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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 14, Issue 7 (July 2017)

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Cover Story Lack of access to acceptable sanitation facilities can expose individuals, particularly women, to [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Legionella Air Contamination in Healthcare Facilities by Different Sampling Methods: An Italian Multicenter Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 670; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070670
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 22 June 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (927 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Healthcare facilities (HF) represent an at-risk environment for legionellosis transmission occurring after inhalation of contaminated aerosols. In general, the control of water is preferred to that of air because, to date, there are no standardized sampling protocols. Legionella air contamination was investigated in
[...] Read more.
Healthcare facilities (HF) represent an at-risk environment for legionellosis transmission occurring after inhalation of contaminated aerosols. In general, the control of water is preferred to that of air because, to date, there are no standardized sampling protocols. Legionella air contamination was investigated in the bathrooms of 11 HF by active sampling (Surface Air System and Coriolis®μ) and passive sampling using settling plates. During the 8-hour sampling, hot tap water was sampled three times. All air samples were evaluated using culture-based methods, whereas liquid samples collected using the Coriolis®μ were also analyzed by real-time PCR. Legionella presence in the air and water was then compared by sequence-based typing (SBT) methods. Air contamination was found in four HF (36.4%) by at least one of the culturable methods. The culturable investigation by Coriolis®μ did not yield Legionella in any enrolled HF. However, molecular investigation using Coriolis®μ resulted in eight HF testing positive for Legionella in the air. Comparison of Legionella air and water contamination indicated that Legionella water concentration could be predictive of its presence in the air. Furthermore, a molecular study of 12 L. pneumophila strains confirmed a match between the Legionella strains from air and water samples by SBT for three out of four HF that tested positive for Legionella by at least one of the culturable methods. Overall, our study shows that Legionella air detection cannot replace water sampling because the absence of microorganisms from the air does not necessarily represent their absence from water; nevertheless, air sampling may provide useful information for risk assessment. The liquid impingement technique appears to have the greatest capacity for collecting airborne Legionella if combined with molecular investigations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Why Do Children Engage in Sedentary Behavior? Child- and Parent-Perceived Determinants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 671; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070671
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 22 June 2017
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Abstract
Todays children spend a large amount of their time sedentary. There is limited evidence on the determinants of sedentary behavior in children, and qualitative studies are especially lacking. Therefore, this study aimed to explore determinants of children’s sedentary behavior from the child- and
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Todays children spend a large amount of their time sedentary. There is limited evidence on the determinants of sedentary behavior in children, and qualitative studies are especially lacking. Therefore, this study aimed to explore determinants of children’s sedentary behavior from the child- and parent perspective. Qualitative data were collected during concept mapping sessions with four groups of 11–13 years old children (n = 38) and two online sessions with parents (n = 21). Children and parents generated sedentary behavior motives, sorted related motives, and rated their importance in influencing children’s sedentary time. Next, multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis was performed to create clusters of motives resulting in a concept map. Finally, the researchers named the clusters in the concept map. Concept maps of children yielded eight to ten perceived determinants, and concept maps of parents six to seven. Children and parents identified six similar potential determinants, and both rated as important: Sitting because… “it is the norm (I have to)”, and “I can work/play better that way”. In addition, children rated “there is nobody to play with” as an important potential determinant for engaging in sedentary behavior. The most important child- and parent perceived determinants were related to the social/cultural and physical environment, indicating that these are promising targets for future interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Influences on Physical Activity Behaviours)
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Open AccessArticle Seasonal Differences in Determinants of Time Location Patterns in an Urban Population: A Large Population-Based Study in Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 672; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070672
Received: 11 May 2017 / Revised: 12 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 22 June 2017
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Abstract
Time location patterns are a significant factor for exposure assessment models of air pollutants. Factors associated with time location patterns in urban populations are typically due to high air pollution levels in urban areas. The objective of this study was to determine the
[...] Read more.
Time location patterns are a significant factor for exposure assessment models of air pollutants. Factors associated with time location patterns in urban populations are typically due to high air pollution levels in urban areas. The objective of this study was to determine the seasonal differences in time location patterns in two urban cities. A Time Use Survey of Korean Statistics (KOSTAT) was conducted in the summer, fall, and winter of 2014. Time location data from Seoul and Busan were collected, together with demographic information obtained by diaries and questionnaires. Determinants of the time spent at each location were analyzed by multiple linear regression and the stepwise method. Seoul and Busan participants had similar time location profiles over the three seasons. The time spent at own home, other locations, workplace/school and during walk were similar over the three seasons in both the Seoul and Busan participants. The most significant time location pattern factors were employment status, age, gender, monthly income, and spouse. Season affected the time spent at the workplace/school and other locations in the Seoul participants, but not in the Busan participants. The seasons affected each time location pattern of the urban population slightly differently, but overall there were few differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Socioeconomic Status and Health: A New Approach to the Measurement of Bivariate Inequality
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 673; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070673
Received: 11 April 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1046 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We suggest an alternative way to construct a family of indices of socioeconomic inequality of health. Our indices belong to the broad category of linear indices. In contrast to rank-dependent indices, which are defined in terms of the ranks of the socioeconomic variable
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We suggest an alternative way to construct a family of indices of socioeconomic inequality of health. Our indices belong to the broad category of linear indices. In contrast to rank-dependent indices, which are defined in terms of the ranks of the socioeconomic variable and the levels of the health variable, our indices are based on the levels of both the socioeconomic and the health variable. We also indicate how the indices can be modified in order to introduce sensitivity to inequality in the socioeconomic distribution and to inequality in the health distribution. As an empirical illustration, we make a comparative study of the relation between income and well-being in 16 European countries using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) Wave 4. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Services and Health Economics Research)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Sources and Patterns of Elemental Composition of PM2.5 at Three Low-Income Neighborhood Schools and Residences in Quito, Ecuador
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 674; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070674
Received: 9 May 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
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Abstract
Elemental characterization of fine particulate matter was undertaken at schools and residences in three low income neighborhoods in Quito, Ecuador. The three zones were located in the northern (Cotocollao), south central (El Camal), and south east (Los Chillos) neighborhoods and were classified as
[...] Read more.
Elemental characterization of fine particulate matter was undertaken at schools and residences in three low income neighborhoods in Quito, Ecuador. The three zones were located in the northern (Cotocollao), south central (El Camal), and south east (Los Chillos) neighborhoods and were classified as zones 1–3, respectively. Forty elements were quantified via ICP-MS analysis. Amongst the geogenic elements, the concentration of Si was the most abundant followed by S, Al, and Ca. Elements with predominantly anthropogenic sources such as Zn, V, and Ni were higher in zone 3 school followed by zone 2 and zone 1 schools. Enrichment factors were calculated to study the role of crustal sources in the elemental concentrations. Geogenic elements, except K, all had values <10 and anthropogenic elements such as Ni, V, Zn, Pb, As, Cr had >10. Principal Component Analysis suggested that Ni and V concentrations were strongly attributable to pet coke and heavy oil combustion. Strong associations between As and Pb could be attributed to traffic and other industrial emissions. Resuspended dust, soil erosion, vehicular emissions (tailpipe, brake and tire wear, and engine abrasion), pet coke, heavy oil combustion, and heavy industrial operations were major contributors to air pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Clonal Diversity of ESBL-Producing Escherichia coli Isolated from Environmental, Human and Food Samples
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 676; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070676
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 5 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
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Abstract
This study presents a comprehensive approach of a clonal diversity analysis of 448 Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli isolated from environmental, human and food samples in Spain. The phenotypic confirmation of ESBL production was performed by disc diffusion and microdilution methods, while Polymerase
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This study presents a comprehensive approach of a clonal diversity analysis of 448 Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli isolated from environmental, human and food samples in Spain. The phenotypic confirmation of ESBL production was performed by disc diffusion and microdilution methods, while Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and sequencing were used for the molecular characterization of β-lactamase genes (blaCTX-M, blaSHV, blaTEM, blaOXA). Clonal relationship of isolates was determined by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST). Multidrug resistant strains were present in all the studied niches, with percentages above 50.0%. The most prevalent β-lactamase genes were blaCTXM-14 (26%) and blaCTXM-1 (21.4%), followed by blaSHV-12, blaCTX-M-15 and blaTEM-42. MLST isolates were grouped into 26 clonal complexes (CC) and 177 different sequence types (ST) were detected. Despite the high clonal diversity observed, CC10 was the prevalent and the only CC detected in all niches, while other complexes as CC131 were mainly associated to human isolates. The observed prevalence and diversity of these resistant bacteria across the different environments encourages a One Health approach to prevent and control ESBL dissemination between environment and consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Benefits, Facilitators, Barriers, and Strategies to Improve Pesticide Protective Behaviors: Insights from Farmworkers in North Carolina Tobacco Fields
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 677; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070677
Received: 11 May 2017 / Revised: 12 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
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Abstract
Pesticide exposure is associated with deleterious health effects. Prior studies suggest Latino farmworkers perceive little control over their occupational health. Using the Health Belief Model as a theoretical guide, we explored the perceptions of Latino farmworkers working in tobacco in North Carolina (
[...] Read more.
Pesticide exposure is associated with deleterious health effects. Prior studies suggest Latino farmworkers perceive little control over their occupational health. Using the Health Belief Model as a theoretical guide, we explored the perceptions of Latino farmworkers working in tobacco in North Carolina (n = 72) about benefits and facilitators of pesticide protective behaviors as well as barriers, and strategies to overcome barriers to their use. Interviews were conducted with participants at farmworker housing during non-work time. Qualitative data were analyzed using ATLAS.ti. Farmworkers recognized pesticide protective behaviors as helping them to not get sick and stay healthy. Farmworkers perceived work experience as facilitating protective behaviors. Wetness in the field was the most commonly cited barrier to protective behavior use. To overcome this barrier, farmworkers suggested use of water-resistant outerwear, as well as packing a change of clothes for mid-day, with space and time to change provided by employers. Examination of the efficacy and feasibility of farmworkers’ suggestions for addressing barriers is warranted. Training and behavior modeling by experienced peers may improve behavior adoption and perceived control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Trace Element and Metal Accumulation and Edibility Risk Associated with Consumption of Labeo umbratus from the Vaal Dam, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 678; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070678
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 16 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
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Abstract
With the occurrence of recreational and small scale subsistence fishing activities at the Vaal Dam, South Africa, consumption of fish from this dam may result in health risks associated with trace elements and metals. The Vaal Dam is one of the largest dams
[...] Read more.
With the occurrence of recreational and small scale subsistence fishing activities at the Vaal Dam, South Africa, consumption of fish from this dam may result in health risks associated with trace elements and metals. The Vaal Dam is one of the largest dams in South Africa, located between the Gauteng Province and Orange Free State, and supplies water to approximately 11.6 million people. A total of 38 specimens of the benthic cyprinid fish Labeo umbratus were collected from the Vaal Dam during two surveys, in 2011 and 2016. Samples of muscle, liver, kidney, gill and spinal cord were analysed, along with sediment samples collected during the same surveys. Thirteen trace elements were analysed in the samples by Inductively Coupled Plasma–Optical Emission Spectrometry, Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometry, Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy and Total Reflection X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy. This is the first survey on trace element and Hg accumulation in this fish species from the Vaal Dam and target hazard quotients (THQ) indicated that there is a risk for consumers of fish for As and Hg (THQ = 1.43 and 1.14 respectively). Although levels of trace elements in this impoundment have shown little change for a number of years and are lower than global background levels, studies detailing the accumulation of metals by fish inhabiting the Vaal Dam have indicated that trace elements in muscle tissue are above food safety guidelines. Trace element levels in L. umbratus are lower compared to other species inhabiting the Vaal Dam and further indicate that risks for consumers can be decreased if humans relying on fish from the Vaal Dam preferentially consume this species over others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Vulnerability to Coccidioidomycosis in Arizona and California
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 680; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070680
Received: 9 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
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Abstract
Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection endemic to the southwestern United States, particularly Arizona and California. Its incidence has increased, potentially due in part to the effects of changing climatic variables on fungal growth and spore dissemination. This study aims to quantify the county-level
[...] Read more.
Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection endemic to the southwestern United States, particularly Arizona and California. Its incidence has increased, potentially due in part to the effects of changing climatic variables on fungal growth and spore dissemination. This study aims to quantify the county-level vulnerability to coccidioidomycosis in Arizona and California and to assess the relationships between population vulnerability and climate variability. The variables representing exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity were combined to calculate county level vulnerability indices. Three methods were used: (1) principal components analysis; (2) quartile weighting; and (3) percentile weighting. Two sets of indices, “unsupervised” and “supervised”, were created. Each index was correlated with coccidioidomycosis incidence data from 2000–2014. The supervised percentile index had the highest correlation; it was then correlated with variability measures for temperature, precipitation, and drought. The supervised percentile index was significantly correlated (p < 0.05) with coccidioidomycosis incidence in both states. Moderate, positive significant associations (p < 0.05) were found between index scores and climate variability when both states were concurrently analyzed and when California was analyzed separately. This research adds to the body of knowledge that could be used to target interventions to vulnerable counties and provides support for the hypothesis that population vulnerability to coccidioidomycosis is associated with climate variability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Biochar-Derived Sewage Sludge on Heavy Metal Adsorption and Immobilization in Soils
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 681; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070681
Received: 3 April 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The object of this study was to evaluate the effect of sewage sludge biochar on adsorption and mobility of Cr, Mn, Cu, and Zn. Biochar (BC400) was produced via pyrolysis of municipal sewage sludge at 400 °C. Maximum adsorption capacities (qm
[...] Read more.
The object of this study was to evaluate the effect of sewage sludge biochar on adsorption and mobility of Cr, Mn, Cu, and Zn. Biochar (BC400) was produced via pyrolysis of municipal sewage sludge at 400 °C. Maximum adsorption capacities (qm) for Zn, Cr, Mn, and Cu were 5.905, 5.724, 5.681, and 5.342 mg·g−1, respectively, in the mono-metal solution and 2.475, 8.204, 1.01, and 5.415 mg·g−1, respectively, in the multi-metal solution. The adsorption capacities for Mn, Cu, and Zn decreased in the multi-metal solution due to competitive adsorption, whereas the capacity for Cr increased. Surface precipitation is an important mechanism in the sorption of these metals on BC400. The 360-day incubation experiment showed that BC400 application reduced metal mobility in contaminated soils, which was attributed to the substantial decreases in the acid-soluble fractions of Cr, Mn, Cu, and Zn (72.20%, 70.38%, 50.43%, and 29.78%, respectively). Furthermore, the leaching experiment using simulated acid rain indicated that the addition of BC400 enhanced the acid buffer capacity of contaminated soil, and the concentration of Cr, Mn, Cu, and Zn in the leachate was lower than in untreated soil. Overall, this study indicates that sewage sludge biochar application reduces the mobility of heavy metal in co-contaminated soil, and this adsorption experiment is suitable for the evaluation of biochar properties for remediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Residential Proximity to Roadways and Ischemic Placental Disease in a Cape Cod Family Health Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 682; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070682
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
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Abstract
Exposure to air pollution may adversely impact placental function through a variety of mechanisms; however, epidemiologic studies have found mixed results. We examined the association between traffic exposure and placental-related obstetric conditions in a retrospective cohort study on Cape Cod, MA, USA. We
[...] Read more.
Exposure to air pollution may adversely impact placental function through a variety of mechanisms; however, epidemiologic studies have found mixed results. We examined the association between traffic exposure and placental-related obstetric conditions in a retrospective cohort study on Cape Cod, MA, USA. We assessed exposure to traffic using proximity metrics (distance of residence to major roadways and length of major roadways within a buffer around the residence). The outcomes included self-reported ischemic placental disease (the presence of at least one of the following conditions: preeclampsia, placental abruption, small-for-gestational-age), stillbirth, and vaginal bleeding. We used log-binomial regression models to estimate risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for potential confounders. We found no substantial association between traffic exposure and ischemic placental disease, small-for-gestational-age, preeclampsia, or vaginal bleeding. We found some evidence of an increased risk of stillbirth and placental abruption among women living the closest to major roadways (RRs comparing living <100 m vs. ≥200 m = 1.75 (95% CI: 0.82–3.76) and 1.71 (95% CI: 0.56–5.23), respectively). This study provides some support for the hypothesis that air pollution exposure adversely affects the risk of placental abruption and stillbirth; however, the results were imprecise due to the small number of cases, and may be impacted by non-differential exposure misclassification and selection bias. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Efficacy of Dog Assisted Therapy in Detained Drug Users: A Pilot Study in an Italian Attenuated Custody Institute
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 683; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070683
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
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Abstract
Drug addiction is a major care and safety challenge in prison context. Nowadays, rehabilitation and specific therapeutic programs are suggested to improve health and well-being of inmates during their detention time and to reduce substance abuse relapse after release from prison. Among these
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Drug addiction is a major care and safety challenge in prison context. Nowadays, rehabilitation and specific therapeutic programs are suggested to improve health and well-being of inmates during their detention time and to reduce substance abuse relapse after release from prison. Among these programs, several studies reported the benefits for inmates coming from animal assisted interventions. In this pilot controlled study, we investigated the efficacy of a dog assisted therapy program addressed to 22 drug addicted male inmates housed in an attenuated custody institute in Italy. The study lasted six months, the treated group (12 inmates) was involved once a week for one hour in 20 dog assisted therapy sessions, whereas the control group (10 inmates) followed the standard rehabilitation program. One week before the beginning and one week after the end of the sessions, all inmates involved were submitted to symptom checklist-90-revised and Kennedy axis V. Inmates involved in the dog assisted therapy sessions significantly improved their social skills, reducing craving, anxiety and depression symptoms compared to the control group. Despite the limitation due to the small number of inmates enrolled and to the absence of follow up, we found these results encouraging to the use of dog assisted therapy as co-therapy in drug addicted inmates rehabilitation programs, and we claim the need of more extensive study on this subject. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Assisted Interventions and Activities for Health and Wellbeing)
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Open AccessArticle Use of Vegetable Fibers for PRB to Remove Heavy Metals from Contaminated Aquifers—Comparisons among Cabuya Fibers, Broom Fibers and ZVI
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 684; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070684
Received: 19 April 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
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Abstract
The Zero Valent Iron (ZVI) is the material most commonly used for permeable reactive barriers (PRB). For technical and economic reasons, hoter reactive substances usable in alternative to ZVI are investigated. The present study takes into account a vegetable fibers, the cabuya, investigating
[...] Read more.
The Zero Valent Iron (ZVI) is the material most commonly used for permeable reactive barriers (PRB). For technical and economic reasons, hoter reactive substances usable in alternative to ZVI are investigated. The present study takes into account a vegetable fibers, the cabuya, investigating its capacity to retain heavy metals. The capacity of the cabuya fibers to adsorb heavy metals was verified in laboratory, by batch and column tests. The batch tests were carried out with cabuya and ZVI, using copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb). The results obtained by the cabuya fibers showed a very high adsorption capacity of heavy metals and resulted very similar to those obtained for the broom fibers in a previous study. The high value of the absorption capacity of the cabuya fibers was also confirmed by the analogous comparison made with the results of the batch tests carried out with ZVI. Column tests, using copper, zinc and cadmium, allowed to determine for the cabuya fibers the maximum removal percentage of the heavy metals considered, the corresponding times and the time ranges of the release phase. For each metal considered, for a given length and three different times, the constant of degradation of cabuya fibers was determined, obtaining values very close to those reported for broom fibers. The scalar behavior of heavy metal removal percentage was verified. An electron microscope analysis allowed to compare, by SEM images, the characteristics of the cabuya and broom fibers. Finally, to investigate the chemical structure of cabuya and broom fibers, the FTIR technique was used, obtaining their respective infrared spectra. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Wage Differentials between Heat-Exposure Risk and No Heat-Exposure Risk Groups
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 685; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070685
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
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Abstract
The goal of this study is to investigate the wage differential between groups of workers who are exposed to heat and those who are not. Workers in the heat-exposure risk group are defined as workers who work in conditions that cause them to
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The goal of this study is to investigate the wage differential between groups of workers who are exposed to heat and those who are not. Workers in the heat-exposure risk group are defined as workers who work in conditions that cause them to spend more than 25% of their work hours at high temperatures. To analyze the wage differential, the Blinder-Oaxaca and Juhn-Murphy-Pierce methods were applied to Korea Working Condition Survey data. The results show that the no heat-exposure risk group received higher wages. In most cases, this can be interpreted as the endowment effect of human capital. As a price effect that lowers the endowment effect, the compensating differential for the heat-exposure risk group was found to be 1%. Moreover, education level, work experience, and employment status counteracted the compensating differentials for heat-exposure risks. A comparison of data sets from 2011 and 2014 shows that the increasing wage gap between the two groups was not caused by systematic social discrimination factors. This study suggests that wage differential factors can be modified for thermal environmental risks that will change working conditions as the impact of climate change increases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health, Risk Analysis and Environmental Hazards)
Open AccessArticle Air Pollution Monitoring Design for Epidemiological Application in a Densely Populated City
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 686; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070686
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 25 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1420 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Introduction: Many studies have reported the association between air pollution and human health based on regulatory air pollution monitoring data. However, because regulatory monitoring networks were not designed for epidemiological studies, the collected data may not provide sufficient spatial contrasts for assessing
[...] Read more.
