Metabolic syndrome is pandemic; however, the cut-off values for waist circumference (WC) vary widely depending on the ethnic groups studied and the criteria applied for WC measurement. Previous studies for defining optimal WC cut-off points included high-income and urban settings, and did
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Background: Metabolic syndrome is pandemic; however, the cut-off values for waist circumference (WC) vary widely depending on the ethnic groups studied and the criteria applied for WC measurement. Previous studies for defining optimal WC cut-off points included high-income and urban settings, and did not cover low-income, rural settings, especially for ethnic minorities. This study aimed at defining optimal ethnic-specific WC cut-off points in a low-income, rural population comprising the largest inhabitant minority group residing in far Western China. Methods: Questionnaire-based surveys, physical examinations, and blood testing of 3542 individuals were conducted in 2010, using a stratified cluster random sampling method in rural Uyghur residents (≥18 years old) from 12 villages in Xinjiang, China, approximately 4407 km away from the capital city, Beijing. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria. Optimal, ethnic-specific WC cut-off values for diagnosing metabolic syndrome were determined using receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Results: As WC increased, there was a significant, increasing trend of detection and risk in rural Uyghur adults, regardless of the presence of ≥1 or ≥2 components of metabolic syndrome by IDF criteria. The optimal ethnic-specific WC cut-off point to predict the presence of metabolic syndrome was 85 cm for men and 82 cm for women. With these cut-off points, the prevalence rates of metabolic syndrome among men, women, and overall population in Uyghur adults were 19.5%, 23.0%, and 21.3%, respectively. Conclusions: We report a high prevalence of metabolic syndrome, especially in women, among rural Uyghurs in Western China. A WC cut-off of 85 cm in men and 82 cm in women was the best predictor of metabolic syndrome in this population. Because of the cost-effectiveness in measuring WC, we recommend that these WC cut-off points be integrated into local preventive policies for public health as the primary screening criteria for metabolic syndrome and related diseases among low-income, rural minorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Knowledge Level, Attitudes, Risky Behaviors and Preventive Practices on Sexually Transmitted Diseases among University Students as Future Healthcare Providers in the Central Zone of Malaysia: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 159; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020159
Received: 6 November 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
This study was done to assess the knowledge, attitudes, risky behaviors and preventive practices related to sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) among health and non-health sciences university students as future healthcare providers in Malaysia. A total of 700 health and non-health sciences university students (255
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This study was done to assess the knowledge, attitudes, risky behaviors and preventive practices related to sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) among health and non-health sciences university students as future healthcare providers in Malaysia. A total of 700 health and non-health sciences university students (255 male; 445 female) aged between 17 and 30 years were surveyed by using a self-administered questionnaire. The majority (86.6%) had heard of STDs, and 50.4% knew STDs could present without symptoms. HIV remains the best known STD (83.6%) by the students, while chlamydia (26%) and trichomoniasis (21.0%) were rarely known. Gender, age group, educational level and faculty type were strongly associated with knowledge level (p-values < 0.05). Most of them (88.8%) were aware that STD screening was important while use of condoms was protective (63.8%). The majority of them strongly felt that treatment should be sought immediately if they (85.5%) and their partners (87.4%) have symptoms. Among the sexually-active students, 66.7% and 18% had sexual intercourse with multiple partners and commercial sex workers, while 17.4% and 9.4% took alcohol and drugs before having sex, respectively. By logistic regression analysis, students aged 24–30 years old (an odds ratio (AOR) = 0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.377–0.859) and faculty type (AOR = 5.69, 95% CI = 4.019–8.057) were the significant predictors for the knowledge level. Knowledge on the non-HIV causes of STDs is still lacking, and the risky behavior practiced by the sexually-active students in this study is alarming. There is a need to revisit the existing STD education curriculum in both schools and universities so that appropriate intervention on STDs can be implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Phenology of a Vegetation Barrier and Resulting Impacts on Near-Highway Particle Number and Black Carbon Concentrations on a School Campus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 160; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020160
Received: 15 November 2016 / Revised: 30 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
Traffic-related air pollution is a persistent concern especially in urban areas where populations live in close proximity to roadways. Innovative solutions are needed to minimize human exposure and the installation of vegetative barriers shows potential as a method to reduce near-road concentrations. This
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Traffic-related air pollution is a persistent concern especially in urban areas where populations live in close proximity to roadways. Innovative solutions are needed to minimize human exposure and the installation of vegetative barriers shows potential as a method to reduce near-road concentrations. This study investigates the impact of an existing stand of deciduous and evergreen trees on near-road total particle number (PNC) and black carbon (BC) concentrations across three seasons. Measurements were taken during spring, fall and winter on the campus of a middle school in the Atlanta (GA, USA) area at distances of 10 m and 50 m from a major interstate highway. We identified consistent decreases in BC concentrations, but not for PNC, with increased distance from the highway. In multivariable models, hour of day, downwind conditions, distance to highway, temperature and relative humidity significantly predicted pollutant concentrations. The magnitude of effect of these variables differed by season, however, we were not able to show a definitive impact of the vegetative barrier on near-road concentrations. More detailed studies are necessary to further examine the specific configurations and scenarios that may produce pollutant and exposure reductions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Parabens Accelerate Ovarian Dysfunction in a 4-Vinylcyclohexene Diepoxide-Induced Ovarian Failure Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 161; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020161
Received: 5 December 2016 / Revised: 2 February 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
Parabens are widely used preservatives in basic necessities such as cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. In previous studies, xenoestrogenic actions of parabens were reported in an immature rat model and a rat pituitary cell line (GH3 cells). The relationship between parabens and ovarian failure
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Parabens are widely used preservatives in basic necessities such as cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. In previous studies, xenoestrogenic actions of parabens were reported in an immature rat model and a rat pituitary cell line (GH3 cells). The relationship between parabens and ovarian failure has not been described. In the present study, the influence of parabens on ovarian folliculogenesis and steroidogenesis was investigated. A disruptor of ovarian small pre-antral follicles, 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD, 40 mg/kg), was used to induce premature ovarian failure (POF). Methylparaben (MP, 100 mg/kg), propylparaben (PP, 100 mg/kg), and butylparaben (BP, 100 mg/kg) dissolved in corn oil were treated in female 8-week-old Sprague-Dawley rat for 5 weeks. Estrus cycle status was checked daily by vaginal smear test. Ovarian follicle development and steroid synthesis were investigated through real-time PCR and histological analyses. Diestrus phases in the VCD, PP, and BP groups were longer than that in the vehicle group. VCD significantly decreased mRNA level of folliculogenesis-related genes (Foxl2, Kitl and Amh). All parabens significantly increased the Amh mRNA level but unchanged Foxl2 and Kitlg acting in primordial follicles. VCD and MP slightly increased Star and Cyp11a1 levels, which are related to an initial step in steroidogenesis. VCD and parabens induced an increase in FSH levels in serum and significantly decreased the total number of follicles. Increased FSH implies impairment in ovarian function due to VCD or parabens. These results suggest that VCD may suppress both formation and development of follicles. In particular, combined administration of VCD and parabens accelerated inhibition of the follicle-developmental process through elevated AMH level in small antral follicles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Oxidative Stress-Related Genetic Variants May Modify Associations of Phthalate Exposures with Asthma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 162; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020162
Received: 16 December 2016 / Revised: 30 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Phthalate exposure may increase the risk of asthma. Little is known about whether oxidative-stress related genes may alter this association. First, this motivated us to investigate whether genetic polymorphisms of the oxidative-stress related genes glutathione S-transferase Mu 1 (GSTM1),
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Background: Phthalate exposure may increase the risk of asthma. Little is known about whether oxidative-stress related genes may alter this association. First, this motivated us to investigate whether genetic polymorphisms of the oxidative-stress related genes glutathione S-transferase Mu 1 (GSTM1), glutathione S-transferase pi 1 (GSTP1), superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2), catalase (CAT), myeloperoxidase (MPO), and EPHX1 in children are associated with phthalate urine concentrations. Second, we addressed the question whether these genes may affect the influence of phthalates on asthma. Methods: In a case-control study composed of 126 asthmatic children and 327 controls, urine phthalate metabolites (monoethyl phthalate (MEP), monobutyl phthalate (MBP), monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP), and mono(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl)phthalate (MEHHP) were measured by UPLC-MS/MS at age 3. Genetic variants were analyzed by TaqMan assay. Information on asthma and environmental exposures was also collected. Analyses of variance and logistic regressions were performed. Results: Urine MEHHP levels were associated with asthma (adjusted OR 1.33, 95% CI (1.11–1.60). Children with the GSTP1 (rs1695) AA and SOD2 (rs5746136) TT genotypes had higher MEHHP levels as compared to GG and CC types, respectively. Since only SOD2 TT genotype was significantly associated with asthma (adjusted OR (95% CI): 2.78 (1.54–5.02)), we estimated whether SOD2 variants modify the association of MEHHP levels and asthma. As MEHHP concentrations were dependent on GSTP1 and SOD2, but the assessment of interaction requires independent variables, we estimated MEHHP residuals and assessed their interaction, showing that the OR for SOD2 TT was further elevated to 3.32 (1.75–6.32) when the residuals of MEHHP were high. Conclusions: Urine phthalate metabolite concentrations are associated with oxidative-stress related genetic variants. Genetic variants of SOD2, considered to be reflect oxidative stress metabolisms, might modify the association of phthalate exposure with asthma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Open AccessArticle Neighborhood Factors and Fall-Related Injuries among Older Adults Seen by Emergency Medical Service Providers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 163; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020163
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 27 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
Falls are serious health problems among older adults, and are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries treated by emergency medical services (EMS). Although considerable research has examined the risk factors of falls at the individual level, relatively few studies have addressed
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Falls are serious health problems among older adults, and are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries treated by emergency medical services (EMS). Although considerable research has examined the risk factors of falls at the individual level, relatively few studies have addressed the risk factors at the neighborhood level. This study examines the characteristics of neighborhood environments associated with fall injuries reported to EMS providers. A total of 13,163 EMS records from 2011 to 2014 involving adults aged 65 and older in the city of San Antonio (TX, USA) were analyzed at the census tract level (n = 264). Negative binomial regression was used to identify significant census tract-based neighborhood environmental variables associated with the count of fall injuries in each census tract. Adjusting for exposure variable and the size of the census tract, neighborhoods with higher residential stability, captured as the percent of those who lived in the same house as the previous year were associated with decreased count of fall injuries. Neighborhoods with higher residential density and having a higher vacancy rate were associated with increased count of fall injuries. The study highlights the importance of stable and safe neighborhoods in reducing fall risks among older adults, which should be considered a prerequisite for promoting age-friendly environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
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Open AccessArticle Graphic Warning Labels and the Cost Savings from Reduced Smoking among Pregnant Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 164; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020164
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 26 January 2017 / Accepted: 1 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
Introduction: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has estimated the economic impact of Graphic Warning Labels (GWLs). By omitting the impact on tobacco consumption by pregnant women, the FDA analysis underestimates the economic benefits that would occur from the proposed regulations. There
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Introduction: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has estimated the economic impact of Graphic Warning Labels (GWLs). By omitting the impact on tobacco consumption by pregnant women, the FDA analysis underestimates the economic benefits that would occur from the proposed regulations. There is a strong link between the occurrence of low birth weight babies and smoking while pregnant. Low birth weight babies in turn generate much higher hospital costs than normal birth weight babies. This study aims to fill the gap by quantifying the national hospital cost savings from the reductions in prenatal smoking that will arise if GWLs are implemented in the U.S. Data and Methods: This study uses several data sources. It uses Natality Data from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in 2013 to estimate the impact of prenatal smoking on the likelihood of having a low-birth-weight baby, controlling for socio-economic and demographic characteristics as well as medical and non-medical risk factors. Using these estimates, along with the estimates of Huang et al. (2014) regarding the effect of GWLs on smoking, we calculate the change in the number of LBW (low birth weight) babies resulting from decreased prenatal smoking due to GWLs. Using this estimated change and the estimates from Russell et al. (2007) and AHRQ (2013) on the excess hospital costs of LBW babies, we calculate cost saving that arises from reduced prenatal smoking in response of GWLs. Results and Conclusions: Our results indicated that GWLs for this population could lead to hospital cost savings of 1.2 billion to 2.0 billion dollars over a 30 year horizon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
Open AccessArticle Meta-Analysis on the Association of ALDH2 Polymorphisms and Type 2 Diabetic Mellitus, Diabetic Retinopathy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 165; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020165
Received: 13 November 2016 / Revised: 8 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
Type 2 diabetic mellitus (T2DM) is a disease with high prevalence and a major cause for death worldwide. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the major manifestation of diabetes. Aldehyde dehydrogenease 2 (ALDH2) detoxifies aldehyde produced during ethanol metabolism and oxidative stress. It