Introduction: Many studies have reported the association between air pollution and human health based on regulatory air pollution monitoring data. However, because regulatory monitoring networks were not designed for epidemiological studies, the collected data may not provide sufficient spatial contrasts for assessing such associations. Our goal was to develop a monitoring design supplementary to the regulatory monitoring network in Seoul, Korea. This design focused on the selection of 20 new monitoring sites to represent the variability in PM2.5 across people’s residences for cohort studies. Methods: We obtained hourly measurements of PM2.5 at 37 regulatory monitoring sites in 2010 in Seoul, and computed the annual average at each site. We also computed 313 geographic variables representing various pollution sources at the regulatory monitoring sites, 31,097 children’s homes from the Atopy Free School survey, and 412 community service centers in Seoul. These three types of locations represented current, subject, and candidate locations. Using the regulatory monitoring data, we performed forward variable selection and chose five variables most related to PM2.5. Then, k-means clustering was applied to categorize all locations into several groups representing a diversity in the spatial variability of the five selected variables. Finally, we computed the proportion of current to subject location in each cluster, and randomly selected new monitoring sites from candidate sites in the cluster with the minimum proportion until 20 sites were selected. Results: The five selected geographic variables were related to traffic or urbanicity with a cross-validated R2 value of 0.69. Clustering analysis categorized all locations into nine clusters. Finally, one to eight new monitoring sites were selected from five clusters. Discussion: The proposed monitoring design will help future studies determine the locations of new monitoring sites representing spatial variability across residences for epidemiological analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Children with Physical Disabilities at School and Home: Physical Activity and Contextual Characteristics
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 687; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070687
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 25 June 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to assess the physical activity (PA) of children with physical disabilities (PD) in school and home settings and to simultaneously examine selected contextual characteristics in relation to PA in those settings. Children with PD (N = 35;
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The purpose of this study was to assess the physical activity (PA) of children with physical disabilities (PD) in school and home settings and to simultaneously examine selected contextual characteristics in relation to PA in those settings. Children with PD (N = 35; Mean age = 15.67 ± 4.30 years; 26 boys) were systematically observed using BEACHES (Behaviors of Eating and Activity for Children’s Health: Evaluation System) at school (before school, recess, lunch break, after class) and at home (before dinner) during four normal school days. The children spent most of their time in all five settings being physically inactive, but had slightly more PA during recess and lunch break periods. Hierarchical multiple regression revealed that selected contextual characteristics explained 18.9–56.0% (p < 0.01) of the variance predicting moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) after controlling for demographic variables. Prompts to be active were positively associated with MVPA at school and the presence of fathers and fathers being motivators at home. This study highlights how little PA that children with PD receive and identifies the importance of the provision of prompts for PA at both school and home with this special population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle Sowing Seeds for Healthier Diets: Children’s Perspectives on School Gardening
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 688; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070688
Received: 8 May 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 25 June 2017
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Abstract
School gardening programmes are among the most promising interventions to improve children’s vegetable intake. Yet, low vegetable intake among children remains a persistent public health challenge. This study aimed to explore children’s perspectives, experiences, and motivations concerning school gardening in order to better
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School gardening programmes are among the most promising interventions to improve children’s vegetable intake. Yet, low vegetable intake among children remains a persistent public health challenge. This study aimed to explore children’s perspectives, experiences, and motivations concerning school gardening in order to better understand and increase its potential for health promotion. Using participant observation and semi-structured interviews, we provided 45 primary schoolchildren (9–10 years) from Amsterdam, who participated in a comprehensive year-round school gardening programme, the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas on school gardening. Children particularly expressed enjoyment of the outdoor gardening portion of the programme as it enabled them to be physically active and independently nurture their gardens. Harvesting was the children’s favourite activity, followed by planting and sowing. In contrast, insufficient gardening time and long explanations or instructions were especially disliked. Experiencing fun and enjoyment appeared to play a vital role in children’s motivation to actively participate. Children’s suggestions for programme improvements included more autonomy and opportunities for experimentation, and competition elements to increase fun and variety. Our results indicate that gaining insight into children’s perspectives allows matching school gardening programmes more to children’s wishes and expectations, thereby potentially enhancing their intrinsic motivation for gardening and vegetable consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Industrial Antimony Exposure and Immunologic Function for Workers in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 689; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070689
Received: 7 May 2017 / Revised: 24 June 2017 / Accepted: 25 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
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Abstract
This study investigated antimony exposure among employees in industries in Taiwan and evaluated whether their immunologic markers were associated with antimony exposure. We recruited 91 male workers and 42 male office administrators from 2 glass manufacturing plants, 1 antimony trioxide manufacturing plants, and
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This study investigated antimony exposure among employees in industries in Taiwan and evaluated whether their immunologic markers were associated with antimony exposure. We recruited 91 male workers and 42 male office administrators from 2 glass manufacturing plants, 1 antimony trioxide manufacturing plants, and 2 engineering plastic manufacturing plants. Air samples were collected at worksites and administrative offices, and each participant provided specimens of urine, blood, and hair to assay antimony levels. We also determined white blood cells, lymphocyte, and monocyte, IgA, IgE, and IgG in blood specimens. The mean antimony concentration in the air measured at worksites was much higher in the antimony trioxide plant (2.51 ± 0.57 mg/m3) than in plastic plants (0.21 ± 0.06 mg/m3) and glass plants (0.14 ± 0.01 mg/m3). Antimony levels in blood, urine, and hair measured for participants were correlated with worksites and were higher in workers than in administrators. The mean serum IgG, IgA, and IgE levels were lower in workers than in administrators (p < 0.001). Serum IgA and IgE levels in participants were negatively associated with antimony levels in air samples of workplaces, and in blood, urine, and hairs of participants. Serum IgG and IgE of all participants were also negatively associated with antimony levels in their hairs. In conclusion, the antimony exposure is greater for workers employed in the five industrial plants than for administrators. This study suggests serum IgG, IgA, and IgE levels are negatively associated with antimony exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Open AccessArticle An Intervention to Reduce Bicycle Injuries among Middle School Students in Rural China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 690; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070690
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 16 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
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Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention to reduce bicycle injuries among rural middle school students in China. A one-year cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted with seventh grade students from six middle schools in two towns in rural Chaoshan, China.
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This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention to reduce bicycle injuries among rural middle school students in China. A one-year cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted with seventh grade students from six middle schools in two towns in rural Chaoshan, China. The two towns were randomly assigned to either the intervention or control group. Road safety education materials, two lectures on road safety, and a series of health education activities were delivered to 1312 students in the intervention group over one year, and the content of the intervention included traffic safety knowledge, methods of preventing bicycle injury and management of bicycle injuries. Questionnaires weere administered to the two groups before and after the intervention to measure the incidence, cognitions, and behaviors related to bicycle injuries. The pre-intervention incidence of bicycle injuries exhibited no significant difference between the two groups, while the difference reached significance after the intervention (χ2 = 13.409, p < 0.001). In the intervention group, the incidence decreased significantly after the intervention (χ2 = 8.137, p = 0.004), while no significant change was observed in the control group. Publicity and education intervention measures have certain short-term effects on the prevention of bicycle injuries among rural middle school students; we should approach intervention measures according to the characteristics of traffic injuries in different areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Exposure to Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances and Health Outcomes in Children: A Systematic Review of the Epidemiologic Literature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 691; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070691
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals used to make products stain and stick resistant, have been linked to health effects in adults and adverse birth outcomes. A growing body of literature also addresses health effects in children exposed to PFAS. This review summarizes the epidemiologic
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Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals used to make products stain and stick resistant, have been linked to health effects in adults and adverse birth outcomes. A growing body of literature also addresses health effects in children exposed to PFAS. This review summarizes the epidemiologic evidence for relationships between prenatal and/or childhood exposure to PFAS and health outcomes in children as well as to provide a risk of bias analysis of the literature. A systematic review was performed by searching PubMed for studies on PFAS and child health outcomes. We identified 64 studies for inclusion and performed risk of bias analysis on those studies. We determined that risk of bias across studies was low to moderate. Six categories of health outcomes emerged. These were: immunity/infection/asthma, cardio-metabolic, neurodevelopmental/attention, thyroid, renal, and puberty onset. While there are a limited number of studies for any one particular health outcome, there is evidence for positive associations between PFAS and dyslipidemia, immunity (including vaccine response and asthma), renal function, and age at menarche. One finding of note is that while PFASs are mixtures of multiple compounds few studies examine them as such, therefore the role of these compounds as complex mixtures remains largely unknown. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Self-Reported Oil Spill Exposure and Pregnancy Complications: The GROWH Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 692; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070692
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
Adverse infant outcomes often rise in the aftermath of disaster, but few studies have assessed the effects of disaster on maternal health. 1091 southern Louisiana women were interviewed about their pregnancy history, including pregnancy complications. Associations between oil spill exposures and gestational diabetes,
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Adverse infant outcomes often rise in the aftermath of disaster, but few studies have assessed the effects of disaster on maternal health. 1091 southern Louisiana women were interviewed about their pregnancy history, including pregnancy complications. Associations between oil spill exposures and gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders, and nausea/vomiting were assessed for all reported pregnancies. 631 women had a pregnancy both before and after the oil spill. Generalized estimating equations (logistic regression) with adjustment for confounders were used. To assess possible unmeasured confounding, instead of considering oil spill exposure as a time-varying exposure, women were defined as oil spill-exposed or not. If oil spill-exposed women were equally prone to complications in pregnancies that occurred prior to the oil spill as after it, it was considered that any associations were likely due to selection or reporting issues. Women who reported oil spill exposure, particularly loss of use of the coast, were more likely to report gestational diabetes; however, the level of association was similar for pregnancies before and after the spill (p for interaction >0.10 and odds ratios (ORs) for pregnancies prior to the spill > than those after the spill). No associations were found between oil spill exposure and hypertensive disorders. This analysis does not suggest an increased risk of pregnancy complications associated with exposure to the oil spill; however, future studies should assess exposure and outcomes prospectively and clinically instead of relying on self-report. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Maternal and Child Health)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Approach for the Environmental Characterization of a Wide Potentially Contaminated Area in Southern Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 693; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070693
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper deals with the environmental characterization of a large and densely populated area, with a poor reputation for contamination, considering the contribution of environmental features (air, soil, soil hydraulic and groundwater) and the potential effects on human health. The use of Geographic
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This paper deals with the environmental characterization of a large and densely populated area, with a poor reputation for contamination, considering the contribution of environmental features (air, soil, soil hydraulic and groundwater) and the potential effects on human health. The use of Geographic Information System (GIS) has made possible a georeferenced inventory and, by overlaying environmental information, an operational synthesis of comprehensive environmental conditions. The cumulative effects on environmental features were evaluated, taking into account superposition effects, by means of the Spatial MultiCriteria Decision Analysis (S-MCDA). The application of the S-MCDA for converging the combination of heterogeneous factors, related to soil, land and water, deeply studied by heterogeneous groups of experts, constitutes the novelty of the paper. The results confirmed an overall higher potential of exposure to contaminants in the environment and higher mortality rates in the study area for some tumours, but hospital admissions for tumours were generally similar to the regional trend. Besides, mortality data may be strictly dependent on the poor socioeconomic conditions, quality of therapy and a lack of welfare in the area relative to the rest of Italy. Finally, as regards the possible relationship between presence of contaminants in the environment and health conditions of the population no definite conclusions can be drawn, although the present study encourages the use of the new proposed methods, that increase the possibilities for studying the combined effect of more environmental factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of a Nickel-Copper Smelter on Concentrations of Toxic Elements in Local Wild Food from the Norwegian, Finnish, and Russian Border Regions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 694; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070694
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 22 June 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 28 June 2017
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Abstract
Toxic elements emitted from the Pechenganickel complex on the Kola Peninsula have caused concern about potential effects on local wild food in the border regions between Norway, Finland and Russia. The aim of this study was to assess Ni, Cu, Co, As, Pb,
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Toxic elements emitted from the Pechenganickel complex on the Kola Peninsula have caused concern about potential effects on local wild food in the border regions between Norway, Finland and Russia. The aim of this study was to assess Ni, Cu, Co, As, Pb, Cd, and Hg concentrations in local wild foods from these border regions. During 2013–2014, we collected samples of different berry, mushroom, fish, and game species from sites at varying distances from the Ni-Cu smelter in all three border regions. Our results indicate that the Ni-Cu smelter is the main source of Ni, Co, and As in local wild foods, whereas the sources of Pb and Cd are more complex. We observed no consistent trends for Cu, one of the main toxic elements emitted by the Ni-Cu smelter; nor did we find any trend for Hg in wild food. Concentrations of all investigated toxic elements were highest in mushrooms, except for Hg, which was highest in fish. EU maximum levels of Pb, Cd, and Hg were exceeded in some samples, but most had levels considered safe for human consumption. No international thresholds exist for the other elements under study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Contrasting Eutrophication Risks and Countermeasures in Different Water Bodies: Assessments to Support Targeted Watershed Management
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 695; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070695
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 25 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
Eutrophication is a major problem in China. To combat this issue, the country needs to establish water quality targets, monitoring systems, and intelligent watershed management. This study explores a new watershed management method. Water quality is first assessed using a single factor index
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Eutrophication is a major problem in China. To combat this issue, the country needs to establish water quality targets, monitoring systems, and intelligent watershed management. This study explores a new watershed management method. Water quality is first assessed using a single factor index method. Then, changes in total nitrogen/total phosphorus (TN/TP) are analyzed to determine the limiting factor. Next, the study compares the eutrophication status of two water function districts, using a comprehensive nutritional state index method and geographic information system (GIS) visualization. Finally, nutrient sources are qualitatively analyzed. Two functional water areas in Tianjin, China were selected and analyzed: Qilihai National Wetland Nature Reserve and Yuqiao Reservoir. The reservoir is a drinking water source. Results indicate that total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) pollution are the main factors driving eutrophication in the Qilihai Wetland and Yuqiao Reservoir. Phosphorus was the limiting factor in the Yuqiao Reservoir; nitrogen was the limiting factor in the Qilihai Wetland. Pollution in Qilihai Wetland is more serious than in Yuqiao Reservoir. The study found that external sources are the main source of pollution. These two functional water areas are vital for Tianjin; as such, the study proposes targeted management measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Nutrition Transition and Biocultural Determinants of Obesity among Cameroonian Migrants in Urban Cameroon and France
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 696; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070696
Received: 27 January 2017 / Revised: 7 April 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
Native of rural West Cameroon, the Bamiléké population is traditionally predisposed to obesity. Bamiléké who migrated to urban areas additionally experience the nutrition transition. We investigated the biocultural determinants of obesity in Bamiléké who migrated to urban Cameroon (Yaoundé), or urban France (Paris).
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Native of rural West Cameroon, the Bamiléké population is traditionally predisposed to obesity. Bamiléké who migrated to urban areas additionally experience the nutrition transition. We investigated the biocultural determinants of obesity in Bamiléké who migrated to urban Cameroon (Yaoundé), or urban France (Paris). We conducted qualitative interviews (n = 36; 18 men) and a quantitative survey (n = 627; 266 men) of adults using two-stage sampling strategy, to determine the association of dietary intake, physical activity and body weight norms with obesity of Bamiléké populations in these three socio-ecological areas (rural Cameroon: n = 258; urban Cameroon: n = 319; urban France: n = 50). The Bamiléké valued overweight and traditional energy-dense diets in rural and urban Cameroon. Physical activity levels were lower, consumption of processed energy-dense food was frequent and obesity levels higher in new migrants living in urban Cameroon and France. Female sex, age, duration of residence in urban areas, lower physical activity and valorisation of overweight were independently associated with obesity status. This work argues in favour of local and global health policies that account for the origin and the migration trajectories to prevent obesity in migrants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Road Environments: Impact of Metals on Human Health in Heavily Congested Cities of Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 697; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070697
Received: 14 June 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
Road dust as a by-product of exhaust and non-exhaust emissions can be a major cause of systemic oxidative stress and multiple disorders. Substantial amounts of road dust are repeatedly resuspended, in particular at traffic lights and junctions where more braking is involved, causing
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Road dust as a by-product of exhaust and non-exhaust emissions can be a major cause of systemic oxidative stress and multiple disorders. Substantial amounts of road dust are repeatedly resuspended, in particular at traffic lights and junctions where more braking is involved, causing potential threat to pedestrians, especially children. In order to determine the degree of contamination in the heavily traffic-congested cities of Poland, a total of 148 samples of road dust (RD), sludge from storm drains (SL) and roadside soil (RS) were collected. Sixteen metals were analysed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) in all samples. Chemical evaluation followed by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) revealed that road environments have been severely contaminated with traffic-related elements. Concentration of copper in all road-environment samples is even higher, exceeding even up to 15 times its average concentrations established for the surrounding soils. Non-carcinogenic health risk assessment revealed that the hazard index (HI) for children in all road-environment samples exceeds the safe level of 1. Therefore, greater attention should be paid to potential health risks caused by the ingestion of traffic-related particles during outdoor activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Lead, Nickel, and Zinc Pollution in Topsoil from a Historic Shooting Range Rehabilitated into a Public Urban Park
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 698; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070698
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Soil contamination is a persistent problem in the world. The redevelopment of a site with a historical deposition of metals might conceal the threat of remaining pollution, especially when the site has become a public place. In this study, human health risk assessment
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Soil contamination is a persistent problem in the world. The redevelopment of a site with a historical deposition of metals might conceal the threat of remaining pollution, especially when the site has become a public place. In this study, human health risk assessment is performed after defining the concentrations of Pb, Ni, and Zn in the topsoil of a former shooting range rehabilitated into a public park in the Municipality of Kesariani (Athens, Greece). A methodology that uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS, 13 samples), another that uses portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) following a dense sample design (91 samples), and a hybrid approach that combines both, were used to obtain the concentrations of the trace elements. The enrichment factor and geoacummulation index were calculated to define the degree of pollution of the site. The hazard quotient and cancer risk indicators were also computed to find the risk to which the population is exposed. The present study reveals high non-carcinogenic health risk due to Pb pollution with ingestion as the main exposure pathway. The carcinogenic risk for Pb is within tolerable limits, but the definition of land use might alter such a statement. Lastly, regarding Ni and Zn, the site is unpolluted and there is insignificant carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Antibiotic Resistance and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Escherichia coli Isolates from Hospital Wastewater in Vietnam
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 699; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070699
Received: 24 April 2017 / Revised: 29 May 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
The environmental spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been recognised as a growing public health threat for which hospitals play a significant role. The aims of this study were to investigate the prevalence of antibiotic resistance and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in Escherichia coli
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The environmental spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been recognised as a growing public health threat for which hospitals play a significant role. The aims of this study were to investigate the prevalence of antibiotic resistance and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in Escherichia coli isolates from hospital wastewater in Vietnam. Wastewater samples before and after treatment were collected using continuous sampling every month over a year. Standard disk diffusion and E-test were used for antibiotic susceptibility testing. Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) production was tested using combined disk diffusion. ARGs were detected by polymerase chain reactions. Resistance to at least one antibiotic was detected in 83% of isolates; multidrug resistance was found in 32%. The highest resistance prevalence was found for co-trimoxazole (70%) and the lowest for imipenem (1%). Forty-three percent of isolates were ESBL-producing, with the blaTEM gene being more common than blaCTX-M. Co-harbouring of the blaCTX-M, blaTEM and qepA genes was found in 46% of isolates resistant to ciprofloxacin. The large presence of antibiotic-resistant E. coli isolates combined with ARGs in hospital wastewater, even post-treatment, poses a threat to public health. It highlights the need to develop effective processes for hospital wastewater treatment plants to eliminate antibiotic resistant bacteria and ARGs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobials and Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Validity and Reproducibility of the Iodine Dietary Intake Questionnaire Assessment Conducted for Young Polish Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 700; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070700
Received: 20 May 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyse a designed brief iodine dietary intake questionnaire based on a food frequency assessment (IOdine Dietary INtake Evaluation-Food Frequency Questionnaire—IODINE-FFQ), including the assessment of validity and reproducibility in a group of 90 Polish women aged 20–35
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The aim of this study was to analyse a designed brief iodine dietary intake questionnaire based on a food frequency assessment (IOdine Dietary INtake Evaluation-Food Frequency Questionnaire—IODINE-FFQ), including the assessment of validity and reproducibility in a group of 90 Polish women aged 20–35 years. Participants collected 3-day dietary records and filled in the IODINE-FFQ twice (FFQ1—directly after the dietary record and FFQ2—6 weeks later). The analysis included an assessment of validity (comparison with the results of the 3-day dietary record) and of reproducibility (comparison of the results obtained twice—FFQ1 and FFQ2). In the analysis of validity, a Bland-Altman index of 5.5% and 4.4% was recorded, respectively for FFQ1 and FFQ2. In the analysis of reproducibility it was 6.7%, but the share of individuals correctly classified into tertiles was over 70% (weighted κ of 0.675). It was stated, that assessment of IODINE-FFQ revealed a satisfactory level of validity and reproducibility in the analysis of Bland-Alman plot. The IODINE-FFQ may be indicated as a tool for the assessment of iodine intake in the young women in Poland, however further studies should be considered in order to obtain the practical tool for public health specialists. Due to the lack of validated iodine-specific food frequency questionnaires for countries of Eastern Europe, the IODINE-FFQ may be adjusted for courtiers other than Poland including iodine-fortified products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Association between Excessive Use of Mobile Phone and Insomnia and Depression among Japanese Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 701; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070701
Received: 6 April 2017 / Revised: 12 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between mobile phone use and insomnia and depression in adolescents. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 295 high school students aged 15–19 in Japan. Insomnia and depression were assessed using Athene Insomnia Scales
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The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between mobile phone use and insomnia and depression in adolescents. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 295 high school students aged 15–19 in Japan. Insomnia and depression were assessed using Athene Insomnia Scales (AIS) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), respectively. Mobile phones were owned by 98.6% of students; 58.6% used mobile phones for over 2 h per day and 10.5% used them for over 5 h per day. Overall mobile phone use of over 5 h per day was associated with shorter sleep duration and insomnia (OR: 3.89 [[95% CI: 1.21–12.49]), but not with depression. Mobile phone use of 2 h or more per day for social network services (OR: 3.63 [[1.20–10.98]) and online chats (OR: 3.14 [[1.42–6.95]), respectively, was associated with a higher risk of depression. Mobile phone overuse can be linked to unhealthy sleep habits and insomnia. Moreover, mobile phone overuse for social network services and online chats may contribute more to depression than the use for internet searching, playing games or viewing videos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress and Health)
Open AccessArticle Determination of Trace Metal Levels in the General Population of Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 702; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070702
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of trace metals in the blood of the general Korean population. A total of 258 healthy individuals, according to their regular medical check-ups, (119 males and 139 females, age ranging from 12 to
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The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of trace metals in the blood of the general Korean population. A total of 258 healthy individuals, according to their regular medical check-ups, (119 males and 139 females, age ranging from 12 to 78 years old) were enrolled from December 2014 to December 2016. Levels of 10 trace elements were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The geometric mean (GM) levels for lead, arsenic, cesium, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc were 15.97 μg/L, 7.19 μg/L, 2.39 μg/L, 3.41 μg/L, 10.57 μg/L, 0.78 μg/L, 979.8 μg/L, 11.06 μg/L, 111.37 μg/L, and 872.7 μg/L, respectively. There were significant gender-related differences in the levels of several metals; male individuals had higher Pb, As, Cs, Hg, and Se than females, while females had higher Cd, Cu, and Mn than males. We noticed remarkably high blood levels of Hg, As and Al in the Korean population. The element concentrations reported represent a new contribution to the knowledge of the blood chemistry for the Korea population. The data can be used to assess the clinical health of this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Alcohol Marketing during the UEFA EURO 2016 Football Tournament: A Frequency Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 704; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070704
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
This study examined the frequency and nature of alcohol marketing references in broadcasts of the 2016 UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) European Championships football tournament in the United Kingdom (UK). Eighteen matches from across the tournament were recorded in full as broadcast
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This study examined the frequency and nature of alcohol marketing references in broadcasts of the 2016 UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) European Championships football tournament in the United Kingdom (UK). Eighteen matches from across the tournament were recorded in full as broadcast in the UK, including all four matches featuring the English national team and all seven featuring the French national team. All visual and verbal references to alcohol marketing were recorded using a tool with high inter-rater reliability. A total of 2213 alcohol marketing references were recorded, an average of 122.94 per broadcast and 0.65 per broadcast minute (0.52 per minute in-play and 0.80 per minute out-of-play). Almost all references were visual (97.5%), with 77.9% occurring around the pitch border. Almost all (90.6%) were indirect references to alcohol brands (e.g., references to well-known slogans), compared to only 9.4% direct references to brands (e.g., brand names). The frequency of references to alcohol marketing was high. Although the overall proportion of direct brand references was low, the high proportion of indirect references demonstrates that alcohol producers were able to circumvent the French national law governing alcohol marketing (the Loi Évin) using indirect “alibi marketing”. To ensure the spirit of the Loi Évin regulations are achieved, stricter enforcement may be required to limit exposure to alcohol marketing, particularly for young people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Health)
Open AccessArticle Risk Analysis of a Fuel Storage Terminal Using HAZOP and FTA
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 705; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070705
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
The size and complexity of industrial chemical plants, together with the nature of the products handled, means that an analysis and control of the risks involved is required. This paper presents a methodology for risk analysis in chemical and allied industries that is
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The size and complexity of industrial chemical plants, together with the nature of the products handled, means that an analysis and control of the risks involved is required. This paper presents a methodology for risk analysis in chemical and allied industries that is based on a combination of HAZard and OPerability analysis (HAZOP) and a quantitative analysis of the most relevant risks through the development of fault trees, fault tree analysis (FTA). Results from FTA allow prioritizing the preventive and corrective measures to minimize the probability of failure. An analysis of a case study is performed; it consists in the terminal for unloading chemical and petroleum products, and the fuel storage facilities of two companies, in the port of Valencia (Spain). HAZOP analysis shows that loading and unloading areas are the most sensitive areas of the plant and where the most significant danger is a fuel spill. FTA analysis indicates that the most likely event is a fuel spill in tank truck loading area. A sensitivity analysis from the FTA results show the importance of the human factor in all sequences of the possible accidents, so it should be mandatory to improve the training of the staff of the plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health, Risk Analysis and Environmental Hazards)
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Open AccessArticle Green Mind Theory: How Brain-Body-Behaviour Links into Natural and Social Environments for Healthy Habits
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 706; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070706
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (348 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We propose a Green Mind Theory (GMT) to link the human mind with the brain and body, and connect the body into natural and social environments. The processes are reciprocal: environments shape bodies, brains, and minds; minds change body behaviours that shape the
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We propose a Green Mind Theory (GMT) to link the human mind with the brain and body, and connect the body into natural and social environments. The processes are reciprocal: environments shape bodies, brains, and minds; minds change body behaviours that shape the external environment. GMT offers routes to improved individual well-being whilst building towards greener economies. It builds upon research on green exercise and nature-based therapies, and draws on understanding derived from neuroscience and brain plasticity, spiritual and wisdom traditions, the lifeways of original cultures, and material consumption behaviours. We set out a simple metaphor for brain function: a bottom brain stem that is fast-acting, involuntary, impulsive, and the driver of fight and flight behaviours; a top brain cortex that is slower, voluntary, the centre for learning, and the driver of rest and digest. The bottom brain reacts before thought and directs the sympathetic nervous system. The top brain is calming, directing the parasympathetic nervous system. Here, we call the top brain blue and the bottom brain red; too much red brain is bad for health. In modern high-consumption economies, life has often come to be lived on red alert. An over-active red mode impacts the gastrointestinal, immune, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. We develop our knowledge of nature-based interventions, and suggest a framework for the blue brain-red brain-green mind. We show how activities involving immersive-attention quieten internal chatter, how habits affect behaviours across the lifecourse, how long habits take to be formed and hard-wired into daily practice, the role of place making, and finally how green minds could foster prosocial and greener economies. We conclude with observations on twelve research priorities and health interventions, and ten calls to action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle The Buffer Effect of Therapy Dog Exposure on Stress Reactivity in Undergraduate Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 707; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070707
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Stress is an insidious health risk that is commonly reported among university students. While research suggests that dog exposure may facilitate recovery from a stress response, little is known about the buffer effect of dog exposure on the stress response to a future
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Stress is an insidious health risk that is commonly reported among university students. While research suggests that dog exposure may facilitate recovery from a stress response, little is known about the buffer effect of dog exposure on the stress response to a future stressor. This study examined whether interaction with a therapy dog could reduce the strength of the physiological stress response when exposed to a subsequent stressor. Sixty-one university students were randomly assigned to either a therapy dog (TD, n = 31) or a no-dog control (C, n = 30) group. The stress response was measured by electrodermal activity (EDA) in response to the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT). Participants also completed questionnaires that assessed pet attitude, general stress levels, and affect. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) showed that increase in EDA was significantly more pronounced in the C group than in the TD group (p < 0.01). Pet attitudes did not modulate the buffer effect of therapy dog exposure. Results suggest that therapy dog exposure may buffer the stress response in university students, which has implications for the promotion of a viable stress management program on university campuses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress and Health)
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Open AccessArticle In Silico Prediction for Intestinal Absorption and Brain Penetration of Chemical Pesticides in Humans
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 708; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070708
Received: 11 June 2017 / Revised: 24 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Intestinal absorption and brain permeation constitute key parameters of toxicokinetics for pesticides, conditioning their toxicity, including neurotoxicity. However, they remain poorly characterized in humans. The present study was therefore designed to evaluate human intestine and brain permeation for a large set of pesticides
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Intestinal absorption and brain permeation constitute key parameters of toxicokinetics for pesticides, conditioning their toxicity, including neurotoxicity. However, they remain poorly characterized in humans. The present study was therefore designed to evaluate human intestine and brain permeation for a large set of pesticides (n = 338) belonging to various chemical classes, using an in silico graphical BOILED-Egg/SwissADME online method based on lipophilicity and polarity that was initially developed for drugs. A high percentage of the pesticides (81.4%) was predicted to exhibit high intestinal absorption, with a high accuracy (96%), whereas a lower, but substantial, percentage (38.5%) displayed brain permeation. Among the pesticide classes, organochlorines (n = 30) constitute the class with the lowest percentage of intestine-permeant members (40%), whereas that of the organophosphorus compounds (n = 99) has the lowest percentage of brain-permeant chemicals (9%). The predictions of the permeations for the pesticides were additionally shown to be significantly associated with various molecular descriptors well-known to discriminate between permeant and non-permeant drugs. Overall, our in silico data suggest that human exposure to pesticides through the oral way is likely to result in an intake of these dietary contaminants for most of them and brain permeation for some of them, thus supporting the idea that they have toxic effects on human health, including neurotoxic effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Public Support for Electronic Cigarette Regulation in Hong Kong: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 709; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070709
Received: 15 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
This study aimed to gauge the Hong Kong’s public support towards new e-cigarette regulation, and examine the associated factors of the support. We conducted a two-stage, randomized cross-sectional telephone-based survey to assess the public support towards the banning of e-cigarette promotion and advertisement,
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This study aimed to gauge the Hong Kong’s public support towards new e-cigarette regulation, and examine the associated factors of the support. We conducted a two-stage, randomized cross-sectional telephone-based survey to assess the public support towards the banning of e-cigarette promotion and advertisement, its use in smoke-free venues, the sale to people aged under 18, and regulating the sale of nicotine-free e-cigarettes. Adults (aged 15 years or above) who were never smoking (n = 1706), ex-smoking (n = 1712) or currently smoking (n = 1834) were included. Over half (57.8%) supported all the four regulations. Banning of e-cigarette promotion and advertisement (71.7%) received slightly less support than the other three regulations (banning of e-cigarette use in smoke-free venues (81.5%); banning of e-cigarette sale to minors (93.9%); sale restriction of nicotine-free e-cigarettes (80.9%)). Current smokers, and perceiving e-cigarettes as less harmful than traditional cigarettes or not knowing the harmfulness, were associated with a lower level of support. Our findings showed a strong public support for further regulation of e-cigarettes in Hong Kong. Current stringent measures on tobacco and e-cigarettes, and media reports on the harmfulness of e-cigarettes may underpin the strong support for the regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Covariates of Identified Stress and Depression among Seasonal Farmworkers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 711; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070711
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Many noted difficulties of farmworker life result in increased risk for stress and depression. To date, limited research has focused primarily on seasonal farmworkers; much of the prior research examines migrant farmworkers or both groups collectively. This study aims to: (1) describe levels
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Many noted difficulties of farmworker life result in increased risk for stress and depression. To date, limited research has focused primarily on seasonal farmworkers; much of the prior research examines migrant farmworkers or both groups collectively. This study aims to: (1) describe levels of stress and depression among a sample of seasonal farmworkers; and (2) identify if covariates (age, gender, marital status, education level, years of residency, problems obtaining healthcare due to documentation, language barriers, transportation, costs, medical insurance, and stress level) are significant predictors of depressive symptoms. Survey data were collected from 150 Latino seasonal farmworkers. A hierarchical binary logistic regression was conducted to identify significant covariates. The results indicated that the only statistically significant covariates were health insurance coverage (p = 0.025) and stress (p = 0.008). Those farmworkers without health insurance were 1.8 times more likely than those with health insurance to possess depressive symptoms, while those demonstrating higher stress levels were over 7 times more likely to demonstrate symptoms of depression. The implications of the results are discussed in the manuscript. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle Early Onset of Type 1 Diabetes and Educational Field at Upper Secondary and University Level: Is Own Experience an Asset for a Health Care Career?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 712; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070712
Received: 14 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Ill health in early life has a significant negative impact on school grades, grade repetition, educational level, and labor market outcomes. However, less is known about qualitative socio-economic consequences of a health shock in childhood or adolescence. We investigate the relationship between onset
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Ill health in early life has a significant negative impact on school grades, grade repetition, educational level, and labor market outcomes. However, less is known about qualitative socio-economic consequences of a health shock in childhood or adolescence. We investigate the relationship between onset of type 1 diabetes up to age 15 and the probability of choosing and completing a health-oriented path at upper secondary and university level of education. We analyze the Swedish Childhood Diabetes Register, the National Educational Register, and other population registers in Sweden for 2756 people with type 1 diabetes and 10,020 matched population controls. Educational decisions are modeled as unsorted series of binary choices to assess the choice of educational field as a potential mechanism linking early life health to adult outcomes. The analyses reject the hypothesis of no systematic differences in choice of educational field between people with and without type 1 diabetes at both levels. The results are robust to selection on ability proxies and across sensitivity analysis. We conclude that the observed pro health-oriented educational choices among people with type 1 diabetes in our data are consistent with disease onset in childhood and adolescence having qualitative impact on life-course choices. Full article
Open AccessArticle Farmers’ Risk Preferences in Rural China: Measurements and Determinants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 713; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070713
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 24 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
This study measures farmers’ risk attitudes in rural China using a survey instrument and a complementary experiment conducted in the field with the same sample of subjects. Using a question asking people about their willingness to take risks “in general”, we found that
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This study measures farmers’ risk attitudes in rural China using a survey instrument and a complementary experiment conducted in the field with the same sample of subjects. Using a question asking people about their willingness to take risks “in general”, we found that the average response of our sample is slightly risk averse. Farmers’ exogenous factors (age, gender, and height) and self-reported happiness have a significant impact on farmers’ willingness to take risks. The experiment results show that approximately 44% of farmers in the study area are risk averse. We compare farmers’ self-reported measures of risk preferences derived from the survey instrument to preferences elicited through the experimental task. Results show that answers to the general risk attitude question in the survey can predict farmers’ behaviors in the experiment to a statistically significant degree. This paper can contribute to the empirical literature on comparing local farmers’ risk attitudes across different risk preference measurement methods in the developing world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Use of Pesticide Applications in Citrus: A Support Tool for Volume Rate Adjustment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 715; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070715
Received: 10 June 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Rational application of pesticides by properly adjusting the amount of product to the actual needs and specific conditions for application is a key factor for sustainable plant protection. However, current plant protection product (PPP) labels registered for citrus in EU are usually expressed
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Rational application of pesticides by properly adjusting the amount of product to the actual needs and specific conditions for application is a key factor for sustainable plant protection. However, current plant protection product (PPP) labels registered for citrus in EU are usually expressed as concentration (%; rate/hl) and/or as the maximum dose of product per unit of ground surface, without taking into account those conditions. In this work, the fundamentals of a support tool, called CitrusVol, developed to recommend mix volume rates in PPP applications in citrus orchards using airblast sprayers, are presented. This tool takes into consideration crop characteristics (geometry, leaf area density), pests, and product and application efficiency, and it is based on scientific data obtained previously regarding the minimum deposit required to achieve maximum efficacy, efficiency of airblast sprayers in citrus orchards, and characterization of the crop. The use of this tool in several commercial orchards allowed a reduction of the volume rate and the PPPs used in comparison with the commonly used by farmers of between 11% and 74%, with an average of 31%, without affecting the efficacy. CitrusVol is freely available on a website and in an app for smartphones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agrochemicals in the Agri-Food Chain)