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Type 2 diabetic mellitus (T2DM) is a disease with high prevalence and a major cause for death worldwide. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the major manifestation of diabetes. Aldehyde dehydrogenease 2 (ALDH2) detoxifies aldehyde produced during ethanol metabolism and oxidative stress. It has been found that the polymorphism in ALDH2 rs671 is probably associated with the risk of T2DM and DR. However, a lot of inconsistency and controversy still exists. In order to get a more precise and comprehensive estimation for the association between ALDH2 polymorphism with the risk of T2DM and DR, we conducted the present meta-analysis. A comprehensive literature search was conducted using databases, such as Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, for all related studies. The included studies met the inclusion criteria, such as being case-control studies about the association of ALDH2 polymorphism and T2DM or DR susceptibility, with sufficient data for the present analysis. Eight studies with 2374 cases and 6694 controls were involved in the present meta-analysis. The results indicated a significant lower risk of T2DM for *1/*1 genotype in homozygous models (*1/*1 vs. *2/*2, OR = 0.31, 95% CI = 0.11–0.89, p = 0.03) and in the dominant model (*1/*1 vs. *2/*2 + *1/*2, OR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.37–1.00, p = 0.05). Subgroup analysis by ethnicity found a significant lower risk of T2DM in Chinese in all genotype models. No significant relation was found between ALDH2 rs671 and DR. In conclusion, the current meta-analysis indicated that ALDH2 rs671 was significantly related with T2DM. The ALDH2 rs671 might be able to be used as a predictor for the risk of T2DM. However, due to the existence of heterogeneity and publication bias in the involved studies, our results should be interpreted with caution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Possible Impact of 190G > A CCR2 and Δ32 CCR5 Mutations on Decrease of the HBV Vaccine Immunogenicity—A Preliminary Report
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 166; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020166
Received: 14 November 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Chemokine genetic variations are involved in infectious diseases such as hepatitis B virus (HBV). Several allelic variants might, in theory, affect the outcome of vaccination. Objectives: This study was carried out to examine the associations of Δ32 CCR5 and 190G
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Background: Chemokine genetic variations are involved in infectious diseases such as hepatitis B virus (HBV). Several allelic variants might, in theory, affect the outcome of vaccination. Objectives: This study was carried out to examine the associations of Δ32 CCR5 and 190G > A CCR2 polymorphisms with a response to a primary course of three HBV vaccinations. Methods: Between December 2014 and December 2016, patients from three randomly selected primary care clinics in the West Pomeranian region (Poland), 1 month after receiving the third dose of HBV vaccine, were enrolled. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) system version 3.0 was used to detect anti-HBs and anti-HBc totals. The identification of polymorphisms were performed by a polymerase chain reaction technique using a single primer extension assay. Genotype distributions of responders versus non-responders to HBV vaccination were compared on the basis of anti-HBs level. Results: In 149 patients (mean age 60 years) the mean anti-HBs level was 652.2 ± 425.9 mIU/mL (range: 0–1111.0 mIU/mL). There were 14.1% (n = 21) non-responders to the HBV vaccine (anti-HBs < 10.0 mIU/mL). The wild type/Δ32 genotype of CCR5 gene was found in 18.1% participants, and 1.3% were Δ32/Δ32 homozygotes. The frequency of allele A of the CCR2 gene was 11.1%. Lower anti-HBs levels in Δ32/Δ32 homozygotes were observed (Me = 61 mIU/mL vs. Me = 660.2 mIU/mL; p = 0.048). As age was found to be a correlate to the anti-HBs titer (r = −0.218, p = 0.0075; 95% CI: −0.366–−0.059)—an analysis of a co-variance was performed which found a statistically significant (p = 0.04) difference in anti-HBs titres between Δ32/Δ32 homozygotes and other CCR5 genotypes. The association between anti-HBs titres and CCR2 genotypes was not statistically significant. Conclusions: Our study—which is a preliminary report that suggest this topic deserves further observation with larger sample sizes, different ethnicities, and other single nucleotide poly-morphisms (SNPs)—suggests the possible involvement of CCR5 polymorphism in impairing the immunologic response to HBV vaccination, predominantly in relation to the passage of time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Prevalence of Tobacco Smoking and Determinants of Success in Quitting Smoking among Patients with Chronic Diseases: A Cross-Sectional Study in Rural Western China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 167; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020167
Received: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
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Abstract
Abstract: Tobacco use is one of the behavioral risk factors for chronic diseases. The aim of the study was to investigate smoking prevalence in chronically ill residents and their smoking behavior in western rural China, to identify factors associated with success in quitting
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Abstract: Tobacco use is one of the behavioral risk factors for chronic diseases. The aim of the study was to investigate smoking prevalence in chronically ill residents and their smoking behavior in western rural China, to identify factors associated with success in quitting smoking, and to provide appropriate intervention strategies for tobacco control. Cross-sectional survey data from patients with chronic diseases from rural western China were analyzed. Among the 906 chronically ill patients, the current smoking prevalence was 26.2%. About 64.3% of smokers with chronic diseases attempted to quit smoking, 21.0% of which successfully quitted. The odds ratio (OR) of smokers with only one chronic disease to quit smoking successfully was higher than that of those who have other diseases (OR = 2.037, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.060-3.912; p < 0.05). The smokers who were always restricted to smoking in public places were more likely to quit smoking successfully than those who were free to smoke (OR = 2.188, 95% CI = 1.116–4.291; p < 0.05). This study suggests that health literacy, comorbidity of diseases, and psychological counseling should be considered when developing targeted tobacco prevention strategies. Strengthening tobacco control measures in public places such as rural medical institutions will be effective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
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Open AccessArticle Acute Effects of Particulate Air Pollution on Ischemic Heart Disease Hospitalizations in Shanghai, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 168; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020168
Received: 3 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Air pollution has been demonstrated to be a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases worldwide. This study examines the relationship between the exposure to fine particulate matter (PM) and patient hospitalizations as a result of ischemic heart
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Background: Air pollution has been demonstrated to be a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases worldwide. This study examines the relationship between the exposure to fine particulate matter (PM) and patient hospitalizations as a result of ischemic heart disease (IHD) during 2013–2014 in Shanghai, China. Methods: Daily IHD hospitalization data were acquired from the Shanghai Health Insurance Bureau (SHIB) from 1 January 2013 to 21 December 2014. Daily average concentrations of air pollution as well as meteorological data were obtained from the database of Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center (SEMC) during the same time period, and all data were analyzed using standard epidemiological methodology. Generalized linear model (GLM) adjusted for time trends, weather conditions, and medical insurance policy was used to estimate the immediate and delayed effects of PMs on IHD hospitalizations, and the effects of PMs were also examined based on gender, age group and seasonal variation. Results: A total of 188,198 IHD hospitalizations were recorded during 2013–2014 in Shanghai, China. During this period, the average concentrations of the fine particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter of <10 μm (PM10) and ≤2.5 (PM2.5) were 76 µg/m3 and 56.3 µg/m3, respectively. The effect of PMs was strongest on days when a 10 μg/m3 increment increase of PM2.5 and PM10, which coincided with an increase in IHD hospitalizations by 0.25% (95% CI: 0.10%, 0.39%) and 0.57% (95% CI: 0.46%, 0.68%), respectively. Furthermore, the effect of PMs was significantly greater in males and people between 41 and 65 years old. Conclusions: Hospitalizations of IHD was strongly associated with short-term exposure to high levels of PM10 and PM2.5 during 2013–2014 in Shanghai, China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Policy, Research and Residents’ Perspectives on Built Environments Implicated in Heart Disease: A Concept Mapping Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 170; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020170
Received: 10 November 2016 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
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Abstract
An underrepresentation of stakeholder perspectives within urban health research arguably limits our understanding of what is a multi-dimensional and complex relationship between the built environment and health. By engaging a wide range of stakeholders using a participatory concept mapping approach, this study aimed
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An underrepresentation of stakeholder perspectives within urban health research arguably limits our understanding of what is a multi-dimensional and complex relationship between the built environment and health. By engaging a wide range of stakeholders using a participatory concept mapping approach, this study aimed to achieve a more holistic and nuanced understanding of the built environments shaping disease risk, specifically cardiometabolic risk (CMR). Moreover, this study aimed to ascertain the importance and changeability of identified environments through government action. Through the concept mapping process, community members, researchers, government and non-government stakeholders collectively identified eleven clusters encompassing 102 built environmental domains related to CMR, a number of which are underrepresented within the literature. Among the identified built environments, open space, public transportation and pedestrian environments were highlighted as key targets for policy intervention. Whilst there was substantive convergence in stakeholder groups’ perspectives concerning the built environment and CMR, there were disparities in the level of importance government stakeholders and community members respectively assigned to pedestrian environments and street connectivity. These findings support the role of participatory methods in strengthening how urban health issues are understood and in affording novel insights into points of action for public health and policy intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Association of LPP and TAGAP Polymorphisms with Celiac Disease Risk: A Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 171; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020171
Received: 1 December 2016 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Lipoma preferred partner (LPP) and T-cell activation Rho GTPase activating protein (TAGAP) polymorphisms might influence the susceptibility to celiac disease. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis by identifying relevant studies to estimate the risks of these polymorphisms on celiac
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Background: Lipoma preferred partner (LPP) and T-cell activation Rho GTPase activating protein (TAGAP) polymorphisms might influence the susceptibility to celiac disease. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis by identifying relevant studies to estimate the risks of these polymorphisms on celiac disease. Methods: The PubMed, Web of Science and Embase databases were searched (up to October 2016) for LPP rs1464510 and TAGAP rs1738074 polymorphisms. Results: This meta-analysis included the same 7 studies for LPP rs1464510 and TAGAP rs1738074. The minor risk A allele at both rs1464510 and rs1738074 carried risks (odds ratios) of 1.26 (95% CI: 1.22–1.30) and 1.17 (95% CI: 1.14–1.21), respectively, which contributed to increased risks in all celiac disease patients by 10.72% and 6.59%, respectively. The estimated lambdas were 0.512 and 0.496, respectively, suggesting that a co-dominant model would be suitable for both gene effects. Conclusions: This meta-analysis provides robust estimates that polymorphisms in LPP and TAGAP genes are potential risk factors for celiac disease in European and American. Prospective studies and more genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are needed to confirm these findings, and some corresponding molecular biology experiments should be carried out to clarify the pathogenic mechanisms of celiac disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Doses of Nearby Nature Simultaneously Associated with Multiple Health Benefits
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 172; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020172
Received: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 January 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
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Abstract
Exposure to nature provides a wide range of health benefits. A significant proportion of these are delivered close to home, because this offers an immediate and easily accessible opportunity for people to experience nature. However, there is limited information to guide recommendations on
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Exposure to nature provides a wide range of health benefits. A significant proportion of these are delivered close to home, because this offers an immediate and easily accessible opportunity for people to experience nature. However, there is limited information to guide recommendations on its management and appropriate use. We apply a nature dose-response framework to quantify the simultaneous association between exposure to nearby nature and multiple health benefits. We surveyed ca. 1000 respondents in Southern England, UK, to determine relationships between (a) nature dose type, that is the frequency and duration (time spent in private green space) and intensity (quantity of neighbourhood vegetation cover) of nature exposure and (b) health outcomes, including mental, physical and social health, physical behaviour and nature orientation. We then modelled dose-response relationships between dose type and self-reported depression. We demonstrate positive relationships between nature dose and mental and social health, increased physical activity and nature orientation. Dose-response analysis showed that lower levels of depression were associated with minimum thresholds of weekly nature dose. Nearby nature is associated with quantifiable health benefits, with potential for lowering the human and financial costs of ill health. Dose-response analysis has the potential to guide minimum and optimum recommendations on the management and use of nearby nature for preventative healthcare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle An Artificial Turf-Based Surrogate Surface Collector for the Direct Measurement of Atmospheric Mercury Dry Deposition
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 173; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020173
Received: 5 December 2016 / Revised: 3 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper describes the development of a new artificial turf surrogate surface (ATSS) sampler for use in the measurement of mercury (Hg) dry deposition. In contrast to many existing surrogate surface designs, the ATSS utilizes a three-dimensional deposition surface that may more closely
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This paper describes the development of a new artificial turf surrogate surface (ATSS) sampler for use in the measurement of mercury (Hg) dry deposition. In contrast to many existing surrogate surface designs, the ATSS utilizes a three-dimensional deposition surface that may more closely mimic the physical structure of many natural surfaces than traditional flat surrogate surface designs (water, filter, greased Mylar film). The ATSS has been designed to overcome several complicating factors that can impact the integrity of samples with other direct measurement approaches by providing a passive system which can be deployed for both short and extended periods of time (days to weeks), and is not contaminated by precipitation and/or invalidated by strong winds. Performance characteristics including collocated precision, in-field procedural and laboratory blanks were evaluated. The results of these performance evaluations included a mean collocated precision of 9%, low blanks (0.8 ng), high extraction efficiency (97%–103%), and a quantitative matrix spike recovery (100%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Needs of Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Rural-Urban Comparison in Delaware, USA
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 174; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020174
Received: 9 December 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Older adults in rural areas have unique transportation barriers to accessing medical care, which include a lack of mass transit options and considerable distances to health-related services. This study contrasts non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) service utilization patterns and associated costs for
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Background: Older adults in rural areas have unique transportation barriers to accessing medical care, which include a lack of mass transit options and considerable distances to health-related services. This study contrasts non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) service utilization patterns and associated costs for Medicaid middle-aged and older adults in rural versus urban areas. Methods: Data were analyzed from 39,194 NEMT users of LogistiCare-brokered services in Delaware residing in rural (68.3%) and urban (30.9%) areas. Multivariable logistic analyses compared trip characteristics by rurality designation. Results: Rural (37.2%) and urban (41.2%) participants used services more frequently for dialysis than for any other medical concern. Older age and personal accompaniment were more common and wheel chair use was less common for rural trips. The mean cost per trip was greater for rural users (difference of $2910 per trip), which was attributed to the greater distance per trip in rural areas. Conclusions: Among a sample who were eligible for subsidized NEMT and who utilized this service, rural trips tended to be longer and, therefore, higher in cost. Over 50% of trips were made for dialysis highlighting the need to address prevention and, potentially, health service improvements for rural dialysis patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