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Open AccessArticle PM2.5, Population Exposure and Economic Effects in Urban Agglomerations of China Using Ground-Based Monitoring Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 716; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070716
Received: 2 May 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 3 July 2017
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Abstract
This paper adopts the PM2.5 concentration data obtained from 1497 station-based monitoring sites, population and gross domestic product (GDP) census data, revealing population exposure and economic effects of PM2.5 in four typical urban agglomerations of China, i.e., Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH), the Yangtze
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This paper adopts the PM2.5 concentration data obtained from 1497 station-based monitoring sites, population and gross domestic product (GDP) census data, revealing population exposure and economic effects of PM2.5 in four typical urban agglomerations of China, i.e., Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH), the Yangtze River delta (YRD), the Pearl River delta (PRD), and Chengdu-Chongqing (CC). The Cokriging interpolation method was used to estimate the PM2.5 concentration from station-level to grid-level. Next, an evaluation was conducted mainly at the grid-level with a cell size of 1 × 1 km, assisted by the urban agglomeration scale. Criteria including the population-weighted mean, the cumulative percent distribution and the correlation coefficient were applied in our evaluation. The results showed that the spatial pattern of population exposure in BTH was consistent with that of PM2.5 concentration, as well as changes in elevation. The topography was also an important factor in the accumulation of PM2.5 in CC. Moreover, the most polluted urban agglomeration based on the population-weighted mean was BTH, while the least was PRD. In terms of the cumulative percent distribution, only 0.51% of the population who lived in the four urban agglomerations, and 2.33% of the GDP that was produced in the four urban agglomerations, were associated with an annual PM2.5 concentration smaller than the Chinese National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 35 µg/m3. This indicates that the majority of people live in the high air polluted areas, and economic development contributes to air pollution. Our results are supported by the high correlation between population exposure and the corresponding GDP in each urban agglomeration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle A 10-Year Follow-Up Study of Social Ties and Functional Health among the Old: The AGES Project
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 717; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070717
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 3 July 2017
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Abstract
In Asian nations, family ties are considered important. However, it is not clear what happens among older people with no such ties. To investigate the association, we used longitudinal data from the Aichi Gerontological Evaluation Study (AGES) project. Functionally independent older people at
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In Asian nations, family ties are considered important. However, it is not clear what happens among older people with no such ties. To investigate the association, we used longitudinal data from the Aichi Gerontological Evaluation Study (AGES) project. Functionally independent older people at baseline (N = 14,088) in 10 municipalities were followed from 2003 to 2013. Social ties were assessed by asking about their social support exchange with family, relatives, friends, or neighbors. Cox proportional hazard models were employed to investigate the association between social ties and the onset of functional disability adjusting for age, health status, and living arrangement. We found that social ties with co-residing family members, and those with friends or neighbors, independently protected functional health with hazard ratios of 0.81 and 0.85 among men. Among women, ties with friend or neighbors had a stronger effect on health compared to their male counterparts with a hazard ratio of 0.89. The fact that social ties with friends or neighbors are associated with a lower risk of functional decline, independent of family support, serves to underscore the importance of promoting social ties, especially among those lacking family ties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle Factors Affecting Dietary Practices in a Mississippi African American Community
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 718; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070718
Received: 6 June 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 3 July 2017
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Abstract
This study examined the practices, personal motivation, and barriers of African American communities in Mississippi regarding their dietary practices. We selected the Metro Jackson Area comprised of Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties because it is a combination of urban and rural communities. The
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This study examined the practices, personal motivation, and barriers of African American communities in Mississippi regarding their dietary practices. We selected the Metro Jackson Area comprised of Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties because it is a combination of urban and rural communities. The sample consisted of 70 participants from seven sites. A total of seven focus groups responded to six questions to assess practices, personal motivation, and barriers to dietary practices: (1) Where in your community can you access fresh fruits and vegetables? (2) How many meals a day should a person eat? (3) What would you consider to be a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner? (4) What would you consider to be a healthy snack? (5) What do you consider to be your motivations for eating healthy? (6) What do you consider to be your barriers to eating healthy? Each of the seven focus groups consisted of 6 to 12 participants and provided details of their dietary practices. The focus group interviews were digitally‐recorded. The recorded interviews were transcribed. The majority of the participants stated that there is a limited availability of fresh fruits/vegetables in rural areas because of a shortage of grocery stores. When they do find fruits, they are priced very high and are unaffordable. Even though health conditions dictate food frequency and portion size, community members feel that individuals should eat three good balanced meals per day with snacks, and they should adhere to small portion sizes. While the desire to attain overall good health and eliminate associative risks for heart disease (e.g., diabetes, obesity) are personal motivations, the cost of food, transportation, age, and time required for food preparation were seen as barriers to healthy eating. Decisions regarding meal choice and meal frequency can have an impact on long‐term health outcomes. Health promotion programs should become an integral part of academic‐ community collaborative agreements. Full article
Open AccessArticle Access to HIV Care and Resilience in a Long-Term Conflict Setting: A Qualitative Assessment of the Experiences of Living with Diagnosed HIV in Mogadishu, Somali
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 721; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070721
Received: 10 June 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
Background: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to take a heavy toll on the lives of many people, with the worst impact on health and wellbeing for the affected individuals in fragile states. The HIV situation in Somalia is not clearly known and experiences
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Background: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to take a heavy toll on the lives of many people, with the worst impact on health and wellbeing for the affected individuals in fragile states. The HIV situation in Somalia is not clearly known and experiences of the people living with HIV in this war-torn region are often unexpressed. This pilot qualitative study sought to explore the experiences of people diagnosed with HIV living in Mogadishu, and their resilience in access to care and social support. Methods: Participants were recruited through drug dispensers at the HIV clinic in Banadir Hospital. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted in Somali in May 2013 among patients who were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) from the HIV clinic in Mogadishu. These were tape-recorded, transcribed, and translated for content analysis. Results: Three women and four men who were living with HIV shared the following narratives. Their perception was that they had either got HIV from their spouses or through health care contamination. They were very knowledgeable about the realities of HIV, how the medication works, nutritional requirements, and drug adherence. They were always willing to go an extra mile to secure a good life for themselves. However, the external HIV stigma impacted their access to care. They faced challenges in their homes and at work which compelled them to seek support from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or close family members. This stigma often affected their disclosure to the wider community due to the uncertainty of the repercussions, leading to a life of extreme loneliness and financial difficulties. The participants’ coping mechanisms included living together and starting their own NGO for support with very strong optimism about their prognosis. Conclusions: The people diagnosed with HIV living in Mogadishu are highly knowledgeable about HIV transmission, the realities of living with a diagnosed HIV infection, and the efficacy of HIV treatment. Our small sample suggests adequate access to ART through NGOs. However, widespread HIV stigma limits HIV status disclosure to families and communities, which creates a risk of self-isolation and ill health. Still, affected individuals have developed resilient mechanisms for managing the risks. They strive to remain employed for economic security, adhere to HIV treatment, engage in support groups, and maintain the utmost optimism about their prognosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Metal Water-Sediment Interactions and Impacts on an Urban Ecosystem
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 722; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070722
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requirement that all surface water bodies achieve good ecological status is still a goal for many regulatory authorities in England and Wales. This paper describes field and laboratory studies designed to identify metal contaminant loadings and their
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The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requirement that all surface water bodies achieve good ecological status is still a goal for many regulatory authorities in England and Wales. This paper describes field and laboratory studies designed to identify metal contaminant loadings and their distributions within water bodies located in the Lower Lee catchment (London, UK). Water and sediment samples have been collected from increasingly urbanised sites on the River Lee and its main tributaries over a two-year period with samples analysed for total concentrations of cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, tin, and zinc. Complimentary batch tests indicate a positive relationship between aqueous metal concentrations and the batch test-derived sediment metal release data, particularly during wet weather events. Field data indicate a dynamic relationship between water and sediment concentrations with both being capable of exceeding relevant environmental quality standards/sediment quality guidelines at all sites. Mean sediment metal concentrations across all sites were found to be highest for Cu (141.1 ± 111.0 µg g−1), Pb (175.7 ± 83.0 µg g−1), and Zn (499.9 ± 264.7 µg g−1) with Zn demonstrating elevated mean water concentrations (17.2 ± 13.8 µg L−1) followed by Ni (15.6 ± 11.4 µg L−1) and Cu (11.1 ± 17.8 µg L−1). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Relationship of TPOAb and TGAb with Risk of Thyroid Nodules: A Large Epidemiological Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 723; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070723
Received: 6 June 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
Objective: The association between thyroid hormones, thyroid autoantibodies, and thyroid nodules are still not clear. The cross-sectional study, conducted in Hangzhou, China in 2010, aimed to identify the relationship of thyroid hormones and autoantibodies with thyroid nodules. Methods: Information regarding social demography
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Objective: The association between thyroid hormones, thyroid autoantibodies, and thyroid nodules are still not clear. The cross-sectional study, conducted in Hangzhou, China in 2010, aimed to identify the relationship of thyroid hormones and autoantibodies with thyroid nodules. Methods: Information regarding social demography was collected by a questionnaire. Thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine, thyroxin, free triiodothyronine, free thyroxin, thyrotropin), thyroid autoantibodies (thyroid peroxidase antibody, antithyroglobulin antibody), and thyroid nodules (diagnosed by ultrasonography) was measured in 1271 adults. The association of thyroid hormones and thyroid autoantibodies with thyroid nodules was evaluated using multiple logistic regression models. Results: The prevalence of thyroid nodules among males and females was 29.49% and 33.15%, respectively. The thyroid hormone level in the thyroid nodules group was significantly higher than the non-nodules group (all p values < 0.05), except reversely in TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) (p = 0.0532) and TGAb (thyroglobulin antibody) (p = 0.0004). High levels of TPOAb (thyroid peroxidase antibody) (OR (Odds Ratio) = 1.51, 95% CI (confidence interval): 0.99–2.30) and TGAb (OR = 2.86, 95% CI: 1.49–5.51) were associated with increased risk of thyroid nodules, compared with corresponding low levels. However, following sub-analyses in two genders, the similar associations were only observed in females (TPOAb: OR = 1.63, 95% CI: 0.99–2.68; TGAb: OR = 3.13, 95% CI: 1.53–6.40). Conclusions: The present study indicated that thyroid autoantibodies were positively associated with the risk of thyroid nodules in Chinese coastal adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle The Influences of Landscape Features on Visitation of Hospital Green Spaces—A Choice Experiment Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 724; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070724
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
Studies have suggested that visiting and viewing landscaping at hospitals accelerates patient’s recovery from surgery and help staff’s recovery from mental fatigue. To plan and construct such landscapes, we need to unravel landscape features desirable to different groups so that the space can
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Studies have suggested that visiting and viewing landscaping at hospitals accelerates patient’s recovery from surgery and help staff’s recovery from mental fatigue. To plan and construct such landscapes, we need to unravel landscape features desirable to different groups so that the space can benefit a wide range of hospital users. Using discrete choice modeling, we developed experimental choice sets to investigate how landscape features influence the visitations of different users in a large regional hospital in Taiwan. The empirical survey provides quantitative estimates of the influence of each landscape feature on four user groups, including patients, caregivers, staff, and neighborhood residents. Our findings suggest that different types of features promote visits from specific user groups. Landscape features facilitating physical activities effectively encourage visits across user groups especially for caregivers and staff. Patients in this study specify a strong need for contact with nature. The nearby community favors the features designed for children’s play and family activities. People across user groups value the features that provide a mitigated microclimate of comfort, such as a shelter. Study implications and limitations are also discussed. Our study provides information essential for creating a better healing environment in a hospital setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Associations of PM2.5 and Black Carbon with Hospital Emergency Room Visits during Heavy Haze Events: A Case Study in Beijing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 725; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070725
Received: 29 March 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
In January 2013, severe haze events over northeastern China sparked substantial health concerns. This study explores the associations of fine particulate matter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) with hospital emergency room visits (ERVs) during a haze season
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In January 2013, severe haze events over northeastern China sparked substantial health concerns. This study explores the associations of fine particulate matter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) with hospital emergency room visits (ERVs) during a haze season in Beijing. During that period, daily counts of ERVs for respiratory, cardiovascular and ocular diseases were obtained from a Level-3A hospital in Beijing from 1 December 2012 to 28 February 2013, and associations of which with PM2.5 and BC were estimated by time-stratified case-crossover analysis in single- and two-pollutant models. We found a 27.5% (95% confidence interval (CI): 13.0, 43.9%) increase in respiratory ERV (lag02), a 19.4% (95% CI: 2.5, 39.0%) increase in cardiovascular ERV (lag0), and a 12.6% (95% CI: 0.0, 26.7%) increase in ocular ERV (lag0) along with an interquartile range (IQR) increase in the PM2.5. An IQR increase of BC was associated with 27.6% (95% CI: 9.6, 48.6%) (lag02), 18.8% (95% CI: 1.4, 39.2%) (lag0) and 11.8% (95% CI: −1.4, 26.8%) (lag0) increases for changes in these same health outcomes respectively. Estimated associations were consistent after adjusting SO2 or NO2 in two-pollutant models. This study provides evidence that improving air quality and reducing haze days would greatly benefit the population health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle A Spatial Data Infrastructure for Environmental Noise Data in Europe
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 726; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070726
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 1 July 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Access to high quality data is essential in order to better understand the environmental and health impact of noise in an increasingly urbanised world. This paper analyses how recent developments of spatial data infrastructures in Europe can significantly improve the utilization of data
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Access to high quality data is essential in order to better understand the environmental and health impact of noise in an increasingly urbanised world. This paper analyses how recent developments of spatial data infrastructures in Europe can significantly improve the utilization of data and streamline reporting on a pan-European scale. The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE), and Environmental Noise Directive (END) described in this manuscript provide principles for data management that, once applied, would lead to a better understanding of the state of environmental noise. Furthermore, shared, harmonised and easily discoverable environmental spatial data, required by the INSPIRE, would also support the data collection needed for the assessment and development of strategic noise maps. Action plans designed by the EU Member States to reduce noise and mitigate related effects can be shared to the public through already established nodes of the European spatial data infrastructure. Finally, data flows regarding reporting on the state of environment and END implementation to the European level can benefit by applying a decentralised e-reporting service oriented infrastructure. This would allow reported data to be maintained, frequently updated and enable pooling of information from/to other relevant and interrelated domains such as air quality, transportation, human health, population, marine environment or biodiversity. We describe those processes and provide a use case in which noise data from two neighbouring European countries are mapped to common data specifications, defined by INSPIRE, thus ensuring interoperability and harmonisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Modelling for Public Health Research)
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Open AccessArticle “Look at the Whole Me”: A Mixed-Methods Examination of Black Infant Mortality in the US through Women’s Lived Experiences and Community Context
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 727; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070727
Received: 17 April 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
In the US, the non-Hispanic Black infant mortality rate exceeds the rate among non-Hispanic Whites by more than two-fold. To explore factors underlying this persistent disparity, we employed a mixed methods approach with concurrent quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. Eighteen women
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In the US, the non-Hispanic Black infant mortality rate exceeds the rate among non-Hispanic Whites by more than two-fold. To explore factors underlying this persistent disparity, we employed a mixed methods approach with concurrent quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. Eighteen women participated in interviews about their experience of infant loss. Several common themes emerged across interviews, grouped by domain: individual experiences (trauma, grieving and counseling; criminalization); negative interactions with healthcare providers and the healthcare system; and broader contextual factors. Concurrently, we estimated the Black infant mortality rate (deaths per 1000 live births) using linked live birth-infant death records from 2010 to 2013 in every metropolitan statistical area in the US. Poisson regression examined how contextual indicators of population health, socioeconomic conditions of the Black population, and features of the communities in which they live were associated with Black infant mortality and inequity in Black–White infant mortality rates across 100 metropolitan statistical areas with the highest Black infant mortality rates. We used principal components analysis to create a Birth Equity Index in order to examine the collective impact of contextual indicators on Black infant mortality and racial inequity in mortality rates. The association between the Index and Black infant mortality was stronger than any single indicator alone: in metropolitan areas with the worst social, economic, and environmental conditions, Black infant mortality rates were on average 1.24 times higher than rates in areas where conditions were better (95% CI = 1.16, 1.32). The experiences of Black women in their homes, neighborhoods, and health care centers and the contexts in which they live may individually and collectively contribute to persistent racial inequity in infant mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Determinants of Health Inequities and Prevention)
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of a Campus Forest-Walking Program on Undergraduate and Graduate Students’ Physical and Psychological Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 728; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070728
Received: 25 April 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
We conducted a campus forest-walking program targeting university and graduate students during their lunchtime and examined the physical and psychological effects of the program. We utilized a quasi-experimental design with a control group and a pretest–posttest design. Forty-seven men (M = 25.5 ±
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We conducted a campus forest-walking program targeting university and graduate students during their lunchtime and examined the physical and psychological effects of the program. We utilized a quasi-experimental design with a control group and a pretest–posttest design. Forty-seven men (M = 25.5 ± 3.8 years) and 52 women (M = 23.3 ± 4.3 years) volunteered to participate (experimental group n = 51, control group n = 48). The intervention group participated in campus forest-walking program once a week for six weeks; they were also asked to walk once a week additionally on an individual basis. Additionally, participants received one lecture on stress management. Post-tests were conducted both just after the program ended and three months after. A chi-square test, t-test, and repeated measures analysis of variance were used to evaluate the effects of the program. Health promoting behaviors (F = 7.27, p = 0.001, ES = 0.27) and parasympathetic nerve activity (F = 3.69, p = 0.027, ES = 0.20) significantly increased and depression (F = 3.15, p = 0.045, ES = 0.18) significantly decreased in the experimental group after the intervention compared to the control group. In conclusion, using the campus walking program to target students during their lunchtime is an efficient strategy to promote their physical and psychological health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Quantifying Projected Heat Mortality Impacts under 21st-Century Warming Conditions for Selected European Countries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 729; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070729
Received: 22 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 2 July 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
Under future warming conditions, high ambient temperatures will have a significant impact on population health in Europe. The aim of this paper is to quantify the possible future impact of heat on population mortality in European countries, under different climate change scenarios. We
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Under future warming conditions, high ambient temperatures will have a significant impact on population health in Europe. The aim of this paper is to quantify the possible future impact of heat on population mortality in European countries, under different climate change scenarios. We combined the heat-mortality function estimated from historical data with meteorological projections for the future time laps 2035–2064 and 2071–2099, developed under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5. We calculated attributable deaths (AD) at the country level. Overall, the expected impacts will be much larger than the impacts we would observe if apparent temperatures would remain in the future at the observed historical levels. During the period 2071–2099, an overall excess of 46,690 and 117,333 AD per year is expected under the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios respectively, in addition to the 16,303 AD estimated under the historical scenario. Mediterranean and Eastern European countries will be the most affected by heat, but a non-negligible impact will be still registered in North-continental countries. Policies and plans for heat mitigation and adaptation are needed and urgent in European countries in order to prevent the expected increase of heat-related deaths in the coming decades. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Community-Engaged Modeling of Geographic and Demographic Patterns of Multiple Public Health Risk Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 730; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070730
Received: 18 May 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Many health risk factors are intervention targets within communities, but information regarding high-risk subpopulations is rarely available at a geographic resolution that is relevant for community-scale interventions. Researchers and community partners in New Bedford, Massachusetts (USA) collaboratively identified high-priority behaviors and health outcomes
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Many health risk factors are intervention targets within communities, but information regarding high-risk subpopulations is rarely available at a geographic resolution that is relevant for community-scale interventions. Researchers and community partners in New Bedford, Massachusetts (USA) collaboratively identified high-priority behaviors and health outcomes of interest available in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). We developed multivariable regression models from the BRFSS explaining variability in exercise, fruit and vegetable consumption, body mass index, and diabetes prevalence as a function of demographic and behavioral characteristics, and linked these models with population microdata developed using spatial microsimulation to characterize high-risk populations and locations. Individuals with lower income and educational attainment had lower rates of multiple health-promoting behaviors (e.g., fruit and vegetable consumption and exercise) and higher rates of self-reported diabetes. Our models in combination with the simulated population microdata identified census tracts with an elevated percentage of high-risk subpopulations, information community partners can use to prioritize funding and intervention programs. Multi-stressor modeling using data from public databases and microsimulation methods for characterizing high-resolution spatial patterns of population attributes, coupled with strong community partner engagement, can provide significant insight for intervention. Our methodology is transferrable to other communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Modelling for Public Health Research)
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Open AccessArticle Chronic and Acute Ozone Exposure in the Week Prior to Delivery Is Associated with the Risk of Stillbirth
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 731; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070731
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Chronic and acute air pollution has been studied in relation to stillbirth with inconsistent findings. We examined stillbirth risk in a retrospective cohort of 223,375 singleton deliveries from 12 clinical sites across the United States. Average criteria air pollutant exposure was calculated using
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Chronic and acute air pollution has been studied in relation to stillbirth with inconsistent findings. We examined stillbirth risk in a retrospective cohort of 223,375 singleton deliveries from 12 clinical sites across the United States. Average criteria air pollutant exposure was calculated using modified Community Multiscale Air Quality models for the day of delivery and each of the seven days prior, whole pregnancy, and first trimester. Poisson regression models using generalized estimating equations estimated the relative risk (RR) of stillbirth and 95% confidence intervals (CI) in relation to an interquartile range increase in pollutant with adjustment for temperature, clinical, and demographic factors. Ozone (O3) was associated with a 13–22% increased risk of stillbirth on days 2, 3, and 5–7 prior to delivery in single pollutant models, and these findings persisted in multi-pollutant models for days 5 (RR = 1.22, CI = 1.07–1.38) and 6 (RR = 1.18, CI = 1.04–1.33). Whole pregnancy and first trimester O3 increased risk 18–39% in single pollutant models. Maternal asthma increased stillbirth risk associated with chronic PM2.5 and carbon monoxide exposures. Both chronic and acute O3 exposure consistently increased stillbirth risk, while the role of other pollutants varied. Approximately 8000 stillbirths per year in the US may be attributable to O3 exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Maternal and Child Health)