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Open AccessArticle Neighborhood Environment and Falls among Community-Dwelling Older Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 175; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020175
Received: 10 January 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Falls present a major challenge to active aging, but the relationship between neighborhood factors and falls is poorly understood. This study examined the relationship between fall events and neighborhood factors, including neighborhood social cohesion (sense of belonging, trust, friendliness, and helpfulness)
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Background: Falls present a major challenge to active aging, but the relationship between neighborhood factors and falls is poorly understood. This study examined the relationship between fall events and neighborhood factors, including neighborhood social cohesion (sense of belonging, trust, friendliness, and helpfulness) and physical environment (vandalism/graffiti, rubbish, vacant/deserted houses, and perceived safety walking home at night). Methods: Data were analyzed from 9259 participants over four biennial waves (2006–2012) of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative sample of adults aged 65 and older in the United States. Results: In models adjusting for demographic and health-related covariates, a one-unit increase in neighborhood social cohesion was associated with 4% lower odds of experiencing a single fall (odds ratio (OR): 0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.93–0.99) and 6% lower odds of experiencing multiple falls (OR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.90–0.98). A one-unit increase in the physical environment scale was associated with 4% lower odds of experiencing a single fall (OR: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.93–0.99) and with 5% lower odds of experiencing multiple falls (OR: 0.95, 95% CI: 0.91–1.00) in adjusted models. Conclusions: The physical and social neighborhood environment may affect fall risk among community-dwelling older adults. Findings support the ongoing need for evidence-based fall prevention programming in community and clinical settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle Temporal Trends in Satellite-Derived Erythemal UVB and Implications for Ambient Sun Exposure Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 176; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020176
Received: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has been associated with various health outcomes, including skin cancers, vitamin D insufficiency, and multiple sclerosis. Measurement of UVR has been difficult, traditionally relying on subject recall. We investigated trends in satellite-derived UVB from 1978 to 2014 within the continental
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Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has been associated with various health outcomes, including skin cancers, vitamin D insufficiency, and multiple sclerosis. Measurement of UVR has been difficult, traditionally relying on subject recall. We investigated trends in satellite-derived UVB from 1978 to 2014 within the continental United States (US) to inform UVR exposure assessment and determine the potential magnitude of misclassification bias created by ignoring these trends. Monthly UVB data remotely sensed from various NASA satellites were used to investigate changes over time in the United States using linear regression with a harmonic function. Linear regression models for local geographic areas were used to make inferences across the entire study area using a global field significance test. Temporal trends were investigated across all years and separately for each satellite type due to documented differences in UVB estimation. UVB increased from 1978 to 2014 in 48% of local tests. The largest UVB increase was found in Western Nevada (0.145 kJ/m2 per five-year increment), a total 30-year increase of 0.87 kJ/m2. This largest change only represented 17% of total ambient exposure for an average January and 2% of an average July in Western Nevada. The observed trends represent cumulative UVB changes of less than a month, which are not relevant when attempting to estimate human exposure. The observation of small trends should be interpreted with caution due to measurement of satellite parameter inputs (ozone and climatological factors) that may impact derived satellite UVR nearly 20% compared to ground level sources. If the observed trends hold, satellite-derived UVB data may reasonably estimate ambient UVB exposures even for outcomes with long latency phases that predate the satellite record. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UV-Radiation: From Physics to Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing the Incidence of Obesity in Australia: A Generalized Ordered Probit Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 177; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020177
Received: 6 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
The increasing health costs of and the risks factors associated with obesity are well documented. From this perspective, it is important that the propensity of individuals towards obesity is analyzed. This paper uses longitudinal data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in
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The increasing health costs of and the risks factors associated with obesity are well documented. From this perspective, it is important that the propensity of individuals towards obesity is analyzed. This paper uses longitudinal data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey for 2005 to 2010 to model those variables which condition the probability of being obese. The model estimated is a random effects generalized ordered probit, which exploits two sources of heterogeneity; the individual heterogeneity of panel data models and heterogeneity across body mass index (BMI) categories. The latter is associated with non-parallel thresholds in the generalized ordered model, where the thresholds are functions of the conditioning variables, which comprise economic, social, and demographic and lifestyle variables. To control for potential predisposition to obesity, personality traits augment the empirical model. The results support the view that the probability of obesity is significantly determined by the conditioning variables. Particularly, personality is found to be important and these outcomes reinforce other work examining personality and obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Molecular Characterization of Mycolactone Producing Mycobacteria from Aquatic Environments in Buruli Ulcer Non-Endemic Areas in Côte d’Ivoire
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 178; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020178
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 11 February 2017
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Abstract
Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), particularly mycolactone producing mycobacteria (MPM), are bacteria found in aquatic environments causing skin diseases in humans like Buruli ulcer (BU). Although the causative agent for BU, Mycobacterium ulcerans has been identified and associated with slow-moving water bodies, the real transmission
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Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), particularly mycolactone producing mycobacteria (MPM), are bacteria found in aquatic environments causing skin diseases in humans like Buruli ulcer (BU). Although the causative agent for BU, Mycobacterium ulcerans has been identified and associated with slow-moving water bodies, the real transmission route is still unknown. This study aimed to characterize MPMs from environmental aquatic samples collected in a BU non-endemic community, Adiopodoumé, in Côte d’Ivoire. Sixty samples were collected in four types of matrices (plant biofilms, water filtrate residues, plant detritus and soils) from three water bodies frequently used by the population. Using conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR), MPMs were screened for the 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) mycobacterial gene, the IS2404 insertion sequence, and MPM enoyl reductase (ER) gene. Variable Number Tandem Repeat (VNTR) typing with loci 6, 19, mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit 1 (MIRU1) and sequence type 1(ST1) was performed to discriminate between different MPMs. Our findings showed 66.7%, 57.5% and 43.5% of positivity respectively for 16S rRNA, IS2404 and ER. MPM discrimination using VNTR typing did not show any positivity and therefore did not allow precise MPM distinction. Nevertheless, the observed contamination of some water bodies in a BU non-endemic community by MPMs suggests the possibility of pathogen dissemination and transmission to humans. These aquatic environments could also serve as reservoirs that should be considered during control and prevention strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Floods on the Incidence of Bacillary Dysentery in Baise (Guangxi Province, China) from 2004 to 2012
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 179; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020179
Received: 2 December 2016 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 February 2017 / Published: 12 February 2017
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Abstract
Research shows potential effects of floods on intestinal infections. Baise, a city in Guangxi Province (China) had experienced several floods between 2004 and 2012 due to heavy and constant precipitation. This study aimed to examine the relationship between floods and the incidence of
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Research shows potential effects of floods on intestinal infections. Baise, a city in Guangxi Province (China) had experienced several floods between 2004 and 2012 due to heavy and constant precipitation. This study aimed to examine the relationship between floods and the incidence of bacillary dysentery in Baise. A mixed generalized additive model and Spearman correlation were applied to analyze the relationship between monthly incidence of bacillary dysentery and 14 flood events with two severity levels. Data collected from 2004 to 2010 were utilized to estimate the parameters, whereas data from 2011 to 2012 were used to validate the model. There were in total 9255 cases of bacillary dysentery included in our analyses. According to the mixed generalized additive model, the relative risks (RR) of moderate and severe floods on the incidence of bacillary dysentery were 1.40 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.16–1.69) and 1.78 (95% CI: 1.61–1.97), respectively. The regression analysis also indicated that the flood duration was negatively associated with the incidence of bacillary dysentery (with RR: 0.57, 95% CI: 0.40–0.86). Therfore, this research suggests that floods exert a significant part in enhancing the risk of bacillary dysentery in Baise. Moreover, severe floods have a higher proportional contribution to the incidence of bacillary dysentery than moderate floods. In addition, short-term floods may contribute more to the incidence of bacillary dysentery than a long-term flood. The findings from this research will provide more evidence to reduce health risks related to floods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Heat Exposure and Sleep Restriction on Firefighters’ Work Performance and Physiology during Simulated Wildfire Suppression
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 180; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020180
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 5 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 12 February 2017
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Abstract
This study was designed to examine the effects of ambient heat on firefighters’ physical task performance, and physiological and perceptual responses when sleep restricted during simulated wildfire conditions. Thirty firefighters were randomly allocated to the sleep restricted (n = 17, SR; 19
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This study was designed to examine the effects of ambient heat on firefighters’ physical task performance, and physiological and perceptual responses when sleep restricted during simulated wildfire conditions. Thirty firefighters were randomly allocated to the sleep restricted (n = 17, SR; 19 °C, 4-h sleep opportunity) or hot and sleep restricted (n = 13, HOT + SR; 33 °C, 4-h sleep opportunity) condition. Firefighters performed two days of simulated, intermittent, self-paced work circuits comprising six firefighting tasks. Heart rate, and core temperature were measured continuously. After each task, firefighters reported their rating of perceived exertion and thermal sensation. Effort sensation was also reported after each work circuit. Fluids were consumed ad libitum. Urine volume and urine specific gravity were analysed. Sleep was monitored using polysomnography. There were no differences between the SR and HOT + SR groups in firefighters’ physiological responses, hydration status, ratings of perceived exertion, motivation, and four of the six firefighting tasks (charged hose advance, rake, hose rolling, static hose hold). Black out hose and lateral repositioning were adversely affected in the HOT + SR group. Working in hot conditions did not appear to consistently impair firefighters work performance, physiology, and perceptual responses. Future research should determine whether such findings remain true when individual tasks are performed over longer durations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Family Environment and Childhood Obesity: A New Framework with Structural Equation Modeling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 181; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020181
Received: 3 July 2016 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
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Abstract
The main purpose of the current article is to introduce a framework of the complexity of childhood obesity based on the family environment. A conceptual model that quantifies the relationships and interactions among parental socioeconomic status, family food security level, child’s food intake
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The main purpose of the current article is to introduce a framework of the complexity of childhood obesity based on the family environment. A conceptual model that quantifies the relationships and interactions among parental socioeconomic status, family food security level, child’s food intake and certain aspects of parental feeding behaviour is presented using the structural equation modeling (SEM) concept. Structural models are analysed in terms of the direct and indirect connections among latent and measurement variables that lead to the child weight indicator. To illustrate the accuracy, fit, reliability and validity of the introduced framework, real data collected from 630 families from Urumqi (Xinjiang, China) were considered. The framework includes two categories of data comprising the normal body mass index (BMI) range and obesity data. The comparison analysis between two models provides some evidence that in obesity modeling, obesity data must be extracted from the dataset and analysis must be done separately from the normal BMI range. This study may be helpful for researchers interested in childhood obesity modeling based on family environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Perceptions of Improved Biomass and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Stoves in Puno, Peru: Implications for Promoting Sustained and Exclusive Adoption of Clean Cooking Technologies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 182; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020182
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
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Abstract
Many households in low- and middle-income countries cook with inefficient biomass-burning stoves, which cause high levels of household air pollution and threaten long-term health. Although clean stoves and fuels are available, uptake and consistent use has been low. Using observations and in-depth interviews,
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Many households in low- and middle-income countries cook with inefficient biomass-burning stoves, which cause high levels of household air pollution and threaten long-term health. Although clean stoves and fuels are available, uptake and consistent use has been low. Using observations and in-depth interviews, we assessed the attitudes, preferences, and beliefs about traditional versus liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves in rural Puno, Peru. A total of 31 in-depth interviews were conducted with primary cooks and their families, health workers, community leaders, and improved stove contractors. Six in-home observations of meal preparation were also conducted. Six major barriers to consistent use of clean stoves were identified: (1) perceived differences in food taste and nutrition by stove type; (2) cooking niches filled by different stoves; (3) social norms related to cooking practices; (4) safety concerns; (5) comparative costs of using different stoves; and (6) lack of awareness and concern about long-term health risks. These findings suggest that to successfully reduce household air pollution, clean cooking programs and policies must consider the many factors influencing adoption beyond health, such as cost, taste, fears, and cultural traditions. These factors could be incorporated into community-based and national efforts to scale-up sustained and exclusive adoption of clean cooking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle Associations between Obesity and Spinal Diseases: A Medical Expenditure Panel Study Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 183; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020183
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: The link between body weight status and spinal diseases has been suggested by a number of cross-sectional and cohort studies with a limited range of patient populations. No population-representative samples have been used to examine the link between obesity and spinal diseases.