Open AccessArticle Adherence to Referral Criteria at Admission and Patient Management at a Specialized Burns Centre: The Case of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 732; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070732
Received: 19 April 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Referral guidelines for burn care are meant to assist in decision-making as regards patient transfer and admissions to specialized units. Little is known, however, concerning how closely they are followed and whether they are linked to patient care. This is the object of
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Referral guidelines for burn care are meant to assist in decision-making as regards patient transfer and admissions to specialized units. Little is known, however, concerning how closely they are followed and whether they are linked to patient care. This is the object of the current study, focused on the paediatric burns centre of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. All patients admitted to the centre during the winters of 2011–2015 (n = 1165) were included. The patient files were scrutinized to clarify whether the referral criteria in place were identified (seven in total) and to compile data on patient and injury characteristics. A case was defined as adherent to the criteria when at least one criterion was fulfilled and adherence was expressed as a percentage with 95% confidence intervals, for all years aggregated as well as by year and by patient or injury characteristics. The association between adherence to any individual criterion and hospital care (surgery or longer length of stay) was measured using logistic regressions. The overall adherence was 93.4% (100% among children under 2 years of age and 86% among the others) and it did not vary remarkably over time. The two criteria of “injury sustained at a specific anatomical site” (85.2%) and “young age” (51.9%) were those most often identified. Children aged 2 years or older were more likely to undergo surgery or to stay longer than those of young age (although a referral criterion) and so were those with higher injury severity (a referral criterion). In this specialized paediatric burns centre, children are admitted mainly according to the guidelines. However, given the high prevalence of paediatric burns in the region and the limited resources at the burns centre, adherence to the guidelines need to be further studied at all healthcare levels in the province. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Injury Prevention 2017)
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Open AccessArticle Developing a Hierarchical Model for the Spatial Analysis of PM10 Pollution Extremes in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 734; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070734
Received: 22 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
We implemented a spatial model for analysing PM10 maxima across the Mexico City metropolitan area during the period 1995–2016. We assumed that these maxima follow a non-identical generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution and modeled the trend by introducing multivariate smoothing spline functions
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We implemented a spatial model for analysing PM 10 maxima across the Mexico City metropolitan area during the period 1995–2016. We assumed that these maxima follow a non-identical generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution and modeled the trend by introducing multivariate smoothing spline functions into the probability GEV distribution. A flexible, three-stage hierarchical Bayesian approach was developed to analyse the distribution of the PM 10 maxima in space and time. We evaluated the statistical model’s performance by using a simulation study. The results showed strong evidence of a positive correlation between the PM 10 maxima and the longitude and latitude. The relationship between time and the PM 10 maxima was negative, indicating a decreasing trend over time. Finally, a high risk of PM 10 maxima presenting levels above 1000 μ g/m 3 (return period: 25 yr) was observed in the northwestern region of the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Suicide-Related Emergency Calls
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 735; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070735
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Considerable effort has been devoted to incorporate temporal trends in disease mapping. In this line, this work describes the importance of including the effect of the seasonality in a particular setting related with suicides. In particular, the number of suicide-related emergency calls is
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Considerable effort has been devoted to incorporate temporal trends in disease mapping. In this line, this work describes the importance of including the effect of the seasonality in a particular setting related with suicides. In particular, the number of suicide-related emergency calls is modeled by means of an autoregressive approach to spatio-temporal disease mapping that allows for incorporating the possible interaction between both temporal and spatial effects. Results show the importance of including seasonality effect, as there are differences between the number of suicide-related emergency calls between the four seasons of each year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Modelling for Public Health Research)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Associated with Bone Health in Malaysian Middle-Aged and Elderly Women Assessed via Quantitative Ultrasound
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 736; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070736
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Risk factors for osteoporosis may vary according to different populations. We aimed to investigate the relationship between risk factors of osteoporosis and bone health indices determined via calcaneal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) in a group of Malaysian women aged 50 years or above. A
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Risk factors for osteoporosis may vary according to different populations. We aimed to investigate the relationship between risk factors of osteoporosis and bone health indices determined via calcaneal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) in a group of Malaysian women aged 50 years or above. A cross-sectional study was performed on 344 Malaysian women recruited from a tertiary medical centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They answered a self-administered questionnaire on their social-demographic details, medical history, lifestyle, and physical activity status. Their height was measured using a stadiometer, and their body composition estimated using a bioelectrical impedance device. Their bone health status was determined using a water-based calcaneal QUS device that generated three indices, namely speed of sound (SOS), broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA), and stiffness index (SI). A T-score was computed from SI values using a reference database from a mainland Chinese population. Women with three or more lifetime pregnancies, who were underweight and not drinking coffee had a significantly lower BUA. Stepwise multiple linear regression showed that SOS was predicted by age alone, BUA and SI by years since menopause, body mass index (BMI), and number of lifetime pregnancies, and T-score by years since menopause and percentage of body fat. As a conclusion, suboptimal bone health in middle-aged and elderly Malaysian women as indicated by QUS is associated with old age, being underweight, having a high body fat percentage, and a high number of lifetime pregnancies. Women having several risk factors should be monitored more closely to protect their bones against accelerated bone loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Trypanosoma brucei Inhibition by Essential Oils from Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Traditionally Used in Cameroon (Azadirachta indica, Aframomum melegueta, Aframomum daniellii, Clausena anisata, Dichrostachys cinerea and Echinops giganteus)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 737; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070737
Received: 25 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Essential oils are complex mixtures of volatile components produced by the plant secondary metabolism and consist mainly of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes and, to a minor extent, of aromatic and aliphatic compounds. They are exploited in several fields such as perfumery, food, pharmaceutics, and
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Essential oils are complex mixtures of volatile components produced by the plant secondary metabolism and consist mainly of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes and, to a minor extent, of aromatic and aliphatic compounds. They are exploited in several fields such as perfumery, food, pharmaceutics, and cosmetics. Essential oils have long-standing uses in the treatment of infectious diseases and parasitosis in humans and animals. In this regard, their therapeutic potential against human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) has not been fully explored. In the present work, we have selected six medicinal and aromatic plants (Azadirachta indica, Aframomum melegueta, Aframomum daniellii, Clausena anisata, Dichrostachys cinerea, and Echinops giganteus) traditionally used in Cameroon to treat several disorders, including infections and parasitic diseases, and evaluated the activity of their essential oils against Trypanosma brucei TC221. Their selectivity was also determined with Balb/3T3 (mouse embryonic fibroblast cell line) cells as a reference. The results showed that the essential oils from A. indica, A. daniellii, and E. giganteus were the most active ones, with half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 15.21, 7.65, and 10.50 µg/mL, respectively. These essential oils were characterized by different chemical compounds such as sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, monoterpene hydrocarbons, and oxygenated sesquiterpenes. Some of their main components were assayed as well on T. brucei TC221, and their effects were linked to those of essential oils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Place of Birth and Sleep Duration: Analysis of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 738; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070738
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
While sleep disturbance has been related to a number of negative health outcomes, few studies have examined the relationship between place of birth and sleep duration among individuals living in the US. Data for 416,152 adult participants in the 2000–2013 National Health Interview
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While sleep disturbance has been related to a number of negative health outcomes, few studies have examined the relationship between place of birth and sleep duration among individuals living in the US. Data for 416,152 adult participants in the 2000–2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), who provided self-reported hours of sleep and place of birth were examined. Associations were explored between healthy sleep (7–8 h), referenced to unhealthy sleep (<7 or >8 h), and place of birth using multivariate logistic regression analysis. The mean age of the sample was 47.4 ± 0.03 years; 56% were female. Of the respondents, 61.5% reported experiencing healthy sleep, 81.5% reported being born in the US and 18.5% were foreign-born adults. Descriptive statistics revealed that Indian Subcontinent-born respondents (71.7%) were more likely to report healthy sleep compared to US-born respondents (OR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.37–1.71, p < 0.001), whereas African-born respondents (43.5%) were least likely to report healthy sleep (OR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.70–0.87, p < 0.001). These findings suggest that place of birth should be considered in the assessment of risk factors for unhealthy sleep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sleep Health)
Open AccessArticle Development of a New Microextraction Fiber Combined to On-Line Sample Stacking Capillary Electrophoresis UV Detection for Acidic Drugs Determination in Real Water Samples
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 739; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070739
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
A new analytical method coupling a (off-line) solid-phase microextraction with an on-line capillary electrophoresis (CE) sample enrichment technique was developed for the analysis of ketoprofen, naproxen and clofibric acid from water samples, which are known as contaminants of emerging concern in aquatic environments.
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A new analytical method coupling a (off-line) solid-phase microextraction with an on-line capillary electrophoresis (CE) sample enrichment technique was developed for the analysis of ketoprofen, naproxen and clofibric acid from water samples, which are known as contaminants of emerging concern in aquatic environments. New solid-phase microextraction fibers based on physical coupling of chromatographic supports onto epoxy glue coated needle were studied for the off-line preconcentration of these micropollutants. Identification and quantification of such acidic drugs were done by capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) using ultraviolet diode array detection (DAD). Further enhancement of concentration sensitivity detection was achieved by on-line CE “acetonitrile stacking” preconcentration technique. Among the eight chromatographic supports investigated, Porapak Q sorbent showed higher extraction and preconcentration capacities. The screening of parameters that influence the microextraction process was carried out using a two-level fractional factorial. Optimization of the most relevant parameters was then done through a surface response three-factor Box-Behnken design. The limits of detection and limits of quantification for the three drugs ranged between 0.96 and 1.27 µg∙L−1 and 2.91 and 3.86 µg∙L−1, respectively. Recovery yields of approximately 95 to 104% were measured. The developed method is simple, precise, accurate, and allows quantification of residues of these micropollutants in Genil River water samples using inexpensive fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Micro-Pollutants and Human Exposure)
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Open AccessArticle Do Inequalities in Neighborhood Walkability Drive Disparities in Older Adults’ Outdoor Walking?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 740; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070740
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 2 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
Older residents of high-deprivation areas walk less than those of low-deprivation areas. Previous research has shown that neighborhood built environment may support and encourage outdoor walking. The extent to which the built environment supports and encourages walking is called “walkability”. This study examines
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Older residents of high-deprivation areas walk less than those of low-deprivation areas. Previous research has shown that neighborhood built environment may support and encourage outdoor walking. The extent to which the built environment supports and encourages walking is called “walkability”. This study examines inequalities in neighborhood walkability in high- versus low-deprivation areas and their possible influences on disparities in older adults’ outdoor walking levels. For this purpose, it focuses on specific neighborhood built environment attributes (residential density, land-use mix and intensity, street connectivity, and retail density) relevant to neighborhood walkability. It applied a mixed-method approach, included 173 participants (≥65 years), and used a Geographic Information System (GIS) and walking interviews (with a sub-sample) to objectively and subjectively measure neighborhood built environment attributes. Outdoor walking levels were measured by using the Geographic Positioning System (GPS) technology. Data on personal characteristics was collected by completing a questionnaire. The results show that inequalities in certain land-use intensity (i.e., green spaces, recreation centers, schools and industries) in high- versus low-deprivation areas may influence disparities in older adults’ outdoor walking levels. Modifying neighborhood land use intensity may help to encourage outdoor walking in high-deprivation areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Influences on Physical Activity Behaviours)
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Open AccessArticle Vulnerability Reduction Needed to Maintain Current Burdens of Heat-Related Mortality in a Changing Climate—Magnitude and Determinants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 741; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070741
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 24 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
The health burden from heatwaves is expected to increase with rising global mean temperatures and more extreme heat events over the coming decades. Health-related effects from extreme heat are more common in elderly populations. The population of Europe is rapidly aging, which will
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The health burden from heatwaves is expected to increase with rising global mean temperatures and more extreme heat events over the coming decades. Health-related effects from extreme heat are more common in elderly populations. The population of Europe is rapidly aging, which will increase the health effects of future temperatures. In this study, we estimate the magnitude of adaptation needed to lower vulnerability to heat in order to prevent an increase in heat-related deaths in the 2050s; this is the Adaptive Risk Reduction (ARR) needed. Temperature projections under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5 from 18 climate models were coupled with gridded population data and exposure-response relationships from a European multi-city study on heat-related mortality. In the 2050s, the ARR for the general population is 53.5%, based on temperature projections under RCP 4.5. For the population above 65 years in Southern Europe, the ARR is projected to be 45.9% in a future with an unchanged climate and 74.7% with climate change under RCP 4.5. The ARRs were higher under RCP 8.5. Whichever emission scenario is followed or population projection assumed, Europe will need to adapt to a great degree to maintain heat-related mortality at present levels, which are themselves unacceptably high, posing an even greater challenge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Modelling for Public Health Research)
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Open AccessArticle Health Impact of PM10, PM2.5 and Black Carbon Exposure Due to Different Source Sectors in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Umea, Sweden
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 742; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070742
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
The most important anthropogenic sources of primary particulate matter (PM) in ambient air in Europe are exhaust and non-exhaust emissions from road traffic and combustion of solid biomass. There is convincing evidence that PM, almost regardless of source, has detrimental health effects. An
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The most important anthropogenic sources of primary particulate matter (PM) in ambient air in Europe are exhaust and non-exhaust emissions from road traffic and combustion of solid biomass. There is convincing evidence that PM, almost regardless of source, has detrimental health effects. An important issue in health impact assessments is what metric, indicator and exposure-response function to use for different types of PM. The aim of this study is to describe sectorial contributions to PM exposure and related premature mortality for three Swedish cities: Gothenburg, Stockholm and Umea. Exposure is calculated with high spatial resolution using atmospheric dispersion models. Attributed premature mortality is calculated separately for the main local sources and the contribution from long-range transport (LRT), applying different relative risks. In general, the main part of the exposure is due to LRT, while for black carbon, the local sources are equally or more important. The major part of the premature deaths is in our assessment related to local emissions, with road traffic and residential wood combustion having the largest impact. This emphasizes the importance to resolve within-city concentration gradients when assessing exposure. It also implies that control actions on local PM emissions have a strong potential in abatement strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Modelling for Public Health Research)
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Open AccessArticle In Vitro Evaluation of the Inhibitory Activity of Thymoquinone in Combatting Candida albicans in Denture Stomatitis Prevention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 743; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070743
Received: 11 June 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 8 July 2017
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Abstract
Candida albicans adhesion and proliferation on denture bases may lead to denture stomatitis, which is a common and recurrent problem in denture wearers. The goal of this study was to assess the inhibitory effect of thymoquinone incorporated in the polymethyl methacrylate denture base
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Candida albicans adhesion and proliferation on denture bases may lead to denture stomatitis, which is a common and recurrent problem in denture wearers. The goal of this study was to assess the inhibitory effect of thymoquinone incorporated in the polymethyl methacrylate denture base material against Candida albicans. Eighty acrylic resin specimens were fabricated and divided into eight groups (n = 10) according to thymoquinone concentrations of 0.5%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, 2.5%, 3%, and 5% of acrylic powder. Two methods were used to evaluate the effect of thymoquinone on Candida albicans: the slide count and the serial dilution test. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and the post-hoc Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test were performed to compare the difference of means between the observations taken at various intervals with baseline. The p value was statistically significant at ≤0.05. According to the slide count and the serial dilution test, the mean number of adhered Candida albicans in the control group was 5436.9 ± 266 and 4691.4 ± 176.8; however, this number dramatically decreased to 0 ± 0 and 32.4 ± 1.7 in group 8 (concentration 5%). These results suggest that the incorporation of thymoquinone into the acrylic resin denture base material might be effective in preventing Candida albicans adhesion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Adoption of Clean Cookstoves after Improved Solid Fuel Stove Programme Exposure: A Cross-Sectional Study in Three Peruvian Andean Regions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 745; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070745
Received: 8 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 8 July 2017
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Abstract
This study examined measures of clean cookstove adoption after improved solid fuel stove programmes in three geographically and culturally diverse rural Andean settings and explored factors associated with these measures. A questionnaire was administered to 1200 households on stove use and cooking behaviours
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This study examined measures of clean cookstove adoption after improved solid fuel stove programmes in three geographically and culturally diverse rural Andean settings and explored factors associated with these measures. A questionnaire was administered to 1200 households on stove use and cooking behaviours including previously defined factors associated with clean cookstove adoption. Logistic multivariable regressions with 16 pre-specified explanatory variables were performed for three outcomes; (1) daily improved solid fuel stove use, (2) use of liquefied petroleum gas stove and (3) traditional stove displacement. Eighty-seven percent of households reported daily improved solid fuel stove use, 51% liquefied petroleum gas stove use and 66% no longer used the traditional cookstove. Variables associated with one or more of the three outcomes are: education, age and civil status of the reporting female, household wealth and size, region, encounters of problems with the improved solid fuel stove, knowledge of somebody able to build an improved solid fuel stove, whether stove parts are obtainable in the community, and subsidy schemes. We conclude that to be successful, improved solid fuel stove programmes need to consider (1) existing household characteristics, (2) the household’s need for ready access to maintenance and repair, and (3) improved knowledge at the community level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Open AccessArticle Birth Trends among Female Physicians in Taiwan: A Nationwide Survey from 1996 to 2013
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 746; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070746
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 9 July 2017
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Abstract
Background: Although more and more women are becoming physicians, their decisions regarding pregnancy may be affected by the lengthy period of medical education and postgraduate training. The aim of this study was to explore the birth trends among female physicians in Taiwan;
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Background: Although more and more women are becoming physicians, their decisions regarding pregnancy may be affected by the lengthy period of medical education and postgraduate training. The aim of this study was to explore the birth trends among female physicians in Taiwan; Methods: Retrospective analyses of maternal ages at delivery from 1996 to 2013, both for physicians and the general population, were conducted using a nationwide dataset called National Health Insurance Research Database; Results: During the study period, 8540 female physicians were identified. The physicians delivered a total of 4940 births in that time, with a rise from 210 in 1996 to 440 in 2013. In addition, the mean maternal age of the physicians at delivery increased from 32.19 years (standard deviations (SD) 2.80) in 1996 to 33.61 (SD 3.21) in 2013, values significantly higher than those for non-physicians of 27.81 (SD 4.74) in 1996 (p < 0.001) and 31.36 (SD 4.78) in 2013 (p < 0.001); Conclusion: Female physicians usually gave birth at an older age than non-physicians, but the discrepancy between the two groups gradually declined over the 18-year course of the study. The establishment of a maternity-friendly environment for female physicians should be considered by those who determine healthcare system policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Disinfection of the Water Borne Pathogens Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus by Solar Photocatalysis Using Sonochemically Synthesized Reusable Ag@ZnO Core-Shell Nanoparticles
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 747; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070747
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
Water borne pathogens present a threat to human health and their disinfection from water poses a challenge, prompting the search for newer methods and newer materials. Disinfection of the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli and the Gram-positive coccal bacterium Staphylococcus aureus in an aqueous
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Water borne pathogens present a threat to human health and their disinfection from water poses a challenge, prompting the search for newer methods and newer materials. Disinfection of the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli and the Gram-positive coccal bacterium Staphylococcus aureus in an aqueous matrix was achieved within 60 and 90 min, respectively, at 35 °C using solar-photocatalysis mediated by sonochemically synthesized Ag@ZnO core-shell nanoparticles. The efficiency of the process increased with the increase in temperature and at 55 °C the disinfection for the two bacteria could be achieved in 45 and 60 min, respectively. A new ultrasound-assisted chemical precipitation technique was used for the synthesis of Ag@ZnO core-shell nanoparticles. The characteristics of the synthesized material were established using physical techniques. The material remained stable even at 400 °C. Disinfection efficiency of the Ag@ZnO core-shell nanoparticles was confirmed in the case of real world samples of pond, river, municipal tap water and was found to be better than that of pure ZnO and TiO2 (Degussa P25). When the nanoparticle- based catalyst was recycled and reused for subsequent disinfection experiments, its efficiency did not change remarkably, even after three cycles. The sonochemically synthesized Ag@ZnO core-shell nanoparticles thus have a good potential for application in solar photocatalytic disinfection of water borne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobials and Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Post-Disaster Food and Nutrition from Urban Agriculture: A Self-Sufficiency Analysis of Nerima Ward, Tokyo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 748; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070748
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
Background: Post-earthquake studies from around the world have reported that survivors relying on emergency food for prolonged periods of time experienced several dietary related health problems. The present study aimed to quantify the potential nutrient production of urban agricultural vegetables and the
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Background: Post-earthquake studies from around the world have reported that survivors relying on emergency food for prolonged periods of time experienced several dietary related health problems. The present study aimed to quantify the potential nutrient production of urban agricultural vegetables and the resulting nutritional self-sufficiency throughout the year for mitigating post-disaster situations. Methods: We estimated the vegetable production of urban agriculture throughout the year. Two methods were developed to capture the production from professional and hobby farms: Method I utilized secondary governmental data on agricultural production from professional farms, and Method II was based on a supplementary spatial analysis to estimate the production from hobby farms. Next, the weight of produced vegetables [t] was converted into nutrients [kg]. Furthermore, the self-sufficiency by nutrient and time of year was estimated by incorporating the reference consumption of vegetables [kg], recommended dietary allowance of nutrients per capita [mg], and population statistics. The research was conducted in Nerima, the second most populous ward of Tokyo’s 23 special wards. Self-sufficiency rates were calculated with the registered residents. Results: The estimated total vegetable production of 5660 tons was equivalent to a weight-based self-sufficiency rate of 6.18%. The average nutritional self-sufficiencies of Methods I and II were 2.48% and 0.38%, respectively, resulting in an aggregated average of 2.86%. Fluctuations throughout the year were observed according to the harvest seasons of the available crops. Vitamin K (6.15%) had the highest self-sufficiency of selected nutrients, while calcium had the lowest (0.96%). Conclusions: This study suggests that depending on the time of year, urban agriculture has the potential to contribute nutrients to diets during post-disaster situations as disaster preparedness food. Emergency responses should be targeted according to the time of year the disaster takes place to meet nutrient requirements in periods of low self-sufficiency and prevent gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiovascular diseases among survivors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health and Disasters)