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Background: The link between body weight status and spinal diseases has been suggested by a number of cross-sectional and cohort studies with a limited range of patient populations. No population-representative samples have been used to examine the link between obesity and spinal diseases. The present study is based on a nationally representative sample drawn from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Methods: Using the cross-sectional sample of the 2014 Medical Expenditure Panel Study, we built four weighted logistic regression analyses of the associations between body weight status and the following four spinal diseases: low back pain, spondylosis, other cervical disorders and intervertebral disc disorder (IDD). Each respondent’s body weight status was used as the key independent variable with three categories: normal/underweight, overweight, and obese. We controlled for marital status, gender, age, smoking status, household income, health insurance coverage, educational attainment and the use of health services for other major categories of diseases. Results: A total sample of 23,048 respondents was used in our analysis. Overweight and obese respondents, as compared to normal/underweight respondents, were more likely to develop lower back problems (Overweight: logged odds = 0.218, p < 0.01; Obese: logged odds = 0.395, p < 0.001) and IDD (Overweight: logged odds = 0.441, p < 0.05; Obese: logged odds = 0.528, p < 0.001). The associations between bodyweight status and spondylitis were statistically insignificant (Overweight: logged odds = 0.281, p = 0.442; Obese: logged odds = 0.680, p = 0.104). The associations between body weight status and other cervical disorders (Overweight: logged odds = −0.116, p = 0.304; Obese: logged odds = −0.160, p = 0.865) were statistically insignificant. Conclusions: As the first study using a national sample to study bodyweight and spinal diseases, our paper supports the hypothesis that obesity adds to the burden of low back pain and IDD. Longitudinal and interventional studies are needed to understand the specific mechanisms behind these positive associations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Services and Health Economics Research)
Open AccessArticle Interventions for Preventing Childhood Obesity with Smartphones and Wearable Device: A Protocol for a Non-Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 184; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020184
Received: 11 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Childhood obesity is a critical health issue, both currently and for the foreseeable future. To prevent obesity, behavior changes are essential. Smartphones can be a good tool, as the number of child smartphone users is rapidly increasing. We have developed a mobile
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Background: Childhood obesity is a critical health issue, both currently and for the foreseeable future. To prevent obesity, behavior changes are essential. Smartphones can be a good tool, as the number of child smartphone users is rapidly increasing. We have developed a mobile platform system named “HAPPY ME,” which is a smartphone application coupled with a wearable device, designed to improve healthy behaviors to prevent childhood obesity. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of obesity prevention among children 10–12 years of age using HAPPY ME. Methods: A total of 1000 participants, all fifth and sixth graders from four schools, were assigned to either control or intervention groups by school. Students in the intervention group used HAPPY ME. The study comprises a safety test, a 12-week efficacy test, and a six-month follow-up test to determine the long-term effects of preventive intervention via the integrated service platform. The integrated service platform aims to facilitate child-parent-school participation, involving the child-parent mobile application, a child-teacher mobile web, and a school website. Primary outcome measures are behavioral changes, including healthy eating, increased physical activity, and fitness. Secondary outcome measures are changes in anthropometric parameters (body weight, height, body mass index z-score, and waist circumference), body mass index (BMI) percentiles (obesity rate), and psychological perceptions among participants. Conclusions: The results of this study will offer evidence of the effectiveness of a mobile platform service with a multi-component intervention program based on a comprehensive approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Sleep Quality on the Association between Problematic Mobile Phone Use and Mental Health Symptoms in Chinese College Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 185; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020185
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 1 February 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Problematic mobile phone use (PMPU) is a risk factor for both adolescents’ sleep quality and mental health. It is important to examine the potential negative health effects of PMPU exposure. This study aims to evaluate PMPU and its association with mental health in
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Problematic mobile phone use (PMPU) is a risk factor for both adolescents’ sleep quality and mental health. It is important to examine the potential negative health effects of PMPU exposure. This study aims to evaluate PMPU and its association with mental health in Chinese college students. Furthermore, we investigated how sleep quality influences this association. In 2013, we collected data regarding participants’ PMPU, sleep quality, and mental health (psychopathological symptoms, anxiety, and depressive symptoms) by standardized questionnaires in 4747 college students. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was applied to assess independent effects and interactions of PMPU and sleep quality with mental health. PMPU and poor sleep quality were observed in 28.2% and 9.8% of participants, respectively. Adjusted logistic regression models suggested independent associations of PMPU and sleep quality with mental health (p < 0.001). Further regression analyses suggested a significant interaction between these measures (p < 0.001). The study highlights that poor sleep quality may play a more significant role in increasing the risk of mental health problems in students with PMPU than in those without PMPU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Indoor Temperature on Physical Performance in Older Adults during Days with Normal Temperature and Heat Waves
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 186; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020186
Received: 19 October 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 February 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Indoor temperature is relevant with regard to mortality and heat-related self-perceived health problems. The aim of this study was to describe the association between indoor temperature and physical performance in older adults. Eighty-one older adults (84% women, mean age 80.9 years, standard deviation
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Indoor temperature is relevant with regard to mortality and heat-related self-perceived health problems. The aim of this study was to describe the association between indoor temperature and physical performance in older adults. Eighty-one older adults (84% women, mean age 80.9 years, standard deviation 6.53) were visited every four weeks from May to October 2015 and additionally during two heat waves in July and August 2015. Indoor temperature, habitual gait speed, chair-rise performance and balance were assessed. Baseline assessment of gait speed was used to create two subgroups (lower versus higher gait speed) based on frailty criteria. The strongest effect of increasing temperature on habitual gait speed was observed in the subgroup of adults with higher gait speed (−0.087 m/s per increase of 10 °C; 95% confidence interval (CI): −0.136; −0.038). The strongest effects on timed chair-rise and balance performance were observed in the subgroup of adults with lower gait speed (2.03 s per increase of 10 °C (95% CI: 0.79; 3.28) and −3.92 s per increase of 10 °C (95% CI: −7.31; −0.52), respectively). Comparing results of physical performance in absentia of a heat wave and during a heat wave, habitual gait speed was negatively affected by heat in the total group and subgroup of adults with higher gait speed, chair-rise performance was negatively affected in all groups and balance was not affected. The study provides arguments for exercise interventions in general for older adults, because a better physical fitness might alleviate impediments of physical capacity and might provide resources for adequate adaptation in older adults during heat stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Selecting Cooking Methods to Decrease Persistent Organic Pollutant Concentrations in Food of Animal Origin Using a Consensus Decision-Making Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 187; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020187
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) pose serious threats to human health. Increasing attention has been paid to POPs to protect the environment and prevent disease. Humans are exposed to POPs through diet (the major route), inhaling air and dust and skin contact. POPs are
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Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) pose serious threats to human health. Increasing attention has been paid to POPs to protect the environment and prevent disease. Humans are exposed to POPs through diet (the major route), inhaling air and dust and skin contact. POPs are very lipophilic and hydrophobic, meaning that they accumulate in fatty tissues in animals and can biomagnify. Humans can therefore be exposed to relatively high POP concentrations in food of animal origin. Cooking animal products can decrease the POP contents, and different cooking methods achieve different reduction rates. Here, a consensus decision-making model with interval preference relations is used to prioritize cooking methods for specific animal products in terms of reducing POP concentrations. Two consistency mathematical expressions (I-consistency and I I -consistency) are defined, then the ideal interval preference relations are determined for the cooking methods with respect to different social choice principles. The objective is to minimize disparities between individual judgments and the ideal consensus judgment. Consistency is used as a constraint to determine the rationality of the consistency definitions. A numerical example indicated that baking is the best cooking method for decreasing POP concentrations in grass carp. The I-consistency results were more acceptable than the I I -consistency results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Economics, Environmental Health Policy and Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Biomethylation and Volatilization of Arsenic by Model Protozoan Tetrahymena pyriformis under Different Phosphate Regimes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 188; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020188
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Tetrahymena pyriformis, a freshwater protozoan, is common in aquatic systems. Arsenic detoxification through biotransformation by T. pyriformis is important but poorly understood. Arsenic metabolic pathways (including cellular accumulation, effluxion, biomethylation, and volatilization) of T. pyriformis were investigated at various phosphate concentrations. The
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Tetrahymena pyriformis, a freshwater protozoan, is common in aquatic systems. Arsenic detoxification through biotransformation by T. pyriformis is important but poorly understood. Arsenic metabolic pathways (including cellular accumulation, effluxion, biomethylation, and volatilization) of T. pyriformis were investigated at various phosphate concentrations. The total intracellular As concentration increased markedly as the external phosphate concentration decreased. The highest concentration was 168.8 mg·kg−1 dry weight, after exposure to As(V) for 20 h. Inorganic As was dominant at low phosphate concentrations (3, 6, and 15 mg·L−1), but the concentration was much lower at 30 mg·L−1 phosphate, and As(V) contributed only ~7% of total cellular As. Methylated As contributed 84% of total As at 30 mg·L−1 phosphate, and dimethylarsenate (DMAs(V)) was dominant, contributing up to 48% of total As. Cellular As effluxion was detected, including inorganic As(III), methylarsenate (MAs(V)) and DMAs(V). Volatile As was determined at various phosphate concentrations in the medium. All methylated As concentrations (intracellular, extracellular, and volatilized) had significant linear positive relationships with the initial phosphate concentration. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of As biotransformation by protozoa at different phosphate concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Gaseous Air Pollution and the Risk for Stroke Admissions: A Case-Crossover Study in Beijing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 189; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020189
Received: 25 November 2016 / Revised: 15 January 2017 / Accepted: 27 January 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Though increasing evidence supports association between gaseous air pollution and stroke, it remains unclear whether the effects differ in season, sex and age. The aim of this study was to examine the associations of gaseous air pollution with stroke admissions in Beijing,
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Background: Though increasing evidence supports association between gaseous air pollution and stroke, it remains unclear whether the effects differ in season, sex and age. The aim of this study was to examine the associations of gaseous air pollution with stroke admissions in Beijing, 2013–2014 in different subgroups. Methods: Case-crossover design and conditional logistic regression were used to perform the analyses. We examined the exposure-response relationship between air pollution and stroke. Stratified analyses were performed in different seasons, sex, and age groups. Results: There were 147,624 stroke admissions during the study period. In the whole study period, percent changes of stroke admissions were 0.82% (95% CI: 0.52% to 1.13%) and 0.73% (95% CI: 0.44% to 1.03%) per 10 μg/m3 increase in the same day conentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The positive associations were higher in warm seasons and with patients >65 years (p < 0.05). Contrary effects of carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone on stroke admissions were observed in different seasons. Conclusions: NO2 and SO2 were positively associated with stroke admissions, with stronger effects in warm seasons and with patients >65 years. The associations of CO and ozone with stroke admissions differed across seasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle The Uncommon Impact of Common Environmental Details on Walking in Older Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 190; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020190
Received: 5 December 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Walking is the most common form of physical activity amongst older adults. Older adults’ walking behaviors have been linked to objective and perceived neighborhood and street-level environmental attributes, such as pavement quality and mixed land uses. To help identify components of walkable environments,
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Walking is the most common form of physical activity amongst older adults. Older adults’ walking behaviors have been linked to objective and perceived neighborhood and street-level environmental attributes, such as pavement quality and mixed land uses. To help identify components of walkable environments, this paper examines some of these environmental attributes and explores their influence on this population’s walking behaviors. It draws on focus group and interview data collected from 22 purposively sampled older adults aged 60 years and over. These participants presented a range of functional and cognitive impairments including stroke and dementia. In line with past research, we detail how various everyday aspects of urban environments, such as steps, curbs and uneven pavements, can, in combination with person-related factors, complicate older adults’ outdoor mobility while others, such as handrails and benches, seem to support and even encourage movement. Importantly, we delineate the influence of perceptions on mobility choices. We found that, in some instances, it is the meanings and possibilities that older adults derive from aspects of the environment, such as street cameras and underpasses, rather than the aspects per se, which shape behavior. The implications for policy and practice are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle Is the Association between Park Proximity and Recreational Physical Activity among Mid-Older Aged Adults Moderated by Park Quality and Neighborhood Conditions?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 192; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020192
Received: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Previous studies have reported mixed findings on the relationship between park proximity and recreational physical activity (PA), which could be explained by park quality and the surrounding neighborhood environment. We examined whether park quality and perceptions of the neighborhood physical and social environment
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Previous studies have reported mixed findings on the relationship between park proximity and recreational physical activity (PA), which could be explained by park quality and the surrounding neighborhood environment. We examined whether park quality and perceptions of the neighborhood physical and social environment moderated associations between park proximity and recreational PA among mid-older aged adults. Cross-sectional self-reported data on park proximity, park quality, neighborhood physical and social environmental factors, recreational walking and other moderate- to vigorous-intensity recreational physical activity (MVPA) were collected among 2700 Australian adults (57–69 years) in 2012. Main effects between park proximity and measures of recreational PA were non-significant. Park proximity was positively related to engagement in recreational walking among participants who reported average and high social trust and cohesion, but not among those reporting low social trust and cohesion. No other moderating effects were observed. Current findings suggest synergistic relationships between park proximity and social trust and cohesion with mid-older aged adults’ recreational walking. More research is needed to unravel the complex relationship between parks, recreational PA and the social context of neighborhoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle The Importance of Conditioned Stimuli in Cigarette and E-Cigarette Craving Reduction by E-Cigarettes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 193; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020193