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Open AccessArticle Challenges and Opportunities for Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation into WaSH Development Planning in Ghana
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 749; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070749
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
Climate change threatens water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) facilities and services, as these are intimately linked to the water cycle and are vulnerable to changes in the quantity and quality of available water resources. Floods and droughts, which pollute and reduce water delivery
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Climate change threatens water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) facilities and services, as these are intimately linked to the water cycle and are vulnerable to changes in the quantity and quality of available water resources. Floods and droughts, which pollute and reduce water delivery respectively, have now become a perennial issue to deal with in the northern regions of Ghana. This study aimed to assess the degree to which climate change adaptation measures are mainstreamed into the water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) development planning process in Ghana. Stakeholders from government and non-government agencies were interviewed to gain perspectives on the threat of climate change, the inclusion of climate change in WaSH planning and the barriers preventing mainstreaming. Despite awareness of climate change, adaptation measures have not been considered, and the immediate WaSH needs remain the priority. Overall, stakeholders felt the adaptive capacity of the Municipality was low and that mainstreaming has not yet occurred. Despite the lack of progress, there are great opportunities for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into planning through increasing awareness and capacity, legislative and institutional changes and the development of participatory systems to provide early warning systems and disaster risk analyses that will inform future planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Potential of Land Use Modification to Mitigate Ambient NO2 and Its Consequences for Respiratory Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 750; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070750
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
Understanding how local land use and land cover (LULC) shapes intra-urban concentrations of atmospheric pollutants—and thus human health—is a key component in designing healthier cities. Here, NO2 is modeled based on spatially dense summer and winter NO2 observations in Portland-Hillsboro-Vancouver (USA),
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Understanding how local land use and land cover (LULC) shapes intra-urban concentrations of atmospheric pollutants—and thus human health—is a key component in designing healthier cities. Here, NO2 is modeled based on spatially dense summer and winter NO2 observations in Portland-Hillsboro-Vancouver (USA), and the spatial variation of NO2 with LULC investigated using random forest, an ensemble data learning technique. The NO2 random forest model, together with BenMAP, is further used to develop a better understanding of the relationship among LULC, ambient NO2 and respiratory health. The impact of land use modifications on ambient NO2, and consequently on respiratory health, is also investigated using a sensitivity analysis. We find that NO2 associated with roadways and tree-canopied areas may be affecting annual incidence rates of asthma exacerbation in 4–12 year olds by +3000 per 100,000 and −1400 per 100,000, respectively. Our model shows that increasing local tree canopy by 5% may reduce local incidences rates of asthma exacerbation by 6%, indicating that targeted local tree-planting efforts may have a substantial impact on reducing city-wide incidence of respiratory distress. Our findings demonstrate the utility of random forest modeling in evaluating LULC modifications for enhanced respiratory health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Cell Surface Markers Expression in Postmenopausal Women and Relation to Obesity and Bone Status
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 751; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070751
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
The age-related changes and hormonal deprivation in postmenopausal women are associated with the immune response alteration. The excessive fat accumulation, local and systemic inflammation may lead to dysregulation in immune function and relevant health problems, including obesity and osteoporosis. We analyzed the expression
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The age-related changes and hormonal deprivation in postmenopausal women are associated with the immune response alteration. The excessive fat accumulation, local and systemic inflammation may lead to dysregulation in immune function and relevant health problems, including obesity and osteoporosis. We analyzed the expression of cell surface markers in the venous blood specimens, stained with fluorophores-conjugated monoclonal antibodies and analysed by multicolour flow cytometry. The significant changes of cytotoxic, naive, and memory T-lymphocytes, plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DCs) were in postmenopausal women versus fertile women. Body mass index (BMI) affected markedly the cell surface expression of CD265/RANK. Osteoporosis is linked to reduced percentage of plasmacytoid DCs, and elevated natural Treg cells (p < 0.05). The confounding factors such as women age, BMI, bone mineral density (BMD), waist size and tissue fat affect the expression of RANK on myeloid DCs and CD40L on T-lymphocytes that might be the immunophenotypic modulators after menopause. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
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Open AccessArticle Physical and Emotional Benefits of Different Exercise Environments Designed for Treadmill Running
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 752; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070752
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
(1) Background: Green physical activity promotes physical health and mental wellbeing and interesting questions concern effects of this information on designing indoor exercise environments. This study examined the physical and emotional effects of different nature-based environments designed for indoor treadmill running; (2) Methods:
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(1) Background: Green physical activity promotes physical health and mental wellbeing and interesting questions concern effects of this information on designing indoor exercise environments. This study examined the physical and emotional effects of different nature-based environments designed for indoor treadmill running; (2) Methods: In a counterbalanced experimental design, 30 participants performed three, twenty-minute treadmill runs at a self-selected pace while viewing either a static nature image, a dynamic nature image or self-selected entertainment. Distance ran, heart rate (HR) and five pre-and post-exercise emotional states were measured; (3) Results: Participants ran farther, and with higher HRs, with self-selected entertainment compared to the two nature-based environment designs. Participants attained lowered anger, dejection, anxiety and increased excitement post exercise in all of the designed environments. Happiness increased during the two nature-based environment designs compared with self-selected entertainment; (4) Conclusions: Self-selected entertainment encouraged greater physical performances whereas running in nature-based exercise environments elicited greater happiness immediately after running. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evidence-Based Nature Therapy: Advances in Physiological Evaluation)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Wind Farm Noise on Local Residents’ Decision to Adopt Mitigation Measures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 753; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070753
Received: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 6 June 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
Wind turbines’ noise is frequently pointed out as the reason for local communities’ objection to the installation of wind farms. The literature suggests that local residents feel annoyed by such noise and that, in many instances, this is significant enough to make them
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Wind turbines’ noise is frequently pointed out as the reason for local communities’ objection to the installation of wind farms. The literature suggests that local residents feel annoyed by such noise and that, in many instances, this is significant enough to make them adopt noise-abatement interventions on their homes. Aiming at characterizing the relationship between wind turbine noise, annoyance, and mitigating actions, we propose a novel conceptual framework. The proposed framework posits that actual sound pressure levels of wind turbines determine individual homes’ noise-abatement decisions; in addition, the framework analyzes the role that self-reported annoyance, and perception of noise levels, plays on the relationship between actual noise pressure levels and those decisions. The application of this framework to a particular case study shows that noise perception and annoyance constitutes a link between the two. Importantly, however, noise also directly affects people’s decision to adopt mitigating measures, independently of the reported annoyance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Body Shape and Weight Loss as Motivators for Breastfeeding Initiation and Continuation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 754; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070754
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
Breastfeeding rates in the UK are low. Efforts to promote breastfeeding typically include the known health benefits for mother and child, many of which are not immediate. Gaining immediate benefits can be effective motivators of behaviour. Body-related changes resulting from breastfeeding could be
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Breastfeeding rates in the UK are low. Efforts to promote breastfeeding typically include the known health benefits for mother and child, many of which are not immediate. Gaining immediate benefits can be effective motivators of behaviour. Body-related changes resulting from breastfeeding could be an immediate benefit. This study explored breastfeeding mothers’ reports of body-related changes as benefits of breastfeeding. Mothers (N = 182) who currently, or had recently, breastfed an infant completed a survey detailing their infant feeding choices and the perceived benefits of breastfeeding on their bodies. Half of the mothers felt that breastfeeding had a positive effect on their body. Benefits were grouped into five themes: (1) Returning to pre-pregnancy body shape; (2) Health benefits; (3) Physical benefits; (4) Eating benefits; (5) Psychological benefits. These themes highlight the numerous body-related benefits that mothers identified as resulting from breastfeeding and suggest that immediate, personal, and appearance-related gains of breastfeeding are highly valued. These findings indicate that interventions would likely benefit from emphasising the more immediate physical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding, alongside the health and bonding benefits, as a way to promote breastfeeding initiation and continuation in more women. This may be particularly effective for groups such as young mothers, where breastfeeding rates are low and whose emphasis on body image may be greater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Assessing Women’s Negative Sanitation Experiences and Concerns: The Development of a Novel Sanitation Insecurity Measure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 755; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070755
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
Lack of access to acceptable sanitation facilities can expose individuals, particularly women, to physical, social, and mental health risks. While some of the challenges have been documented, standard metrics are needed to determine the extent to which women have urination- and defecation-related concerns
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Lack of access to acceptable sanitation facilities can expose individuals, particularly women, to physical, social, and mental health risks. While some of the challenges have been documented, standard metrics are needed to determine the extent to which women have urination- and defecation-related concerns and negative experiences. Such metrics also are needed to assess the effectiveness of interventions to mitigate them. We developed a sanitation insecurity measure to capture the range and frequency of women’s sanitation-related concerns and negative experiences. Research was conducted in rural Odisha, India with women across various life course stages to reflect a range of perspectives. This paper documents the mixed data collection methods and the exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses we employed to arrive at a final measure. The final sanitation insecurity measure includes 50 items across seven factors that reflect the physical environment, the social environment, and individual-level constraints. Most factor scores were significantly higher for unmarried women and for women who lacked access to functional latrines, indicating social and environmental influence on experiences. This measure will enable researchers to evaluate how sanitation insecurity affects health and to determine if and how sanitation interventions ameliorate women’s concerns and negative experiences associated with sanitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Knowledge of and Attitudes to Influenza Vaccination among Community Pharmacists in Catalonia (Spain). 2013–2014 Season: A Cross Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 756; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070756
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
Annual recommendations on influenza seasonal vaccination include community pharmacists, who have low vaccination coverage. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between influenza vaccination in community pharmacists and their knowledge of and attitudes to vaccination. An online cross-sectional survey of
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Annual recommendations on influenza seasonal vaccination include community pharmacists, who have low vaccination coverage. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between influenza vaccination in community pharmacists and their knowledge of and attitudes to vaccination. An online cross-sectional survey of community pharmacists in Catalonia, Spain, was conducted between September and November 2014. Sociodemographic, professional and clinical variables, the history of influenza vaccination and knowledge of and attitudes to influenza and seasonal influenza vaccination were collected. The survey response rate was 7.33% (506 out of 6906); responses from 463 community pharmacists were included in the final analyses. Analyses were performed using multivariable logistic regression models and stepwise backward selection method for variable selection. The influenza vaccination coverage in season 2013–2014 was 25.1%. There was an association between vaccination and correct knowledge of the virus responsible for epidemics (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) = 1.74; 95% CI 1.03–2.95), recommending vaccination in the postpartum (aOR = 3.63; 95% CI 2.01–6.55) and concern about infecting their clients (aOR = 5.27; 95% CI 1.88–14.76). In conclusion, community pharmacists have a very low influenza vaccination coverage, are not very willing to recommend vaccination to all their customers but they are concerned about infecting their clients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Positive Emotional Effects of Leisure in Green Spaces in Alleviating Work–Family Spillover in Working Mothers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 757; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070757
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
Studies have shown that family and work spillover affects well-being and that leisure activities can alleviate the negative effects of work-related stress on health. However, few studies have focused on investigating the effects of specific leisure activities among specific populations. To examine whether
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Studies have shown that family and work spillover affects well-being and that leisure activities can alleviate the negative effects of work-related stress on health. However, few studies have focused on investigating the effects of specific leisure activities among specific populations. To examine whether leisure activities in green spaces can promote individual recovery processes and alleviate the effects of work and family spillover on positive emotions, this study applied the effort-recovery model to a population of working mothers. Through online and paper questionnaires, sample data were collected from 221 working mothers in Taiwan. Structural equation modeling was used to test the experimental hypothesis, and mediation analysis was used to determine whether leisure in green spaces is a mediating factor. The results indicated that leisure in green spaces is a mediator of the relationship of negative work and family spillover with positive emotions. In addition, strolls and park visits were found to provide greater psychological benefits to working mothers, compared with picnics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating Childhood Vaccination Coverage of NIP Vaccines: Coverage Survey versus Zhejiang Provincial Immunization Information System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 758; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070758
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
Vaccination coverage in Zhejiang province, east China, is evaluated through repeated coverage surveys. The Zhejiang provincial immunization information system (ZJIIS) was established in 2004 with links to all immunization clinics. ZJIIS has become an alternative to quickly assess the vaccination coverage. To assess
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Vaccination coverage in Zhejiang province, east China, is evaluated through repeated coverage surveys. The Zhejiang provincial immunization information system (ZJIIS) was established in 2004 with links to all immunization clinics. ZJIIS has become an alternative to quickly assess the vaccination coverage. To assess the current completeness and accuracy on the vaccination coverage derived from ZJIIS, we compared the estimates from ZJIIS with the estimates from the most recent provincial coverage survey in 2014, which combined interview data with verified data from ZJIIS. Of the enrolled 2772 children in the 2014 provincial survey, the proportions of children with vaccination cards and registered in ZJIIS were 94.0% and 87.4%, respectively. Coverage estimates from ZJIIS were systematically higher than the corresponding estimates obtained through the survey, with a mean difference of 4.5%. Of the vaccination doses registered in ZJIIS, 16.7% differed from the date recorded in the corresponding vaccination cards. Under-registration in ZJIIS significantly influenced the coverage estimates derived from ZJIIS. Therefore, periodic coverage surveys currently provide more complete and reliable results than the estimates based on ZJIIS alone. However, further improvement of completeness and accuracy of ZJIIS will likely allow more reliable and timely estimates in future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Is the Grass Always Greener in Suburban Neighborhoods? Outdoors Play in Suburban and Inner-City Neighborhoods
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 759; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070759
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
Children’s outdoors play (OP) is an important source of physical activity that has been decreasing in recent years due to changes in neighborhood design, parent safety concerns and child sedentary leisure. However, few studies examined such determinants from children’s perspectives. This study explores
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Children’s outdoors play (OP) is an important source of physical activity that has been decreasing in recent years due to changes in neighborhood design, parent safety concerns and child sedentary leisure. However, few studies examined such determinants from children’s perspectives. This study explores environmental and socio-cultural aspects of children’s OP using a qualitative and quantitative approach. Data was collected in two phases: (1) a survey on OP and related variables among 5th and 6th graders (10–12 years old) (n = 573); and (2) a mapping activity and semi-structured interview among a subsample of the survey (n = 80). The most common locations for routine OP were parks (40%) followed by public facilities (26%) and streets (17%). OP was significantly associated with perceived environment, independent mobility and gender, but not with neighborhood type. Inner-city participants reported a higher number and greater variety of OP areas (23 vs. 14). Three main barriers of OP were identified—low quality and poorly maintained play areas, other people in public spaces, and social norms that undermine OP. Thus, in order to encourage routine OP, environmental change to create safe and attractive OP settings should be accompanied by community interventions to enhance social norms that are supportive of OP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Influences on Physical Activity Behaviours)
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Open AccessArticle Progress Evaluation for the Restaurant Industry Assessed by a Voluntary Marketing-Mix and Choice-Architecture Framework That Offers Strategies to Nudge American Customers toward Healthy Food Environments, 2006–2017
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 760; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070760
Received: 21 May 2017 / Revised: 1 July 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
Consumption of restaurant food and beverage products high in fat, sugar and sodium contribute to obesity and non-communicable diseases. We evaluated restaurant-sector progress to promote healthy food environments for Americans. We conducted a desk review of seven electronic databases (January 2006–January 2017) to
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Consumption of restaurant food and beverage products high in fat, sugar and sodium contribute to obesity and non-communicable diseases. We evaluated restaurant-sector progress to promote healthy food environments for Americans. We conducted a desk review of seven electronic databases (January 2006–January 2017) to examine restaurant strategies used to promote healthful options in the United States (U.S.). Evidence selection (n = 84) was guided by the LEAD principles (i.e., locate, evaluate, and assemble evidence to inform decisions) and verified by data and investigator triangulation. A marketing-mix and choice-architecture framework was used to examine eight voluntary strategies (i.e., place, profile, portion, pricing, promotion, healthy default picks, priming or prompting and proximity) to evaluate progress (i.e., no, limited, some or extensive) toward 12 performance metrics based on available published evidence. The U.S. restaurant sector has made limited progress to use pricing, profile (reformulation), healthy default picks (choices), promotion (responsible marketing) and priming and prompting (information and labeling); and some progress to reduce portions. No evidence was available to assess progress for place (ambience) and proximity (positioning) to promote healthy choices during the 10-year review period. Chain and non-chain restaurants can apply comprehensive marketing-mix and nudge strategies to promote healthy food environments for customers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Environment, Diet, and Health)
Open AccessArticle Impact of First Aid on Treatment Outcomes for Non-Fatal Injuries in Rural Bangladesh: Findings from an Injury and Demographic Census
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 762; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070762
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
Non-fatal injuries have a significant impact on disability, productivity, and economic cost, and first-aid can play an important role in improving non-fatal injury outcomes. Data collected from a census conducted as part of a drowning prevention project in Bangladesh was used to quantify
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Non-fatal injuries have a significant impact on disability, productivity, and economic cost, and first-aid can play an important role in improving non-fatal injury outcomes. Data collected from a census conducted as part of a drowning prevention project in Bangladesh was used to quantify the impact of first-aid provided by trained and untrained providers on non-fatal injuries. The census covered approximately 1.2 million people from 7 sub-districts of Bangladesh. Around 10% individuals reported an injury event in the six-month recall period. The most common injuries were falls (39%) and cuts injuries (23.4%). Overall, 81.7% of those with non-fatal injuries received first aid from a provider of whom 79.9% were non-medically trained. Individuals who received first-aid from a medically trained provider had more severe injuries and were 1.28 times more likely to show improvement or recover compared to those who received first-aid from an untrained provider. In Bangladesh, first-aid for non-fatal injuries are primarily provided by untrained providers. Given the large number of untrained providers and the known benefits of first aid to overcome morbidities associated with non-fatal injuries, public health interventions should be designed and implemented to train and improve skills of untrained providers. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication Constancy and Change: Key Issues in Housing and Health Research, 1987–2017
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 763; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070763
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
The low impact of scientific research on the relations between housing and health during the last 30 years can be attributed to a number of reasons. First, statistical analyses have meant to improve understanding of the relations between what are interpreted and measured
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The low impact of scientific research on the relations between housing and health during the last 30 years can be attributed to a number of reasons. First, statistical analyses have meant to improve understanding of the relations between what are interpreted and measured as causal factors. However, any single statistical approach fails to account for the dynamic non-linear relations between multiple factors and therefore cannot analyze systemic complexity. Second, there has been too little accumulation and validation of knowledge from scientific research owing to the dominance of cross-sectional studies, and the lack of coordinated research agendas using these approaches in order to confirm empirical findings. Hence, there is little evidence indicating that public policies in both the housing and the public health sectors in specific localities have benefited from the accumulated evidence of empirical research. Third, the findings from empirical studies have been published in academic journals and monographs but rarely disseminated to actors and institutions in the public and private sectors. Hence housing and health research and policy formulation have not been consolidated during the last three decades. The author of this communication argues for a radical shift from conventional disciplinary and multi-disciplinary contributions to transdisciplinary research programmes and projects that formulate and apply innovative approaches founded on conceptual frameworks that apply systems thinking for the integration of knowledge and know-how of researchers, policy makers, and professional practitioners in precise localities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing and Health)
Open AccessArticle Day-Ahead PM2.5 Concentration Forecasting Using WT-VMD Based Decomposition Method and Back Propagation Neural Network Improved by Differential Evolution
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 764; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070764
Received: 11 May 2017 / Revised: 1 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
Accurate PM2.5 concentration forecasting is crucial for protecting public health and atmospheric environment. However, the intermittent and unstable nature of PM2.5 concentration series makes its forecasting become a very difficult task. In order to improve the forecast accuracy of PM2.5
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Accurate PM2.5 concentration forecasting is crucial for protecting public health and atmospheric environment. However, the intermittent and unstable nature of PM2.5 concentration series makes its forecasting become a very difficult task. In order to improve the forecast accuracy of PM2.5 concentration, this paper proposes a hybrid model based on wavelet transform (WT), variational mode decomposition (VMD) and back propagation (BP) neural network optimized by differential evolution (DE) algorithm. Firstly, WT is employed to disassemble the PM2.5 concentration series into a number of subsets with different frequencies. Secondly, VMD is applied to decompose each subset into a set of variational modes (VMs). Thirdly, DE-BP model is utilized to forecast all the VMs. Fourthly, the forecast value of each subset is obtained through aggregating the forecast results of all the VMs obtained from VMD decomposition of this subset. Finally, the final forecast series of PM2.5 concentration is obtained by adding up the forecast values of all subsets. Two PM2.5 concentration series collected from Wuhan and Tianjin, respectively, located in China are used to test the effectiveness of the proposed model. The results demonstrate that the proposed model outperforms all the other considered models in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Modeling Nitrogen Dynamics in a Waste Stabilization Pond System Using Flexible Modeling Environment with MCMC
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 765; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070765
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 2 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
This study presents an approach for obtaining realization sets of parameters for nitrogen removal in a pilot-scale waste stabilization pond (WSP) system. The proposed approach was designed for optimal parameterization, local sensitivity analysis, and global uncertainty analysis of a dynamic simulation model for