Received: 24 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
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Abstract
This study examined the impact of four variables pertaining to the use of e-cigarettes (e-cigs) on cravings for tobacco cigarettes and for e-cigs after an overnight abstinence period. The four variables were the nicotine level, the sensorimotor component, the visual aspect, and the
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This study examined the impact of four variables pertaining to the use of e-cigarettes (e-cigs) on cravings for tobacco cigarettes and for e-cigs after an overnight abstinence period. The four variables were the nicotine level, the sensorimotor component, the visual aspect, and the aroma of the e-cig. In an experimental study, 81 participants without prior vaping experience first got acquainted with using e-cigs in a one-week tryout period, after which they participated in a lab session assessing the effect of five minutes of vaping following an abstinence period of 12 h. A mixed-effects model clearly showed the importance of nicotine in craving reduction. However, also non-nicotine factors, in particular the sensorimotor component, were shown to contribute to craving reduction. Handling cues interacted with the level (presence/absence) of nicotine: it was only when the standard hand-to-mouth action cues were omitted that the craving reducing effects of nicotine were observed. Effects of aroma or visual cues were not observed, or weak and difficult to interpret, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-Cigarettes: Epidemiology, Policy and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Associations of Overweight, Obesity and Related Factors with Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders and Snoring in Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 194; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020194
Received: 12 October 2016 / Revised: 22 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) have been identified as a major public health problem closely related to adolescent obesity. We aimed to estimate the prevalences of SRBD and snoring in adolescents in Changchun City, Northeastern China, and to evaluate the associated factors
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Background: Sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) have been identified as a major public health problem closely related to adolescent obesity. We aimed to estimate the prevalences of SRBD and snoring in adolescents in Changchun City, Northeastern China, and to evaluate the associated factors in this population. Methods: In total, 1955 adolescents aged 11–18 years were recruited in Changchun City using stratified cluster sampling. Parents and caretakers of children completed the questionnaires, which included demographic characteristics, anthropometric parameters and a pediatric sleep questionnaire (SRBD scale). Logistic regression was used to analyze the relationship between SRBD, snoring and other factors. Results: The prevalences of SRBD and snoring in our population were 3.7% and 3.3%, respectively, and the prevalences of overweight and obesity were 12.6% and 4.9%. Multivariate logistic regression showed that urban residence (OR = 2.356, 95%CI: 1.251–4.435) and post-term birth (OR = 3.275, 95%CI: 1.396–7.683) were significantly associated with SRBD. Preterm birth (OR = 2.255, 95%CI: 1.021–4.980) and parental education level of university and above (OR = 0.265, 95%CI: 0.083–0.850) were significantly associated with snoring. Overweight (OR = 2.063, 95%CI: 1.062–4.006) was also related to snoring. Conclusions: The prevalences of SRBD and snoring were similar to those reported in previous studies. Urban residence and post-term birth were important influencing factors for SRBD; overweight, highest parental education level (university and above) and preterm birth were key factors affecting snoring in adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Volatile Profiles of Emissions from Different Activities Analyzed Using Canister Samplers and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) Analysis: A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 195; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020195
Received: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
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Abstract
The objective of present study was to identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from several sources (fuels, traffic, landfills, coffee roasting, a street-food laboratory, building work, indoor use of incense and candles, a dental laboratory, etc.) located in Palermo (Italy) by using canister
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The objective of present study was to identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from several sources (fuels, traffic, landfills, coffee roasting, a street-food laboratory, building work, indoor use of incense and candles, a dental laboratory, etc.) located in Palermo (Italy) by using canister autosamplers and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) technique. In this study, 181 VOCs were monitored. In the atmosphere of Palermo city, propane, butane, isopentane, methyl pentane, hexane, benzene, toluene, meta- and para-xylene, 1,2,4 trimethyl benzene, 1,3,5 trimethyl benzene, ethylbenzene, 4 ethyl toluene and heptane were identified and quantified in all sampling sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle Household Dengue Prevention Interventions, Expenditures, and Barriers to Aedes aegypti Control in Machala, Ecuador
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 196; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020196
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
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Abstract
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is an efficient vector for the transmission of Zika, chikungunya, and dengue viruses, causing major epidemics and a significant social and economic burden throughout the tropics and subtropics. The primary means of preventing these diseases is household-level mosquito control.
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The Aedes aegypti mosquito is an efficient vector for the transmission of Zika, chikungunya, and dengue viruses, causing major epidemics and a significant social and economic burden throughout the tropics and subtropics. The primary means of preventing these diseases is household-level mosquito control. However, relatively little is known about the economic burden of Ae. aegypti control in resource-limited communities. We surveyed residents from 40 households in a high-risk community at the urban periphery in the city of Machala, Ecuador, on dengue perceptions, vector control interventions, household expenditures, and factors influencing purchasing decisions. The results of this study show that households spend a monthly median of US$2.00, or 1.90% (range: 0.00%, 9.21%) of their family income on Ae. aegypti control interventions. Households reported employing, on average, five different mosquito control and dengue prevention interventions, including aerosols, liquid sprays, repellents, mosquito coils, and unimpregnated bed nets. We found that effectiveness and cost were the most important factors that influence people’s decisions to purchase a mosquito control product. Our findings will inform the development and deployment of new Ae. aegypti control interventions by the public health and private sectors, and add to prior studies that have focused on the economic burden of dengue-like illness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mosquito Control Innovations into The 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle Prospective Prediction of Juvenile Homicide/Attempted Homicide among Early-Onset Juvenile Offenders
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 197; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020197
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 11 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
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Abstract
While homicide perpetrated by juveniles is a relatively rare occurrence, between 2010 and 2014, approximately 7%–8% of all murders involved a juvenile offender. Unfortunately, few studies have prospectively examined the predictors of homicide offending, with none examining first-time murder among a sample of
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While homicide perpetrated by juveniles is a relatively rare occurrence, between 2010 and 2014, approximately 7%–8% of all murders involved a juvenile offender. Unfortunately, few studies have prospectively examined the predictors of homicide offending, with none examining first-time murder among a sample of adjudicated male and female youth. The current study employed data on 5908 juvenile offenders (70% male, 45% Black) first arrested at the age of 12 or younger to prospectively examine predictors of an arrest for homicide/attempted homicide by the age of 18. Among these early-onset offenders, males, Black youth, those living in households with family members with a history of mental illness, those engaging in self-mutilation, and those with elevated levels of anger/aggression (all measured by age 13) were more likely to be arrested for homicide/attempted homicide by age 18. These findings add to the scant scientific literature on the predictors of homicide, and illustrate potential avenues for intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Psychology and Crime)
Open AccessArticle The Relationship between Physical Activity and Plasma Glucose Level amongst Ellisras Rural Young Adult Males and Females: Ellisras Longitudinal Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 198; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020198
Received: 11 November 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
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Abstract
Unhealthy lifestyle characteristics such as low physical activity (PA) and high plasma glucose levels (PGLs) may lead to the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus in adulthood. The aim of this study was to investigate (i) the level of physical activity; (ii) the
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Unhealthy lifestyle characteristics such as low physical activity (PA) and high plasma glucose levels (PGLs) may lead to the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus in adulthood. The aim of this study was to investigate (i) the level of physical activity; (ii) the prevalence of pre-diabetes and (iii) the relationship between PA and plasma glucose level in a rural Ellisras adult population aged 18 to 28 years. A total of 713 young adults (349 males and 364 females) who took part in the Ellisras Longitudinal Study participated in the study. Fasting plasma glucose levels were analysed using Accutrend glucose meters. Physical activity data was collected using a validated questionnaire. Linear regression was used to assess the relationship between PA and pre-diabetes. The prevalence of pre-diabetes was between 45.7% and 50.2% and that of physical inactivity was 67.3% and 71.0% for males and females, respectively. There was no significant (p > 0.05) relationship between PA and pre-diabetes (beta = 1.016; 95% Confidence Interval from 0.352 to 2.777). The health benefits of PA increased with the increasing frequency, duration and intensity of exercise. The prevalence of pre-diabetes was found to be very high in this population. Our results suggest that greater physical activity is associated with low plasma glucose levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Determinants of Health Care Services Utilization among First Generation Afghan Migrants in Istanbul
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 201; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020201
Received: 29 October 2016 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
There is insufficient empirical evidence on the correlates of health care utilization of irregular migrants currently living in Turkey. The aim of this study was to identify individual level determinants associated with health service and medication use. One hundred and fifty-five Afghans completed
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There is insufficient empirical evidence on the correlates of health care utilization of irregular migrants currently living in Turkey. The aim of this study was to identify individual level determinants associated with health service and medication use. One hundred and fifty-five Afghans completed surveys assessing service utilization including encounters with primary care physicians and outpatient specialists in addition to the use of prescription and nonprescription medicines. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed to examine associations between service use and a range of predisposing, enabling, and perceived need factors. Health services utilization was lowest for outpatient specialists (20%) and highest for nonprescription medications (37%). Female gender and higher income predicted encounters with primary care physicians. Income, and other enabling factors such as family presence in Turkey predicted encounters with outpatient specialists. Perceived illness-related need factors had little to no influence on use of services; however, asylum difficulties increased the likelihood for encounters with primary care physicians, outpatient services, and the use of prescription medications. This study suggests that health services use among Afghan migrants in Turkey is low considering the extent of their perceived illness-related needs, which may be further exacerbated by the precarious conditions in which they live. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee Health)
Open AccessArticle Electronic Cigarette Use and Smoking Abstinence in Japan: A Cross-Sectional Study of Quitting Methods
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 202; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020202
Received: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The benefit of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in smoking cessation remains controversial. Recently, e-cigarettes have been gaining popularity in Japan, without evidence of efficacy on quitting cigarettes. We conducted an online survey to collect information on tobacco use, difficulties in smoking cessation, socio-demographic factors,
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The benefit of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in smoking cessation remains controversial. Recently, e-cigarettes have been gaining popularity in Japan, without evidence of efficacy on quitting cigarettes. We conducted an online survey to collect information on tobacco use, difficulties in smoking cessation, socio-demographic factors, and health-related factors in Japan. Among the total participants (n = 9055), 798 eligible persons aged 20–69 years who smoked within the previous five years were analyzed to assess the relationship between the outcome of smoking cessation and quitting methods used, including e-cigarettes, smoking cessation therapy, and unassisted. E-cigarette use was negatively associated with smoking cessation (odds ratio (OR) = 0.632; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.414–0.964) after adjusting for gender, age, health-related factors, and other quitting methods. Conversely, smoking cessation therapy (i.e., varenicline) was significantly associated with smoking cessation (OR = 1.885; 95% CI = 1.018–3.492) in the same model. For effective smoking cessation, e-cigarette use appears to have low efficacy among smokers in Japan. Allowing for the fact that this study is limited by its cross-sectional design, follow-up studies are needed to assess the prospective association between e-cigarette use and smoking cessation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-Cigarettes: Epidemiology, Policy and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Driver’s Cognitive Workload and Driving Performance under Traffic Sign Information Exposure in Complex Environments: A Case Study of the Highways in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 203; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020203
Received: 31 August 2016 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
Complex traffic situations and high driving workload are the leading contributing factors to traffic crashes. There is a strong correlation between driving performance and driving workload, such as visual workload from traffic signs on highway off-ramps. This study aimed to evaluate traffic safety
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Complex traffic situations and high driving workload are the leading contributing factors to traffic crashes. There is a strong correlation between driving performance and driving workload, such as visual workload from traffic signs on highway off-ramps. This study aimed to evaluate traffic safety by analyzing drivers’ behavior and performance under the cognitive workload in complex environment areas. First, the driving workload of drivers was tested based on traffic signs with different quantities of information. Forty-four drivers were recruited to conduct a traffic sign cognition experiment under static controlled environment conditions. Different complex traffic signs were used for applying the cognitive workload. The static experiment results reveal that workload is highly related to the amount of information on traffic signs and reaction time increases with the information grade, while driving experience and gender effect are not significant. This shows that the cognitive workload of subsequent driving experiments can be controlled by the amount of information on traffic signs. Second, driving characteristics and driving performance were analyzed under different secondary task driving workload levels using a driving simulator. Drivers were required to drive at the required speed on a designed highway off-ramp scene. The cognitive workload was controlled by reading traffic signs with different information, which were divided into four levels. Drivers had to make choices by pushing buttons after reading traffic signs. Meanwhile, the driving performance information was recorded. Questionnaires on objective workload were collected right after each driving task. The results show that speed maintenance and lane deviations are significantly different under different levels of cognitive workload, and the effects of driving experience and gender groups are significant. The research results can be used to analyze traffic safety in highway environments, while considering more drivers’ cognitive and driving performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic Safety and Injury Prevention)
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Criteria in the Spanish Public Works Procurement Process