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This study presents an approach for obtaining realization sets of parameters for nitrogen removal in a pilot-scale waste stabilization pond (WSP) system. The proposed approach was designed for optimal parameterization, local sensitivity analysis, and global uncertainty analysis of a dynamic simulation model for the WSP by using the R software package Flexible Modeling Environment (R-FME) with the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. Additionally, generalized likelihood uncertainty estimation (GLUE) was integrated into the FME to evaluate the major parameters that affect the simulation outputs in the study WSP. Comprehensive modeling analysis was used to simulate and assess nine parameters and concentrations of ON-N, NH3-N and NO3-N. Results indicate that the integrated FME-GLUE-based model, with good Nash–Sutcliffe coefficients (0.53–0.69) and correlation coefficients (0.76–0.83), successfully simulates the concentrations of ON-N, NH3-N and NO3-N. Moreover, the Arrhenius constant was the only parameter sensitive to model performances of ON-N and NH3-N simulations. However, Nitrosomonas growth rate, the denitrification constant, and the maximum growth rate at 20 °C were sensitive to ON-N and NO3-N simulation, which was measured using global sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Urban Green Space Perception and Its Contribution to Well-Being
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 766; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070766
Received: 11 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
Individual perceptions are essential when evaluating the well-being benefits from urban green spaces. This study predicted the influence of perceived green space characteristics in the city of Szeged, Hungary, on two well-being variables: the green space visitors’ level of satisfaction and the self-reported
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Individual perceptions are essential when evaluating the well-being benefits from urban green spaces. This study predicted the influence of perceived green space characteristics in the city of Szeged, Hungary, on two well-being variables: the green space visitors’ level of satisfaction and the self-reported quality of life. The applied logistic regression analysis used nine predictors: seven perceived green space characteristics from a questionnaire survey among visitors of five urban green spaces of Szeged; and the frequency of green space visitors’ crowd-sourced recreational running paths and photographs picturing green space aesthetics. Results revealed that perceived green space characteristics with direct well-being benefits were strong predictors of both dependent variables. Perceived green space characteristics with indirect, yet fundamental, well-being benefits, namely, regulating ecosystem services had minor influence on the dependent variables. The crowd-sourced geo-tagged data predicted only the perceived quality of life contributions; but revealed spatial patterns of recreational green space use and aesthetics. This study recommends that regulating ecosystem services should be planned with a focus on residents’ aesthetic and recreational needs. Further research on the combination of green space visitors´ perceptions and crowd-sourced geo-tagged data is suggested to promote planning for well-being and health benefits of urban green spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Investigation, Pollution Mapping and Simulative Leakage Health Risk Assessment for Heavy Metals and Metalloids in Groundwater from a Typical Brownfield, Middle China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 768; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070768
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
Heavy metal and metalloid (Cr, Pb, Cd, Zn, Cu, Ni, As and Hg) concentrations in groundwater from 19 typical sites throughout a typical brownfield were detected. Mean concentrations of toxic metals in groundwater decreased in the order of Cr > Zn > Cu
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Heavy metal and metalloid (Cr, Pb, Cd, Zn, Cu, Ni, As and Hg) concentrations in groundwater from 19 typical sites throughout a typical brownfield were detected. Mean concentrations of toxic metals in groundwater decreased in the order of Cr > Zn > Cu > Cd > Ni > Pb > Hg > As. Concentration of Cr6+ in groundwater was detected to further study chromium contamination. Cr6+ and Cd in groundwater were recommended as the priority pollutants because they were generally 1399-fold and 12-foldgreater than permissible limits, respectively. Owing to the fact that a waterproof curtain (WPC) in the brownfield is about to pass the warranty period, a steady two-dimensional water quality model and health risk assessment were applied to simulate and evaluate adverse effects of Cr6 + and Cd on the water quality of Xiangjiang River and the drinking-water intake of Wangcheng Waterworks. The results indicated that when groundwater in the brownfield leaked with valid curtain prevention, the water quality in Xiangjiang River and drinking-water intake downstream were temporarily unaffected. However, if there was no curtain prevention, groundwater leakage would have adverse impact on water quality of Xiangjiang River. Under the requirements of Class III surface water quality, the pollution belt for Cr6+ was 7500 m and 200 m for Cd. The non-carcinogenic risk of toxic metals in Xiangjiang River exceeded the threshold in a limited area, but did not threaten Wangcheng Waterworks. By contrast, the carcinogenic risk area for adults was at a transverse distance of 200 m and a longitudinal distance of 18,000 m, which was close to the Wangcheng Waterworks (23,000 m). Therefore, it was essential to reconstruct the WPC in the brownfield for preventing pollution diffusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health, Risk Analysis and Environmental Hazards)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Promotional Materials on Attitudes and Fear towards Colorectal Cancer Screening among Chinese Older Adults: An Experimental Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 769; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070769
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is a cost-effective prevention and control strategy. However, the promotion of CRC screening for older adults may be difficult because reading CRC prevention information may evoke embarrassment, fear, and anxiety towards the screening procedure and cancer diagnosis. This study
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Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is a cost-effective prevention and control strategy. However, the promotion of CRC screening for older adults may be difficult because reading CRC prevention information may evoke embarrassment, fear, and anxiety towards the screening procedure and cancer diagnosis. This study aims to (1) examine the effects of three promotional materials for CRC screening on the attitudes toward CRC screening tests (screening interest, screening effectiveness, and trust in the screening results) and cancer fear, and (2) to explore the interaction effect of cancer fear with screening effectiveness and trust in the screening results on screening interest of the three screening tests (fecal occult blood test (FOBT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy) among Chinese older adults. A total of 114 community-dwelling older adults were asked to look at the corresponding promotional materials (pamphlet, cartoon, and video) of one of the three study groups. The pamphlet and video represent convention strategies and the cartoon represents an innovative strategy. No significant difference was observed in the screening interest and cancer fear across groups. FOBT was the most preferred screening modality. The video group has a large proportion agreed screening effectiveness of flexible sigmoidoscopy than pamphlet and cartoon groups and trusted in the screening results for FOBT and flexible sigmoidoscopy than the pamphlet group. Logistic regression results showed that the effect of trust in the screening results on screening interest for colonoscopy was greater among participants with higher cancer fear than those with lower cancer fear level. In conclusion, the three promotional groups had produced similar results in their attitudes toward CRC screening and cancer fear. The use of cartoons may be a comparable approach with conventional methods in the promotion of CRC screening. Additional components that can arouse fear and boost response efficacy simultaneously might also be useful for the effective promotion of colonoscopy among Chinese older adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle Synchronization of Human Autonomic Nervous System Rhythms with Geomagnetic Activity in Human Subjects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 770; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070770
Received: 3 June 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
A coupling between geomagnetic activity and the human nervous system’s function was identified by virtue of continuous monitoring of heart rate variability (HRV) and the time-varying geomagnetic field over a 31-day period in a group of 10 individuals who went about their normal
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A coupling between geomagnetic activity and the human nervous system’s function was identified by virtue of continuous monitoring of heart rate variability (HRV) and the time-varying geomagnetic field over a 31-day period in a group of 10 individuals who went about their normal day-to-day lives. A time series correlation analysis identified a response of the group’s autonomic nervous systems to various dynamic changes in the solar, cosmic ray, and ambient magnetic field. Correlation coefficients and p values were calculated between the HRV variables and environmental measures during three distinct time periods of environmental activity. There were significant correlations between the group’s HRV and solar wind speed, Kp, Ap, solar radio flux, cosmic ray counts, Schumann resonance power, and the total variations in the magnetic field. In addition, the time series data were time synchronized and normalized, after which all circadian rhythms were removed. It was found that the participants’ HRV rhythms synchronized across the 31-day period at a period of approximately 2.5 days, even though all participants were in separate locations. Overall, this suggests that daily autonomic nervous system activity not only responds to changes in solar and geomagnetic activity, but is synchronized with the time-varying magnetic fields associated with geomagnetic field-line resonances and Schumann resonances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Green Streets: Urban Green and Birth Outcomes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 771; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070771
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
Recent scholarship points to a protective association between green space and birth outcomes as well a positive relationship between blue space and wellbeing. We add to this body of literature by exploring the relationship between expectant mothers’ exposure to green and blue spaces
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Recent scholarship points to a protective association between green space and birth outcomes as well a positive relationship between blue space and wellbeing. We add to this body of literature by exploring the relationship between expectant mothers’ exposure to green and blue spaces and adverse birth outcomes in New York City. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the NYC Street Tree Census, and access to major green spaces served as measures of greenness, while proximity to waterfront areas represented access to blue space. Associations between these factors and adverse birth outcomes, including preterm birth, term birthweight, term low birthweight, and small for gestational age, were evaluated via mixed-effects linear and logistic regression models. The analyses were conducted separately for women living in deprived neighborhoods to test for differential effects on mothers in these areas. The results indicate that women in deprived neighborhoods suffer from higher rates adverse birth outcomes and lower levels of residential greenness. In adjusted models, a significant inverse association between nearby street trees and the odds of preterm birth was found for all women. However, we did not identify a consistent significant relationship between adverse birth outcomes and NDVI, access to major green spaces, or waterfront access when individual covariates were taken into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Stroke Mortality Attributable to Ambient Particulate Matter Pollution from 1990 to 2015 in China: An Age-Period-Cohort and Spatial Autocorrelation Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 772; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070772
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 1 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
In this study, we analyzed the temporal and spatial variations of stroke mortality attributable to ambient particulate matter pollution (stroke mortality-PM2.5) in China from 1990 to 2015. Data were collected from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015 study and analyzed
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In this study, we analyzed the temporal and spatial variations of stroke mortality attributable to ambient particulate matter pollution (stroke mortality-PM2.5) in China from 1990 to 2015. Data were collected from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015 study and analyzed by an age-period-cohort model (APC) with an intrinsic estimator (IE) algorithm, as well as spatial autocorrelation based on the Geographic Information System. Based on APC analysis with the IE method, stroke mortality-PM2.5 increased exponentially with age, its relative risk reaching 42.85 (95% CI: 28.79, 63.43) in the 75–79 age group. The period effects showed a reversed V-shape and its highest relative risk was 1.22 (95% CI: 1.15, 1.27) in 2005. The cohort effects decreased monotonically from 1915–1919 to 1990–1994. The change rate fluctuated from 1920–1924 to 1990–1994, including three accelerating and three decelerating decreases. There was a positive spatial autocorrelation in stroke mortality-PM2.5 from 1990 to 2015. Hot-spots moved from the northeastern areas to the middle and southwestern areas, whereas cold-spots lay mostly in coastal provinces. Besides the aging process in recent years, stroke mortality-PM2.5 had significantly declined from 2005 to 2015 due to socio-economic and healthcare development. Stroke mortality-PM2.5 varied substantially among different regions, and cost-effective prevention and control should be implemented more in the middle and southwestern areas of China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Physiological Effects of Touching Coated Wood
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 773; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070773
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
This study examined the physiological effects of touching wood with various coating with the palm of the hand on brain activity and autonomic nervous activity. Participants were 18 female university students (mean age, 21.7 ± 1.6 years). As an indicator of brain activity,
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This study examined the physiological effects of touching wood with various coating with the palm of the hand on brain activity and autonomic nervous activity. Participants were 18 female university students (mean age, 21.7 ± 1.6 years). As an indicator of brain activity, oxyhemoglobin concentrations were measured in the left and right prefrontal cortices using near-infrared time-resolved spectroscopy. Heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate were used as indicators of autonomic nervous activity. The high-frequency (HF) component of HRV, which reflects parasympathetic nervous activity, and the low-frequency (LF)/HF ratio, which reflects sympathetic nervous activity, were measured. Plates of uncoated, oil-finished, vitreous-finished, urethane-finished, and mirror-finished white oak wood were used as tactile stimuli. After sitting at rest with their eyes closed for 60 s, participants touched the stimuli with their palm for 90 s each. The results indicated that tactile stimulation with uncoated wood calmed prefrontal cortex activity (vs. urethane finish and mirror finish), increased parasympathetic nervous activity (vs. vitreous finish, urethane finish, and mirror finish), and decreased heart rate (vs. mirror finish), demonstrating a physiological relaxation effect. Further, tactile stimulation with oil- and vitreous-finished wood calmed left prefrontal cortex activity and decreased heart rate relative to mirror-finished wood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evidence-Based Nature Therapy: Advances in Physiological Evaluation)
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Open AccessArticle Biodegradable and Petroleum-Based Microplastics Do Not Differ in Their Ingestion and Excretion but in Their Biological Effects in a Freshwater Invertebrate Gammarus fossarum
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 774; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070774
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
Research on the uptake and effects of bioplastics by aquatic organisms is still in its infancy. Here, we aim to advance the field by comparing uptake and effects of microplastic particles (MPP) of a biodegradable bioMPP (polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB)) and petroleum-based MPP (polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA))
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Research on the uptake and effects of bioplastics by aquatic organisms is still in its infancy. Here, we aim to advance the field by comparing uptake and effects of microplastic particles (MPP) of a biodegradable bioMPP (polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB)) and petroleum-based MPP (polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)) in the freshwater amphipod Gammarus fossarum. Ingestion of both MPP in different particle sizes (32–250 µm) occurred after 24 h, with highest ingestion of particles in the range 32–63 µm and almost complete egestion after 64 h. A four-week effect-experiment showed a significant decrease of the assimilation efficiency in amphipods exposed to the petroleum-based MPP from week two onwards. The petroleum-based PMMA affected assimilation efficiency significantly in contrast to the biodegradable PHB, but overall differences in direct comparison of MPP types were small. Both MPP types led to a significantly lower wet weight gain relative to the control treatments. After four weeks, differences between both MPP types and silica, used as a natural particle control, were detected. In summary, these results suggest that both MPP types provoke digestive constraints on the amphipods, which go beyond those of natural non-palatable particles. This highlights the need for more detailed research comparing environmental effects of biodegradable and petroleum-based MPP and testing those against naturally occurring particle loads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplastics: Hazards to Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle An Analysis of Anxiety-Related Postings on Sina Weibo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 775; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070775
Received: 10 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
This study examines anxiety-related postings on Sina Weibo to gain insight into social networking about mental health. The themes of a random sample of anxiety-related postings (n = 1000) were assessed. The disclosure of anxiety was the most common theme. The prevalence
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This study examines anxiety-related postings on Sina Weibo to gain insight into social networking about mental health. The themes of a random sample of anxiety-related postings (n = 1000) were assessed. The disclosure of anxiety was the most common theme. The prevalence of anxiety was higher in certain areas where the economy is stronger than others, and the people living there suffered from more stress. Users who talked about feeling anxious tended to be more active on social media during leisure hours and less active during work hours. Our findings may be developed to detect and help individuals who may suffer from anxiety disorders at a low cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of a Horse Riding Intervention on the Social Functioning of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 776; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070776
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
This paper reports a case-control study of a horse riding intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A sample of 26 children, aged 6 to 9 years, were assigned to either the intervention (n = 12) or control group conditions (
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This paper reports a case-control study of a horse riding intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A sample of 26 children, aged 6 to 9 years, were assigned to either the intervention (n = 12) or control group conditions (n = 14). Pre- and post-tests were carried out using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Second Edition (CARS2) and the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist-Community Edition (ABC-C). An observational measure of compliance and behaviour during the horse riding sessions was completed for the intervention group. There was a significant reduction in the severity of ASD symptoms and hyperactivity from pre- to post-test for the intervention group only. These results indicate that the intervention improves some aspects of social functioning for children with ASD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Assisted Interventions and Activities for Health and Wellbeing)
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Open AccessArticle In Vitro and In Vivo Control of Secondary Bacterial Infection Caused by Leishmania major
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 777; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070777
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 8 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
Bacterial infections of cutaneous leishmaniasis cause skin ulcers on mice, resulting in increased tissue deterioration, and these infections can be controlled with liquid allicin. To isolate and identify the incidences of real secondary bacterial infections in mice, we performed the current study by
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Bacterial infections of cutaneous leishmaniasis cause skin ulcers on mice, resulting in increased tissue deterioration, and these infections can be controlled with liquid allicin. To isolate and identify the incidences of real secondary bacterial infections in mice, we performed the current study by injecting mice (n = 50) with Leishmania major. L. major infections were initiated by an intramuscular injection of 0.1 mL Roswell Park Memorial Institute (RPMI 1640 media/mouse (107 promastigote/mL)). Scarring appeared 2–6 weeks after injection, and the bacteria were isolated from the skin ulcer tissues. Allicin (50 µL/mL) and ciprofloxacin (5 μg; Cip 5) were used for controlling L. major and bacteria. One hundred samples from skin ulcers of mice were examined, and 200 bacterial colonies were isolated. Forty-eight different genera and species were obtained and identified by Gram staining and physiological and biochemical characterization using identification kits. All samples were positive for secondary bacterial infections. Of the isolates, 79.16% were identified as Gram-negative bacteria, and 28.84% were identified as Gram-positive bacteria; only one yeast species was found. Interestingly, pure allicin liquid at a concentration 50 µL/mL exhibited antibacterial activity against a wide range of Gram-negative and some Gram-positive bacteria, in addition to yeast, and was 71.43% effective. Antimicrobial resistance patterns of all genera and species were determined using 15 different antibiotics. Allicin (50 µL/mL) and Cip 5 were the most effective against L. major and 92.30% of isolated bacteria. Stenotrophomonas maltophilia was the most resistant bacterium to the tested antibiotics with a survival rate of 73.33%, and it exhibited resistance to allicin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Modeling the Effects of Urban Design on Emergency Medical Response Calls during Extreme Heat Events in Toronto, Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 778; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070778
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Urban residents are at risk of health-related illness during extreme heat events but the dangers are not equal in all parts of a city. Previous studies have found a relationship between physical characteristics of neighborhoods and the number of emergency medical response (EMR)
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Urban residents are at risk of health-related illness during extreme heat events but the dangers are not equal in all parts of a city. Previous studies have found a relationship between physical characteristics of neighborhoods and the number of emergency medical response (EMR) calls. We used a human energy budget model to test the effects of landscape modifications that are designed to cool the environment on the expected number of EMR calls in two neighborhoods in Toronto, Canada during extreme heat events. The cooling design strategies reduced the energy overload on people by approximately 20–30 W m−2, resulting in an estimated 40–50% reduction in heat-related ambulance calls. These findings advance current understanding of the relationship between the urban landscape and human health and suggest straightforward design strategies to positively influence urban heat-health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Dendritic Architecture of Principal Basolateral Amygdala Neurons Changes Congruently with Endocrine Response to Stress
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 779; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070779
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Animals cope with changing environments through changes in behavior. Such plasticity is, however, marked by substantial inter-individual variability. Neuroendocrine reactivity to challenging environments can be an important predictor of resilience. Both basolateral amygdala (BLA) neurons and adrenal glucocorticoid signaling are integral parts of
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Animals cope with changing environments through changes in behavior. Such plasticity is, however, marked by substantial inter-individual variability. Neuroendocrine reactivity to challenging environments can be an important predictor of resilience. Both basolateral amygdala (BLA) neurons and adrenal glucocorticoid signaling are integral parts of the stress neuroendocrine response. In this report, we test if individual variation in hormonal response to stress is associated with individual variation in the dendritic complexity of BLA neurons. We report a positive correlation between inter-individual variability in glucocorticoid response and neuronal plasticity in the BLA subsequent to a stressor. This suggests that stressful experiences in the past act as significant sculptors of BLA neuronal plasticity and congruent neuroendocrine response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Variation of Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen in the Coastal Area of Mid-Eastern China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 780; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070780
Received: 25 May 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Soils play an important role in sequestrating atmospheric CO2. Coastal tidal flats have been intensively reclaimed for food security and living spaces worldwide. We aimed to identify the changes of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) following coastal reclamation
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Soils play an important role in sequestrating atmospheric CO2. Coastal tidal flats have been intensively reclaimed for food security and living spaces worldwide. We aimed to identify the changes of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) following coastal reclamation and their spatial variation in the coastal area of mid-Eastern China to provide information for coastal cropland management. We measured SOC and TN of 463 soil samples in the coastal plain of mid-Eastern China. The results showed that SOC and TN increased highly from the uncultivated coastal tidal flat (2.49 g·kg−1 and 0.21 g·kg−1, respectively) to the cropland (10.73 g·kg−1 and 1.3 g·kg−1, respectively). After long-term cultivation, SOC and TN in the old farmland (12.98 g·kg−1 and 1.49 g·kg−1, respectively) were greater than those in the young farmland (5.76 g·kg−1 and 0.86 g·kg−1, respectively). The density of SOC in the uncultivated coastal tidal flat, young farmland, and old farmland were 0.68 kg·C·m−2, 1.52 kg·C·m−2, and 3.31 kg·C·m−2, respectively. The density of TN in the uncultivated coastal tidal flat, young farmland and old farmland were 0.05 kg·N·m−2, 0.23 kg·N·m−2, and 0.38 kg·N·m−2, respectively. The C/N (11.17) in the uncultivated coastal tidal flat was highest comparing to that in the young and old farmland due to lower nitrogen. The C/N increased from 6.78 to 8.71 following cultivation. Reclaimed coastal tidal flats had high carbon and nitrogen sequestration potential that not only mitigated the threat of global warming, but also improved soil fertility for crop production. Coastal management of cropland should consider the spatial distribution of SOC and TN to improve ecosystem services of coastal soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Considerations and Future Research Directions for E-Cigarette Warnings—Findings from Expert Interviews
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 781; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070781
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 8 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Tobacco warning labels are important sources of risk information but research historically has been cigarette-centric. This qualitative study aimed to inform future direction and research on warnings for e-cigarettes. Between June and August 2016, we conducted interviews with 10 researchers with expertise in
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Tobacco warning labels are important sources of risk information but research historically has been cigarette-centric. This qualitative study aimed to inform future direction and research on warnings for e-cigarettes. Between June and August 2016, we conducted interviews with 10 researchers with expertise in tobacco warning label research. Interviewees were registrants of a 2016 National Cancer Institute grantee meeting on tobacco warnings. Several participants agreed that the Food and Drug Administration’s new nicotine addiction warning for e-cigarettes could be informative but that it might not resonate with young people. Many agreed that more than one warning would be important as e-cigarette science evolves and that research on additional warning themes (e.g., nicotine exposure, harmful constituents) and execution styles (including use of pictorials) was important. Participants were somewhat mixed about the use of reduced-risk messages within e-cigarette warnings, but agreed that research on how to communicate about cigarette/e-cigarette relative risks was needed. Overall, more research is needed on tobacco warnings for non-cigarette products, including on the message content, placement, execution and potential impact on audiences’ product knowledge, risk perceptions and use intentions. This is particularly needed for products such as e-cigarettes which may have harm-reduction potential relative to cigarettes and require unique considerations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle Environmental Drivers and Predicted Risk of Bacillary Dysentery in Southwest China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 782; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070782
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 2 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Bacillary dysentery has long been a considerable health problem in southwest China, however, the quantitative relationship between anthropogenic and physical environmental factors and the disease is not fully understand. It is also not clear where exactly the bacillary dysentery risk is potentially high.