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 204; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020204
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
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Abstract
Green Public Procurement (GPP) is defined as a process of contracting products, services, and works with the least possible damage to the environment during their life cycle. In order to improve the knowledge about GPP, a study of the use of environmental tendering
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Green Public Procurement (GPP) is defined as a process of contracting products, services, and works with the least possible damage to the environment during their life cycle. In order to improve the knowledge about GPP, a study of the use of environmental tendering criteria in the Spanish public construction sector has been performed. The results of this study show that the use of environmental criteria in Spanish public sector construction procurement is low in comparison to a certain group of countries, known as “Green 7”, in the European Union. Environmental criteria is the fourth criterion in importance, but its weight in the global of the process is much lower than other criteria such as price, memory of the construction process and the delivery time. National administrations use environmental criteria more frequently because they have more resources and staff training about environmental issues. Environmental criteria are more used in the tendering of civil projects and works whose budget exceeds ten million euro due to the environmental impact of these kind and/or size of projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Smart Device Use and Perceived Physical and Psychosocial Outcomes among Hong Kong Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 205; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020205
Received: 27 November 2016 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
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Abstract
Excessive electronic screen-based activities have been found to be associated with negative outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalences and patterns of smart device activities and the purposes and perceived outcomes related to smart device use, and the differences
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Excessive electronic screen-based activities have been found to be associated with negative outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalences and patterns of smart device activities and the purposes and perceived outcomes related to smart device use, and the differences in patterns of smart device activities between adolescents who did and did not perceive these outcomes. The study was a cross-sectional survey of Hong Kong primary and secondary school students. Demographic characteristics, purpose and pattern of the activities, and frequencies of the outcomes were measured. Data from 960 adolescents aged 10–19 were analyzed. Nearly 86% of the sample use smart device daily. The one-week prevalence of perceived sleep deprivation, eye discomfort, musculoskeletal discomfort, family conflict and cyberbullying victimization related to smart device use were nearly 50%, 45%, 40%, 20% and 5% respectively. More than 25% of the respondents were at risk of negative outcomes related to smart device activities for more than 1 h per day, browsing and gaming on at least 4 days per week and watching TV/movies and posting on more than 2 days per week. Their patterns of smart device activities may put a significant number of them at risk of negative outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Maternal and Child Health)
Open AccessArticle An Increase in Consuming Adequately Iodized Salt May Not Be Enough to Rectify Iodine Deficiency in Pregnancy in an Iodine-Sufficient Area of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 206; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020206
Received: 5 January 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Universal salt iodization (USI) has been implemented for two decades in China. It is crucial to periodically monitor iodine status in the most vulnerable population, such as pregnant women. A cross-sectional study was carried out in an evidence-proved iodine-sufficient province to evaluate iodine
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Universal salt iodization (USI) has been implemented for two decades in China. It is crucial to periodically monitor iodine status in the most vulnerable population, such as pregnant women. A cross-sectional study was carried out in an evidence-proved iodine-sufficient province to evaluate iodine intake in pregnancy. According to the WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD recommendation criteria of adequate iodine intake in pregnancy (150–249 µg/L), the median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) of the total 8159 recruited pregnant women was 147.5 µg/L, which indicated pregnant women had iodine deficiency at the province level. Overall, 51.0% of the total study participants had iodine deficiency with a UIC < 150 µg/L and only 32.9% of them had adequate iodine. Participants living in coastal areas had iodine deficiency with a median UIC of 130.1 µg/L, while those in inland areas had marginally adequate iodine intake with a median UIC of 158.1 µg/L (p < 0.001). Among the total study participants, 450 pregnant women consuming non-iodized salt had mild-moderate iodine deficiency with a median UIC of 99.6 µg/L; 7363 pregnant women consuming adequately iodized salt had a lightly statistically higher median UIC of 151.9 µg/L, compared with the recommended adequate level by the WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD (p < 0.001). Consuming adequately iodized salt seemed to lightly increase the median UIC level, but it may not be enough to correct iodine nutrition status to an optimum level as recommended by the WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD. We therefore suggest that, besides strengthening USI policy, additional interventive measure may be needed to improve iodine intake in pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Particulate Matter Exposure and Surrounding “Greenness” on Chronic Absenteeism in Massachusetts Public Schools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 207; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020207
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 8 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Chronic absenteeism is associated with poorer academic performance and higher attrition in kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) schools. In prior research, students who were chronically absent generally had fewer employment opportunities and worse health after graduation. We examined the impact that environmental factors
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Chronic absenteeism is associated with poorer academic performance and higher attrition in kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) schools. In prior research, students who were chronically absent generally had fewer employment opportunities and worse health after graduation. We examined the impact that environmental factors surrounding schools have on chronic absenteeism. We estimated the greenness (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)) and fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) within 250 m and 1000 m respectively of each public school in Massachusetts during the 2012–2013 academic year using satellite-based data. We modeled chronic absenteeism rates in the same year as a function of PM2.5 and NDVI, controlling for race and household income. Among the 1772 public schools in Massachusetts, a 0.15 increase in NDVI during the academic year was associated with a 2.6% (p value < 0.0001) reduction in chronic absenteeism rates, and a 1 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 during the academic year was associated with a 1.58% (p value < 0.0001) increase in chronic absenteeism rates. Based on these percentage changes in chronic absenteeism, a 0.15 increase in NDVI and 1 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 correspond to 25,837 fewer students and 15,852 more students chronically absent each year in Massachusetts respectively. These environmental impacts on absenteeism reinforce the need to protect green spaces and reduce air pollution around schools. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Feasibility of Embedding Data Collection into the Routine Service Delivery of a Multi-Component Program for High-Risk Young People
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 208; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020208
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: There is little evidence about how to improve outcomes for high-risk young people, of whom Indigenous young people are disproportionately represented, due to few evaluation studies of interventions. One way to increase the evidence is to have researchers and service providers collaborate
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Background: There is little evidence about how to improve outcomes for high-risk young people, of whom Indigenous young people are disproportionately represented, due to few evaluation studies of interventions. One way to increase the evidence is to have researchers and service providers collaborate to embed evaluation into the routine delivery of services, so program delivery and evaluation occur simultaneously. This study aims to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating best-evidence measures into the routine data collection processes of a service for high-risk young people, and identify the number and nature of risk factors experienced by participants. Methods: The youth service is a rural based NGO comprised of multiple program components: (i) engagement activities; (ii) case management; (iii) diversionary activities; (iv) personal development; and (v) learning and skills. A best-evidence assessment tool was developed by staff and researchers and embedded into the service’s existing intake procedure. Assessment items were organised into demographic characteristics and four domains of risk: education and employment; health and wellbeing; substance use; and crime. Descriptive data are presented and summary risk variables were created for each domain of risk. A count of these summary variables represented the number of co-occurring risks experienced by each participant. The feasibility of this process was determined by the proportion of participants who completed the intake assessment and provided research consent. Results: This study shows 85% of participants completed the assessment tool demonstrating that data on participant risk factors can feasibly be collected by embedding a best-evidence assessment tool into the routine data collection processes of a service. The most prevalent risk factors were school absence, unemployment, suicide ideation, mental distress, substance use, low levels of physical activity, low health service utilisation, and involvement in crime or with the juvenile justice system. All but one participant experienced at least two co-occurring domains of risk, and the majority of participants (58%) experienced co-occurring risk across four domains. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that best-evidence measures can feasibly be embedded into the routine data collection processes of a service for high-risk young people. This process allows services to tailor their activities to the most prevalent risks experienced by participants, and monitor these risks over time. Replication of this process in other services would improve the quality of services, facilitate more high quality evaluations of services, and contribute evidence on how to improve outcomes for high-risk young people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Health)
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Open AccessArticle Optimistic Bias, Risk Factors, and Development of High Blood Pressure and Obesity among African American Adolescents in Mississippi (USA)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 209; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020209
Received: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions and is linked to hypertension among African American youth. Optimistic bias influences behavior of youth causing them to underestimate their susceptibility to negative health outcomes. This study explored adolescent behaviors and prevalence of high blood pressure and
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Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions and is linked to hypertension among African American youth. Optimistic bias influences behavior of youth causing them to underestimate their susceptibility to negative health outcomes. This study explored adolescent behaviors and prevalence of high blood pressure and obesity in a school district. We examined the relationship between individual health risk practices and optimistic bias on health outcomes; 433 African American high school students were administered a survey and had their obesity and blood pressure measured by the school nurse. Canonical correlational analyses were used to examine relationships between health risk practices and descriptive statistics for optimistic bias and health outcomes. Engaging in moderate exercise for at least 30 min in the last 7 days and lower blood pressure was the only statistically significant relationship. Two-thirds of the students did not perceive themselves to be at risk of developing cardiovascular disease with males at greater risk than females, despite the presence of clinical risk factors for hypertension and obesity. Reducing health optimistic bias is an effective way of motivating young people to adopt more positive behaviors using educational institutions to implement intervention programs that promote positive health behavior as a way to reduce health disparities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Association of Sleep Duration, Sleep Quality and Shift-Work Schedule in Relation to Hypertension Prevalence in Chinese Adult Males: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 210; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020210
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 5 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Previous studies indicated that measurement of sleep only by duration and quality may be biased. This study aimed to investigate the interactive association of self-reported sleep duration, quality and shift-work schedule with hypertension prevalence in Chinese adult males. Methods: A total of
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Background: Previous studies indicated that measurement of sleep only by duration and quality may be biased. This study aimed to investigate the interactive association of self-reported sleep duration, quality and shift-work schedule with hypertension prevalence in Chinese adult males. Methods: A total of 4519 Chinese adult males (≥18 years) were enrolled into the cross-sectional survey. Sleep attributes were measured from the responses to the standard Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and relevant questions in a structured questionnaire survey. The association of sleep duration, quality and shift-work schedule with hypertension prevalence was analyzed using multivariate logistic regression, considering the interaction between them or not. Results: Taking the potential interaction of the three aspects of sleep into consideration, only short sleep duration combined with poor sleep quality was found to be related to hypertension prevalence in Chinese adult males (odds ratio (OR): 1.74, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.31–2.31), which could be modified by occasional and frequent shift-work schedule (OR: 1.43, 95% CI: 1.05–1.95; OR: 1.97, 95% CI: 1.40–2.79). Conclusions: Short sleep duration was not associated with the prevalence of hypertension in Chinese adult males unless poor sleep quality exists, which could be further modified by shift-work schedule. Assessment of sleep by measuring sleep duration only was not sufficient when exploring the association of sleep with hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Basigin rs8259 Polymorphism Confers Decreased Risk of Chronic Heart Failure in a Chinese Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 211; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020211
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Left ventricular remodeling is an essential risk factor contributing to the pathogenesis of chronic heart failure (CHF). Basigin (BSG) promotes cardiovascular inflammation and myocardial remodeling processes by induction of extracellular matrix metalloproteinases and inflammatory cytokines. BSG rs8259 polymorphism was associated with BSG expression
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Left ventricular remodeling is an essential risk factor contributing to the pathogenesis of chronic heart failure (CHF). Basigin (BSG) promotes cardiovascular inflammation and myocardial remodeling processes by induction of extracellular matrix metalloproteinases and inflammatory cytokines. BSG rs8259 polymorphism was associated with BSG expression and risk of acute coronary syndrome. Therefore, we investigated whether rs8259 polymorphism contributes to risk and prognosis of CHF in Chinese patients. In total 922 adult patients with CHF and 1107 matched healthy controls were enrolled. BSG rs8259 polymorphism was genotyped using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Whole blood BSG mRNA expression data from Genotype-Tissue Expression project was accessed. Evaluation of follow-up data was performed in only 15.2% (140) of the patients with CHF. BSG rs8259 TT genotype was associated with a decreased risk of CHF (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.72–0.96, p = 0.010), especially in patients with hypertension (OR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.68–0.95, p = 0.011) and coronary heart disease (OR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.69–0.96, p = 0.013) after adjustment for multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Rs8259 T allele was associated with decreased BSG mRNA in whole blood from 338 healthy normal donors (p = 1.31 × 10−6). However, rs8259 polymorphism failed to exhibit an association with cardiovascular mortality (p = 0.283). BSG rs8259 polymorphism may contribute to decreased risk of CHF in a Chinese Han population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Vulnerability of People to Landslides: A Case Study on the Relationship between the Casualties and Volume of Landslides in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 212; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020212
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
The lack of a detailed landslide inventory makes research on the vulnerability of people to landslides highly limited. In this paper, the authors collect information on the landslides that have caused casualties in China, and established the Landslides Casualties Inventory of China.
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The lack of a detailed landslide inventory makes research on the vulnerability of people to landslides highly limited. In this paper, the authors collect information on the landslides that have caused casualties in China, and established the Landslides Casualties Inventory of China. 100 landslide cases from 2003 to 2012 were utilized to develop an empirical relationship between the volume of a landslide event and the casualties caused by the occurrence of the event. The error bars were used to describe the uncertainty of casualties resulting from landslides and to establish a threshold curve of casualties caused by landslides in China. The threshold curve was then applied to the landslide cases occurred in 2013 and 2014. The validation results show that the estimated casualties of the threshold curve were in good agreement with the real casualties with a small deviation. Therefore, the threshold curve can be used for estimating potential casualties and landslide vulnerability, which is meaningful for emergency rescue operations after landslides occurred and for risk assessment research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of Carbonic Anhydrase 9 in the Alimentary Canal of Aedes aegypti and Its Relationship to Homologous Mosquito Carbonic Anhydrases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 213; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020213
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
In the mosquito midgut, luminal pH regulation and cellular ion transport processes are important for the digestion of food and maintenance of cellular homeostasis. pH regulation in the mosquito gut is affected by the vectorial movement of the principal ions including bicarbonate/carbonate and
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In the mosquito midgut, luminal pH regulation and cellular ion transport processes are important for the digestion of food and maintenance of cellular homeostasis. pH regulation in the mosquito gut is affected by the vectorial movement of the principal ions including bicarbonate/carbonate and protons. As in all metazoans, mosquitoes employ the product of aerobic metabolism carbon dioxide in its bicarbonate/carbonate form as one of the major buffers of cellular and extracellular pH. The conversion of metabolic carbon dioxide to bicarbonate/carbonate is accomplished by a family of enzymes encoded by the carbonic anhydrase gene family. This study characterizes Aedes aegypti carbonic anhydrases using bioinformatic, molecular, and immunohistochemical methods. Our analyses show that there are fourteen Aedes aegypti carbonic anhydrase genes, two of which are expressed as splice variants. The carbonic anhydrases were classified as either integral membrane, peripheral membrane, mitochondrial, secreted, or soluble cytoplasmic proteins. Using polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting, one of the carbonic anhydrases, Aedes aegypti carbonic anhydrase 9, was analyzed and found in each life stage, male/female pupae, male/female adults, and in the female posterior midgut. Next, carbonic anhydrase 9 was analyzed in larvae and adults using confocal microscopy and was detected in the midgut regions. According to our analyses, carbonic anhydrase 9 is a soluble cytoplasmic enzyme found in the alimentary canal of larvae and adults and is expressed throughout the life cycle of the mosquito. Based on previous physiological analyses of adults and larvae, it appears AeCA9 is one of the major carbonic anhydrases involved in producing bicarbonate/carbonate which is involved in pH regulation and ion transport processes in the alimentary canal. Detailed understanding of the molecular bases of ion homeostasis in mosquitoes will provide targets for novel mosquito control strategies into the new millennium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mosquito Control Innovations into The 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle Urban Pollutant Transport and Infiltration into Buildings Using Perfluorocarbon Tracers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 214; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020214
Received: 9 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
People spend the majority of their time indoors and therefore the quality of indoor air is worthy of investigation; indoor air quality is affected by indoor sources of pollutants and from pollutants entering buildings from outdoors. In this study, unique perfluorocarbon tracers were
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People spend the majority of their time indoors and therefore the quality of indoor air is worthy of investigation; indoor air quality is affected by indoor sources of pollutants and from pollutants entering buildings from outdoors. In this study, unique perfluorocarbon tracers were released in five experiments at a 100 m and ~2 km distance from a large university building in Manchester, UK and tracer was also released inside the building to measure the amount of outdoor material penetrating into buildings and the flow of material within the building itself. Air samples of the tracer were taken in several rooms within the building, and a CO2 tracer was used within the building to estimate air-exchange rates. Air-exchange rates were found to vary between 0.57 and 10.90 per hour. Indoor perfluorocarbon tracer concentrations were paired to outdoor tracer concentrations, and in-out ratios were found to vary between 0.01 and 3.6. The largest room with the lowest air-exchange rate exhibited elevated tracer concentrations for over 60 min after the release had finished, but generally had the lowest concentrations, the room with the highest ventilation rates had the highest concentration over 30 min, but the peak decayed more rapidly. Tracer concentrations indoors compared to outdoors imply that pollutants remain within buildings after they have cleared outside, which must be considered when evaluating human exposure to outdoor pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle Removal Capacities of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) by a Newly Isolated Strain from Oilfield Produced Water
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 215; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020215
Received: 27 October 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading strain Q8 was isolated from oilfield produced water. According to the analysis of a biochemical test, 16S rRNA gene, house-keeping genes and DNA–DNA hybridization, strain Q8 was assigned to a novel species of the genus Gordonia. The
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The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading strain Q8 was isolated from oilfield produced water. According to the analysis of a biochemical test, 16S rRNA gene, house-keeping genes and DNA–DNA hybridization, strain Q8 was assigned to a novel species of the genus Gordonia. The strain could not only grow in mineral salt medium (MM) and utilize naphthalene and pyrene as its sole carbon source, but also degraded mixed naphthalene, phenanthrene, anthracene and pyrene. The degradation ratio of these four PAHs reached 100%, 95.4%, 73.8% and 53.4% respectively after being degraded by Q8 for seven days. A comparative experiment found that the PAHs degradation efficiency of Q8 is higher than that of Gordonia alkaliphila and Gordonia paraffinivorans, which have the capacities to remove PAHs. Fourier transform infrared spectra, saturate, aromatic, resin and asphaltene (SARA) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis of crude oil degraded by Q8 were also studied. The results showed that Q8 could utilize n-alkanes and PAHs in crude oil. The relative proportions of the naphthalene series, phenanthrene series, thiophene series, fluorene series, chrysene series, C21-triaromatic steroid, pyrene, and benz(a)pyrene were reduced after being degraded by Q8. Gordonia sp. nov. Q8 had the capacity to remediate water and soil environments contaminated by PAHs or crude oil, and provided a feasible way for the bioremediation of PAHs and oil pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle DNA Methylation Status of PAX1 and ZNF582 in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 216; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020216
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Hypermethylation of specific gene promoters is an important mechanism of carcinogenesis. A high frequency of promoter methylation of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes has been detected in cervical cancer. In the present study, we investigated the methylation status of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes in
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Hypermethylation of specific gene promoters is an important mechanism of carcinogenesis. A high frequency of promoter methylation of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes has been detected in cervical cancer. In the present study, we investigated the methylation status of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) tissues. Tumor and paracancerous tissues were obtained from 14 ESCC patients. Genomic DNA was extracted from both tumor and paracancerous tissues, and the concentration of DNA were determined. DNA methylation analysis of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes was carried out using quantitative methylation-specific PCR. To assess the diagnostic performance of the two methylated genes for cancer detection, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated. Sensitivities and specificities were tested at cut-offs obtained from the ROC curves. The methylation levels of both PAX1 and ZNF582 genes were significantly higher in tumor tissues compared to non-tumor paracancerous tissues. The methylation rates of PAX1 and ZNF582 in ESCC tumor and paracancerous tissues were 100% and 21.4% (p = 0.006), 85.7% and 0% (p < 0.001), respectively. The sensitivities and specificities of PAX1 and ZNF582 methylation for the detection of cancer were 100% and 85.7%, and 78.6% and 100%, respectively. The DNA methylation levels and frequencies of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes were markedly higher in ESCC tumor tissues compared to those in paracancerous tissues. Moreover, the conclusions were verified by using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets. DNA methylation status of these two genes showed a relatively good sensitivity and specificity for the detection of ESCC tumors. This data suggests that DNA methylation testing holds a great promise for ESCC screening and warrants further prospective population-based studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Influenza Epidemiological and Virological Characteristics between Outpatients and Inpatients in Zhejiang Province, China, March 2011–June 2015
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 217; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020217
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 19 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Given the rapid rate of global spread and consequently healthcare costs related to influenza, surveillance plays an important role in monitoring the emerging pandemics in China. However, the characteristics of influenza in Southeast of China haven’t been fully studied. Our study use the
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Given the rapid rate of global spread and consequently healthcare costs related to influenza, surveillance plays an important role in monitoring the emerging pandemics in China. However, the characteristics of influenza in Southeast of China haven’t been fully studied. Our study use the surveillance data collected from 16 sentinel hospitals across Zhejiang Province during March 2011 through June 2015, including the demographic information and respiratory specimens from influenza-like illness (ILI) patients and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) patients. As analysis results, most SARI and ILI patients were in the age group of 0–4 years old (62.38% of ILI and 71.54% of SARI). The respiratory specimens have statistically significantly higher positive rate for influenza among ILI patients than that among SARI patients (p < 0.001). The comparison between ILI patients and SARI patients shows no statistically significantly difference in detecting influenza virus type and influenza A virus subtype. The SARI and ILI patients were found to be positively correlated for overall positive rate (r = 0.63, p < 0.001), the weekly percentage of A(H1N1)pdm09 (r = 0.51, p < 0.001), influenza B virus (r = 0.17, p = 0.013), and A/H3N2 (r = 0.43, p < 0.001) among all the positive numbers. Our study demonstrated that the activities of influenza virus, including its subtypes, had a similar temporal pattern between ILI and SARI cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessReview Malpighian Tubules as Novel Targets for Mosquito Control
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 111; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020111
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 22 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
The Malpighian tubules and hindgut are the renal excretory tissues of mosquitoes; they are essential to maintaining hemolymph water and solute homeostasis. Moreover, they make important contributions to detoxifying metabolic wastes and xenobiotics in the hemolymph. We have focused on elucidating the molecular
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The Malpighian tubules and hindgut are the renal excretory tissues of mosquitoes; they are essential to maintaining hemolymph water and solute homeostasis. Moreover, they make important contributions to detoxifying metabolic wastes and xenobiotics in the hemolymph. We have focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of Malpighian tubule function in adult female mosquitoes and developing chemical tools as prototypes for next-generation mosquitocides that would act via a novel mechanism of action (i.e., renal failure). To date, we have targeted inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels expressed in the Malpighian tubules of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti and malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Inhibition of these channels with small molecules inhibits transepithelial K+ and fluid secretion in Malpighian tubules, leading to a disruption of hemolymph K+ and fluid homeostasis in adult female mosquitoes. In addition, we have used next-generation sequencing to characterize the transcriptome of Malpighian tubules in the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus, before and after blood meals, to reveal new molecular targets for potentially disrupting Malpighian tubule function. Within 24 h after a blood meal, the Malpighian tubules enhance the mRNA expression of genes encoding mechanisms involved with the detoxification of metabolic wastes produced during blood digestion (e.g., heme, NH3, reactive oxygen species). The development of chemical tools targeting these molecular mechanisms in Malpighian tubules may offer a promising avenue for the development of mosquitocides that are highly-selective against hematophagous females, which are the only life stage that transmits pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mosquito Control Innovations into The 21st Century)
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Open AccessReview Current and Future Repellent Technologies: The Potential of Spatial Repellents and Their Place in Mosquito-Borne Disease Control
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 124; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020124
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 22 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
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Abstract
Every year, approximately 700,000 people die from complications associated with etiologic disease agents transmitted by mosquitoes. While insecticide-based vector control strategies are important for the management of mosquito-borne diseases, insecticide-resistance and other logistical hurdles may lower the efficacy of this approach, especially in
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Every year, approximately 700,000 people die from complications associated with etiologic disease agents transmitted by mosquitoes. While insecticide-based vector control strategies are important for the management of mosquito-borne diseases, insecticide-resistance and other logistical hurdles may lower the efficacy of this approach, especially in developing countries. Repellent technologies represent another fundamental aspect of preventing mosquito-borne disease transmission. Among these technologies, spatial repellents are promising alternatives to the currently utilized contact repellents and may significantly aid in the prevention of mosquito-borne disease if properly incorporated into integrated pest management approaches. As their deployment would not rely on prohibitively expensive or impractical novel accessory technologies and resources, they have potential utility in developing countries where the burden of mosquito-borne disease is most prevalent. This review aims to describe the history of various repellent technologies, highlight the potential of repellent technologies in preventing the spread of mosquito-borne disease, and discuss currently known mechanisms that confer resistance to current contact and spatial repellents, which may lead to the failures of these repellents. In the subsequent section, current and future research projects aimed at exploring long-lasting non-pyrethroid spatial repellent molecules along with new paradigms and rationale for their development will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mosquito Control Innovations into The 21st Century)
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Open AccessReview 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Status and Risk for Colorectal Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Epidemiological Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 127; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020127
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
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Abstract
Epidemiological evidence suggests an association between low vitamin D status and risk for various outcomes including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Analyzing serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is the most established means to evaluate an individual’s vitamin D status. However,
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Epidemiological evidence suggests an association between low vitamin D status and risk for various outcomes including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Analyzing serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is the most established means to evaluate an individual’s vitamin D status. However, cutoff values for 25(OH)D insufficiency as well as for optimal 25(OH)D levels are controversial. This systematic review critically summarizes the epidemiological evidence regarding 25(OH)D levels and the risk for colorectal cancer and T2DM. The meta-analytical calculation revealed a pooled relative risk (RR) of 0.62 (CI 0.56–0.70; I2 = 14.7%) for colorectal cancer and an RR of 0.66 (CI 0.61–0.73; I2 = 38.6%) for T2DM when comparing individuals with the highest category of 25(OH)D with those in the lowest. A dose–response analysis showed an inverse association between 25(OH)D levels and RR for both outcomes up to concentrations of about 55 ng/mL for colorectal cancer and about 65 ng/mL for T2DM. At still higher 25(OH)D levels the RR increases slightly, consistent with a U-shaped association. In conclusion, a higher 25(OH)D status is associated with a lower risk for colorectal cancer and T2DM; however, this advantage is gradually lost as levels increase beyond 50–60 ng/mL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UV-Radiation: From Physics to Impacts)
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Open AccessReview Toward a More Sustainable Trajectory for E-Waste Policy: A Review of a Decade of E-Waste Research in Accra, Ghana
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 135; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020135
Received: 11 October 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
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Abstract
Global flows of e-waste from the Global North to the Global South continue to damage local environments and harm human health. Weak e-waste regulations and limited use of safety measures for e-waste workers in Accra, Ghana, foster an exploitative environment within the industry,
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Global flows of e-waste from the Global North to the Global South continue to damage local environments and harm human health. Weak e-waste regulations and limited use of safety measures for e-waste workers in Accra, Ghana, foster an exploitative environment within the industry, and pose health risks for those working and living near e-waste processing sites. This paper presents an integrated review of over 40 e-waste studies specific to Accra, with particular emphasis on the well-studied e-waste processing site in Agbogbloshie, and synthesizes the existing research base across interdisciplinary themes of human health, environmental health, globalization, trade and informalization, and public policy. Despite significant international attention to Accra’s e-waste problem, loopholes within international environmental regulations and treaties provide few incentives and resources for Ghana to strengthen protections for human and environmental health. After a decade of e-waste research in Accra, the crisis continues to intensify; we present a renewed vision for sustainable e-waste policy reform in Ghana and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessReview Improved Methods for Fire Risk Assessment in Low-Income and Informal Settlements
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 139; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020139
Received: 6 October 2016 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 1 February 2017
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Abstract
Fires cause over 300,000 deaths annually worldwide and leave millions more with permanent injuries: some 95% of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. Burn injury risk is strongly associated with low-income and informal (or slum) settlements, which are growing rapidly in
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Fires cause over 300,000 deaths annually worldwide and leave millions more with permanent injuries: some 95% of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. Burn injury risk is strongly associated with low-income and informal (or slum) settlements, which are growing rapidly in an urbanising world. Fire policy and mitigation strategies in poorer countries are constrained by inadequate data on incidence, impacts, and causes, which is mainly due to a lack of capacity and resources for data collection, analysis, and modelling. As a first step towards overcoming such challenges, this project reviewed the literature on the subject to assess the potential of a range of methods and tools for identifying, assessing, and addressing fire risk in low-income and informal settlements; the process was supported by an expert workshop at University College London in May 2016. We suggest that community-based risk and vulnerability assessment methods, which are widely used in disaster risk reduction, could be adapted to urban fire risk assessment, and could be enhanced by advances in crowdsourcing and citizen science for geospatial data creation and collection. To assist urban planners, emergency managers, and community organisations who are working in resource-constrained settings to identify and assess relevant fire risk factors, we also suggest an improved analytical framework based on the Haddon Matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessReview A Profile of Injuries Sustained by Law Enforcement Officers: A Critical Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 142; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020142
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 3 February 2017
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Abstract
Due to the unpredictable, varied and often physical nature of law enforcement duties, police officers are at a high risk of work-related physical injury. The aim of this critical narrative review was to identify and synthesize key findings of studies that have investigated
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Due to the unpredictable, varied and often physical nature of law enforcement duties, police officers are at a high risk of work-related physical injury. The aim of this critical narrative review was to identify and synthesize key findings of studies that have investigated musculoskeletal injuries sustained by law enforcement officers during occupational tasks. A systematic search of four databases using key search terms was conducted to identify potentially relevant studies, which were assessed against key inclusion and exclusion criteria to determine studies to be included in the review. Included studies were critically appraised and the level of evidence determined. Relevant data were extracted, tabulated and synthesized. The 16 identified studies ranged in percentage quality scores from 25.00% to 65.00%, with a mean score of 41.25% and high interrater agreement in scores reflected in a Cohen’s Kappa coefficient, κ = 0.977. The most common body site of injury was the upper extremity, the most common injury types were soft-tissue sprains and strains and the most common cause of injury was a non-compliant offender, often involving assault. However, there was limited peer reviewed research in this area and the published research had a narrow focus and was of low to fair methodological quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessReview A Review of Mercury Bioavailability in Humans and Fish
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 169; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020169
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 14 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
To estimate human exposure to methylmercury (MeHg), risk assessors often assume 95%–100% bioavailability in their models. However, recent research suggests that assuming all, or most, of the ingested mercury (Hg) is absorbed into systemic circulation may be erroneous. The objective of this paper
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To estimate human exposure to methylmercury (MeHg), risk assessors often assume 95%–100% bioavailability in their models. However, recent research suggests that assuming all, or most, of the ingested mercury (Hg) is absorbed into systemic circulation may be erroneous. The objective of this paper is to review and discuss the available state of knowledge concerning the assimilation or bioavailability of Hg in fish and humans. In fish, this meant reviewing studies on assimilation efficiency, that is the difference between ingested and excreted Hg over a given period of time. In humans, this meant reviewing studies that mostly investigated bioaccessibility (digestive processes) rather than bioavailability (cumulative digestive + absorptive processes), although studies incorporating absorption for a fuller picture of bioavailability were also included where possible. The outcome of this review shows that in a variety of organisms and experimental models that Hg bioavailability and assimilation is less than 100%. Specifically, 25 studies on fish were reviewed, and assimilation efficiencies ranged from 10% to 100% for MeHg and from 2% to 51% for Hg(II). For humans, 20 studies were reviewed with bioaccessibility estimates ranging from 2% to 100% for MeHg and 0.2% to 94% for Hg(II). The overall absorption estimates ranged from 12% to 79% for MeHg and 49% to 69% for Hg(II), and were consistently less than 100%. For both fish and humans, a number of cases are discussed in which factors (e.g., Hg source, cooking methods, nutrients) are shown to affect Hg bioavailability. The summaries presented here challenge a widely-held assumption in the Hg risk assessment field, and the paper discusses possible ways forward for the field. Full article
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Open AccessReview Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations in Urban Chinese Cities, 2005–2016: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 191; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020191
Received: 15 January 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 February 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Particulate matter pollution has become a growing health concern over the past few decades globally. The problem is especially evident in China, where particulate matter levels prior to 2013 are publically unavailable. We conducted a systematic review of scientific literature that
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Background: Particulate matter pollution has become a growing health concern over the past few decades globally. The problem is especially evident in China, where particulate matter levels prior to 2013 are publically unavailable. We conducted a systematic review of scientific literature that reported fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in different regions of China from 2005 to 2016. Methods: We searched for English articles in PubMed and Embase and for Chinese articles in the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI). We evaluated the studies overall and categorized the collected data into six geographical regions and three economic regions. Results: The mean (SD) PM2.5 concentration, weighted by the number of sampling days, was 60.64 (33.27) μg/m3 for all geographic regions and 71.99 (30.20) μg/m3 for all economic regions. A one-way ANOVA shows statistically significant differences in PM2.5 concentrations between the various geographic regions (F = 14.91, p < 0.0001) and the three economic regions (F = 4.55, p = 0.01). Conclusions: This review identifies quantifiable differences in fine particulate matter concentrations across regions of China. The highest levels of fine particulate matter were found in the northern and northwestern regions and especially Beijing. The high percentage of data points exceeding current federal regulation standards suggests that fine particulate matter pollution remains a huge problem for China. As pre-2013 emissions data remain largely unavailable, we hope that the data aggregated from this systematic review can be incorporated into current and future models for more accurate historical PM2.5 estimates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessCommentary Urban Place and Health Equity: Critical Issues and Practices
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 117; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020117
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 26 January 2017
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Abstract
Urban places and health equity are two of the most challenging concepts for 21st century environmental health. More people live in cities than at any other time in human history and health inequities are increasing. Health inequities are avoidable differences in the social,
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Urban places and health equity are two of the most challenging concepts for 21st century environmental health. More people live in cities than at any other time in human history and health inequities are increasing. Health inequities are avoidable differences in the social, environmental and political conditions that shape morbidity and mortality, and disproportionately burden the poor, racial, ethnic and religious minorities and migrants. By linking urban place and health inequities, research and action brings into sharp relief the challenges of achieving urban environmental justice. This article briefly reviews the complex definitions of urban places and how they can shape health equity in cities. I suggest that a more relational or integrated approach to defining urban places and acting on health equity can complement other approaches and improve the ability of public health to meet 21st century challenges. I close with suggestions for research and practice that might focus environmental public health on healthy urban place making. The practices include community driven map making, Health in All Policies (HiAP), promoting urban ecosystem services for health, and participatory and integrated approaches to urban slum upgrading. I conclude that if the global community is serious about the sustainable development goals (SDGs), greater attention must be paid to understanding and acting to improve urban places, living conditions and the social and economic conditions that can promote health equity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Place and Health Equity)
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Open AccessFeature PaperProject Report Similarities and Differences Matter: Considering the Influence of Gender on HIV Prevention Programs for Young Adults in an Urban HBCU
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 133; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020133
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 9 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
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Abstract
Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) disproportionately burdens African American youth and young adults. In studies conducted in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) settings, African American youth generally perceive themselves as having a low risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) disproportionately burdens African American youth and young adults. In studies conducted in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) settings, African American youth generally perceive themselves as having a low risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) despite having higher rates of unprotected sexual encounters, multiple sex partners, and particularly low rates of HIV testing and awareness of HIV status. These findings position HBCUs in a pivotal role for theory-based research and practice to modify behaviors in order to decrease HIV acquisition risk. Get Students Mobilized and Retooled to Transform (SMART) is an interventional research project in an urban HBCU in a northeastern metropolitan area in the US. The project is designed to assess and then address irresponsible behavior among students on college campuses that leads to illicit drug use, excessive alcohol consumption and underage drinking, and risky sexual behaviors that increase the likelihood of acquiring HIV and STDs. As gender plays a critical role in interventions, this article explores gender similarities and differences to inform the planning and implementation of Get SMART and any subsequent projects that address substance and alcohol use and HIV in an HBCU setting. Survey research was conducted to find similar and different factors that may be valuable in implementing and tailoring evidence-based interventions in a predominantly African American campus setting. Survey results revealed that more young adult women consume alcohol and use marijuana than young adult men. Young adult men were also more likely to be tested for HIV when compared to young adult women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Determinants of HIV, Substance Abuse and Addiction)
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Open AccessComment Comment on Mroczek et al. Evaluation of Quality of Life of Those Living near a Wind Farm. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 2015, 12, 6066–6083
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 140; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020140
Received: 14 July 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2016 / Published: 1 February 2017
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Abstract
An article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicated that, far from degrading health, noise from wind turbines may actually be associated with positive health outcomes. Such a finding is counter to that reported elsewhere for general and
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An article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicated that, far from degrading health, noise from wind turbines may actually be associated with positive health outcomes. Such a finding is counter to that reported elsewhere for general and wind turbine noise. This Commentary sets out to explore alternative explanations of these differences. Full article
Open AccessReply Response to Shepherd Comment on Mroczek et al. Evaluation of Quality of Life of Those Living Near a Wind Farm. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 2015, 12, 6066–6083
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 141; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020141
Received: 10 August 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2016 / Published: 1 February 2017
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Abstract
In response to the reservations, I would like to list the differences between the article [...]
Full article
Open AccessErratum Erratum: Wu, Z., et al. The Impact of Greenspace on Thermal Comfort in a Residential Quarter of Beijing, China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 1217
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 156; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020156
Received: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 7 February 2017
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(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessConcept Paper Thermophilic Fungi to Dominate Aflatoxigenic/Mycotoxigenic Fungi on Food under Global Warming
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 199; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020199
Received: 16 December 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
Certain filamentous fungi produce mycotoxins that contaminate food. Mycotoxin contamination of crops is highly influenced by environmental conditions and is already affected by global warming, where there is a succession of mycotoxigenic fungi towards those that have higher optimal growth temperatures. Aflatoxigenic fungi
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Certain filamentous fungi produce mycotoxins that contaminate food. Mycotoxin contamination of crops is highly influenced by environmental conditions and is already affected by global warming, where there is a succession of mycotoxigenic fungi towards those that have higher optimal growth temperatures. Aflatoxigenic fungi are at the highest limit of temperature although predicted increases in temperature are beyond that constraint. The present paper discusses what will succeed these fungi and represents the first such consideration. Aflatoxins are the most important mycotoxins and are common in tropical produce, much of which is exported to temperate regions. Hot countries may produce safer food under climate change because aflatoxigenic fungi will be inhibited. The same situation will occur in previously temperate regions where these fungi have recently appeared, although decades later. Existing thermotolerant and thermophilic fungi (TTF) will dominate, in contrast to the conventional mycotoxigenic fungi adapting or mutating, as it will be quicker. TTF produce a range of secondary metabolites, or potential mycotoxins and patulin which may become a new threat. In addition, Aspergillus fumigatus will appear more frequently, a serious human pathogen, because it is (a) thermotolerant and (b) present on crops: hence this is an even greater problem. An incubation temperature of 41 °C needs employing forthwith to detect TTF. Finally, TTF in crops requires study because of the potential for diseases in humans and animals under climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins in the Agri-Food Chain)

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