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Bacillary dysentery has long been a considerable health problem in southwest China, however, the quantitative relationship between anthropogenic and physical environmental factors and the disease is not fully understand. It is also not clear where exactly the bacillary dysentery risk is potentially high. Based on the result of hotspot analysis, we generated training samples to build a spatial distribution model. Univariate analyses, autocorrelation and multi-collinearity examinations and stepwise selection were then applied to screen the potential causative factors. Multiple logistic regressions were finally applied to quantify the effects of key factors. A bootstrapping strategy was adopted while fitting models. The model was evaluated by area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), Kappa and independent validation samples. Hotspot counties were mainly mountainous lands in southwest China. Higher risk of bacillary dysentery was found associated with underdeveloped socio-economy, proximity to farmland or water bodies, higher environmental temperature, medium relative humidity and the distribution of the Tibeto-Burman ethnicity. A predictive risk map with high accuracy (88.19%) was generated. The high-risk areas are mainly located in the mountainous lands where the Tibeto-Burman people live, especially in the basins, river valleys or other flat places in the mountains with relatively lower elevation and a warmer climate. In the high-risk areas predicted by this study, improving the economic development, investment in health care and the construction of infrastructures for safe water supply, waste treatment and sewage disposal, and improving health related education could reduce the disease risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Predictors of Daily Mobility of Adults in Peri-Urban South India
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 783; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070783
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Daily mobility, an important aspect of environmental exposures and health behavior, has mainly been investigated in high-income countries. We aimed to identify the main dimensions of mobility and investigate their individual, contextual, and external predictors among men and women living in a peri-urban
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Daily mobility, an important aspect of environmental exposures and health behavior, has mainly been investigated in high-income countries. We aimed to identify the main dimensions of mobility and investigate their individual, contextual, and external predictors among men and women living in a peri-urban area of South India. We used 192 global positioning system (GPS)-recorded mobility tracks from 47 participants (24 women, 23 men) from the Cardiovascular Health effects of Air pollution in Telangana, India (CHAI) project (mean: 4.1 days/person). The mean age was 44 (standard deviation: 14) years. Half of the population was illiterate and 55% was in unskilled manual employment, mostly agriculture-related. Sex was the largest determinant of mobility. During daytime, time spent at home averaged 13.4 (3.7) h for women and 9.4 (4.2) h for men. Women’s activity spaces were smaller and more circular than men’s. A principal component analysis identified three main mobility dimensions related to the size of the activity space, the mobility in/around the residence, and mobility inside the village, explaining 86% (women) and 61% (men) of the total variability in mobility. Age, socioeconomic status, and urbanicity were associated with all three dimensions. Our results have multiple potential applications for improved assessment of environmental exposures and their effects on health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Correlations of Biomarkers and Self-Reported Seafood Consumption among Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Women in Southeastern Louisiana after the Gulf Oil Spill: The GROWH Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 784; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070784
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Seafood contains health-promoting fatty acids, but is often contaminated with mercury (Hg), complicating recommendations and choices around fish consumption during pregnancy. Self-reported diet may be subject to inaccuracy and this inaccuracy could differ according to pregnancy status. We investigated correlations between self-reported seafood
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Seafood contains health-promoting fatty acids, but is often contaminated with mercury (Hg), complicating recommendations and choices around fish consumption during pregnancy. Self-reported diet may be subject to inaccuracy and this inaccuracy could differ according to pregnancy status. We investigated correlations between self-reported seafood consumption and blood levels of Hg and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in women affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated comparing log blood Hg and n-3 PUFAs to seafood consumption, then stratified by pregnancy status. Crude and adjusted linear regression models were constructed using biomarkers of Hg and n-3 PUFA and seafood consumption, adjusting for age and pregnancy status. Weak but significant correlations were found between log Hg levels and intake of Hg-containing seafood ( r = 0.15) and were slightly stronger among pregnant women ( r = 0.22, vs. r = 0.10). Biomarkers for n-3 PUFAs were significantly correlated with seafood consumption ( r = 0.12). Hg-containing seafood consumption was associated with increased blood level Hg in the highest quartile in both unadjusted (β = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.15–0.53) and adjusted models (β = 0.28, 95% CI: 0.08–0.48). Self-reported seafood consumption was correlated with biomarkers of both n-3 PUFA and Hg, but this association was different when stratified by pregnancy status. Pregnant women may have better recall of Hg-containing seafood compared to nonpregnant women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Maternal and Child Health)
Open AccessArticle Into the Woods or a Stroll in the Park: How Virtual Contact with Nature Impacts Positive and Negative Affect
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 786; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070786
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
This study examined the effects of virtual contact with nature on positive and negative affect, and investigated the psychological process of perceived restorativeness as a mediator of this relationship. A sample of 220 Australians aged between 18 and 75 years (M = 49.07,
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This study examined the effects of virtual contact with nature on positive and negative affect, and investigated the psychological process of perceived restorativeness as a mediator of this relationship. A sample of 220 Australians aged between 18 and 75 years (M = 49.07, SD = 14.34, female = 72%) participated in the study. Participants were randomly allocated to one of the three experimental conditions experienced through video presentations: (1) ‘wild’ nature, (2) ‘urban’ nature, and (3) non-nature control. They then completed measures of perceived restorativeness as well as positive and negative affect. Compared to the non-nature control condition, the experience of wild nature resulted in significantly higher levels of positive affect and lower levels of negative affect. The experience of urban nature resulted in significantly lower levels of negative affect only compared to the non-nature control video. Experience of wild and urban nature resulted in greater perceptions of restorativeness as compared to the non-nature control video. Restorativeness was a significant underlying psychological mediating path through which nature experience exerted its influence on affect. These results have the potential to inform nature-based green care interventions for mental health as well as for urban planning to maximize beneficial effects of natural environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Airborne PM2.5-Induced Hepatic Insulin Resistance by Nrf2/JNK-Mediated Signaling Pathway
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 787; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070787
Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Animal and epidemiological studies have suggested that exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM) with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) is associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the mechanism underlying this risk is poorly understood.
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Animal and epidemiological studies have suggested that exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM) with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) is associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the mechanism underlying this risk is poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the effects of PM2.5 exposure on glucose homeostasis and related signaling pathways in mice. Wild-type and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) knockout (Nrf2/) C57BL/6 male mice were exposed to either ambient concentrated PM2.5 or filtered air (FA) for 12 weeks through a whole-body PM exposure system. At the end of the exposure, we assessed liver damage, and performed metabolic studies, gene expressions, as well as molecular signal transductions to determine the signaling pathways involving oxidative responses, insulin signaling, and glucose metabolism. Our results indicated that PM2.5 exposure for 12 weeks caused significant liver damage as evidenced by elevated levels of aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Furthermore, PM2.5 exposure induced impaired glucose tolerance and inhibited glycogen synthesis, leading to hepatic insulin resistance indicated by higher glucose levels, higher area under the curve (AUC), and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) values. We further found that PM2.5 exposure significantly increased the expressions of Nrf2 and Nrf2-regulated antioxidant genes. Moreover, PM2.5 exposure activated the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway and increased insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) phosphorylation at Ser307, but reduced protein kinase B phosphorylation at Ser473. Taken together, our study demonstrated PM2.5 exposure triggered Nrf2-mediated oxidative responses and activated the JNK-mediated inhibitory signaling pathway, resulting in hepatic insulin resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Association of Domestic Incense Burning with Hypertension and Blood Pressure in Guangdong, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 788; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070788
Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Abstract: Domestic incense burning is a common activity in China. Although it generates serious air pollution and has been linked to various health outcomes, it remains unknown whether it is associated with blood pressure and hypertension. A community-based survey including 1153 hypertensive
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Abstract: Domestic incense burning is a common activity in China. Although it generates serious air pollution and has been linked to various health outcomes, it remains unknown whether it is associated with blood pressure and hypertension. A community-based survey including 1153 hypertensive subjects and 4432 normotensive participants in Guangdong (China) was used to examine this question. Two-level logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). The analyses showed that, compared with non-users, OR of hypertension was 1.24 (95% CI: 1.03–1.50) for users, and 1.37 (95% CI: 1.04–1.80) for daily users with a clear dose-response relationship. The estimated increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 1.02 mmHg (95% CI: 0.06–1.99) and 1.26 mmHg (95% CI: 0.69–1.83) for users, 0.67 mmHg (95% CI: −0.35–1.68) and 1.25 mmHg (95% CI: 0.66–1.85) for occasional users, and 2.09 mmHg (95% CI: 0.79–3.39) and 1.28 mmHg (95% CI: 0.52–2.05) for daily users, respectively. The results remained after adjusting for potential confounders and more pronounced associations were found among females. This study suggests that domestic incense burning may increase the risk of hypertension and blood pressure in the study population, and women are more vulnerable to these effects than men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Sex Differences in the Relationship between Sleep Behavior, Fish Consumption, and Depressive Symptoms in the General Population of South Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 789; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070789
Received: 8 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Sleep, fish consumption, and depression have a close relationship; however, the role of sex differences in sleep, fish consumption, and depression research is not yet well-established. This study aimed to examine whether the impact of bedtime, sleep-onset latency, sleep duration, sleep quality, and
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Sleep, fish consumption, and depression have a close relationship; however, the role of sex differences in sleep, fish consumption, and depression research is not yet well-established. This study aimed to examine whether the impact of bedtime, sleep-onset latency, sleep duration, sleep quality, and fish consumption on depressive symptoms differed in women and men. An online survey was conducted in South Korea with a stratified random sample of 600 participants between the ages of 20 and 69, whose gender and age were proportional to estimates of Korea’s general population. The 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used to measure depressive symptoms with a cut-off score of 16. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was applied to evaluate sleep timing, sleep-onset latency, sleep duration, and sleep quality. Our results indicated that late bedtime and short sleep duration were independently associated with depressive symptoms in women. Sleep-onset latency and poor sleep quality were independently associated with increased prevalence of depressive symptoms in both men and women. Higher fish consumption was significantly associated with decreased prevalence of depressive symptoms in men only. Our findings suggested the importance of a different approach for men and women in terms of promoting healthy sleep habits. In addition, higher fish consumption may be beneficial in the primary prevention of depression in Korean men. Further research is needed to confirm the findings from this cross-sectional study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Occupational Class Differences in Trajectories of Working Conditions in Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 790; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070790
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 5 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
The aim was to examine occupational class differences in trajectories of working conditions in ageing female municipal employees. Longitudinal survey data were collected among 40 to 60-year-old employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland. The 2000–2002 baseline survey (N = 8960, response
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The aim was to examine occupational class differences in trajectories of working conditions in ageing female municipal employees. Longitudinal survey data were collected among 40 to 60-year-old employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland. The 2000–2002 baseline survey (N = 8960, response rate 67%) was followed up in 2007 and 2012. Only those female participants who remained employed through all three phases were included (n = 2540). The effects of age, occupational class, and time period on physical and psychosocial working conditions were estimated using a mixed linear growth model. Physical workload decreased with age, except for manual workers, for whom there was no change. Manual workers also had less control over their work than managers and professionals, semi-professionals, or routine non-manual employees. Job control declined similarly in all occupational classes. Although occupational class differences in the levels of job demands were found, with the managers and professionals reporting the most increased demands, job demands were fairly stable and there was virtually no age or period associated linear change in them. Age trajectories in physical workload differ by occupational class, and the differences in psychosocial working conditions between occupational classes do not converge with age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Work Stress and the Development of Chronic Diseases)
Open AccessArticle Loneliness, Insomnia and Suicidal Behavior among School-Going Adolescents in Western Pacific Island Countries: Role of Violence and Injury
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 791; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070791
Received: 17 June 2017 / Revised: 8 July 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 15 July 2017
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Abstract
This study aimed to examine whether being bullied, fighting, and injury, regarded in terms of frequency and nature, were significantly associated with psychological distress and suicidal behavior, independent of substance abuse and parental support in adolescents. Secondary analysis of data from the Global
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This study aimed to examine whether being bullied, fighting, and injury, regarded in terms of frequency and nature, were significantly associated with psychological distress and suicidal behavior, independent of substance abuse and parental support in adolescents. Secondary analysis of data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey from Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu was conducted. Binomial logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association of being bullied, fighting and injury with psychological health outcomes (loneliness, insomnia, suicidal ideation and suicide attempt) at a 5% level of significance. A total of 4122 students were included; 45.5% were male, and 52.0% were 14 years of age or younger. Of the total, 9.3% felt lonely and 9.5% had insomnia most of the time over the last 12 months; 27.6% had suicidal ideation, and 30.9% reported at least one suicide attempt in the last 12 months. Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that being bullied, fighting and injury were significantly associated with psychological health outcomes; adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of loneliness, insomnia, suicidal ideation and suicide attempt increased with increased exposure to bullying, fighting, and injury compared to non-exposed group. Among the types of bullying victimization, the highest AORs of insomnia and suicide attempt were among students who were left out of activities, compared to the non-bullied. Among the causes of injury, adolescents injured due to a physical attack were the most likely to report the highest AORs of loneliness, insomnia and suicidal ideation compared to those not injured. Preventing violence and injury among adolescents might contribute to better mental health and reduction of suicidal behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle The Influence of Spatial Configuration of Residential Area and Vector Populations on Dengue Incidence Patterns in an Individual-Level Transmission Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 792; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070792
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 15 July 2017
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Abstract
Dengue is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that is endemic in tropical and subtropical countries. Many individual-level simulation models have been developed to test hypotheses about dengue virus transmission. Often these efforts assume that human host and mosquito vector populations are randomly or uniformly
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Dengue is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that is endemic in tropical and subtropical countries. Many individual-level simulation models have been developed to test hypotheses about dengue virus transmission. Often these efforts assume that human host and mosquito vector populations are randomly or uniformly distributed in the environment. Although, the movement of mosquitoes is affected by spatial configuration of buildings and mosquito populations are highly clustered in key buildings, little research has focused on the influence of the local built environment in dengue transmission models. We developed an agent-based model of dengue transmission in a village setting to test the importance of using realistic environments in individual-level models of dengue transmission. The results from one-way ANOVA analysis of simulations indicated that the differences between scenarios in terms of infection rates as well as serotype-specific dominance are statistically significant. Specifically, the infection rates in scenarios of a realistic environment are more variable than those of a synthetic spatial configuration. With respect to dengue serotype-specific cases, we found that a single dengue serotype is more often dominant in realistic environments than in synthetic environments. An agent-based approach allows a fine-scaled analysis of simulated dengue incidence patterns. The results provide a better understanding of the influence of spatial heterogeneity on dengue transmission at a local scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Cross-Sectional Study to Determine the Prevalence of Hepatitis B and C Virus Infection in High Risk Groups in the Northeast Region of Brazil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 793; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070793
Received: 11 May 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
Background: HBV (Hepatitis B Virus) and HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) infections are more prevalent in vulnerable populations than the general population. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of HBV and HCV infection in HIV-positive patients (GI), chronic renal
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Background: HBV (Hepatitis B Virus) and HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) infections are more prevalent in vulnerable populations than the general population. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of HBV and HCV infection in HIV-positive patients (GI), chronic renal failure (CRF) patients (GII) and coagulation disorder individuals (GIII). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from June 2014 to March 2015. Serum samples were tested for markers of hepatitis B and C by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Sociodemographic, epidemiological, clinical and laboratory data and accompanying statistical analyses were performed using Epi Info™ 7. Results: A total of 348 individuals were recruited, i.e., 154 HIV-positive, 143 CRF and 51 coagulopathy patients. Among them, more than 66% were men, and the predominant age group was 26–35 years in GI and 56–65 years in GIII. Most patients had more than 8 years of education (66.2% in GI, 60.6% in GIII and 46.1% in GII), with a family income between 100–400 dollars in more than 48% of patients. The prevalence of the HBsAg marker was 3.9%, 7% and 3.9%, total anti-HBc was 28.6%, 55.9% and 31.4%, and anti-HCV was 1.3%, 12.6% and 47% for GI, GII and GIII, respectively. However, the prevalence of anti-HBs was greater than 70% in all groups. Conclusions: This study shows a high prevalence of HBV and HCV among specific groups compared to the general population. Factors such as age, income, number of sexual partners, sexually transmitted disease burden, blood transfusion history or blood products and blood transfusions before 1994 were associated with a higher prevalence for these infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Perceived Social Norms in Rural Sanitation: An Explorative Study from Infrastructure-Restricted Settings of South Ethiopia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 794; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070794
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
The perception of social sanitation norms (PSSNs) around unacceptability of open defecation has been a key aspect of recent sanitation interventions. However, underlying mechanisms through which “reconstructed” PSSNs affect sanitation outcomes have been a black box. This explorative cross-sectional study examines direct and
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The perception of social sanitation norms (PSSNs) around unacceptability of open defecation has been a key aspect of recent sanitation interventions. However, underlying mechanisms through which “reconstructed” PSSNs affect sanitation outcomes have been a black box. This explorative cross-sectional study examines direct and indirect links between PSSNs and sanitation safety using data from structured interviews and observations in 368 households in rural South Ethiopia. In addition to a positive association between PSSNs and sanitation safety, we propose and examine the following two mechanisms: First, we confirm a potentially adverse feedback of PSSNs on future sanitation safety by enhancing the emotional satisfaction with current sanitation practice (satisfaction independent of the functionality of sanitation facilities). Second, inspired by the social amplification/attenuation of risk framework, we demonstrate that PSSNs work as a “social filter” that can amplify or attenuate the effects of other variables targeted in sanitation interventions such as perceived health-related and non-health risks and benefits associated with open defecation and private latrine ownership, respectively, and factual hygiene and sanitation knowledge. These findings imply that PSSNs are not only important per se, but they are also important instrumentally because sanitation outcomes depend upon the capacity of social influences to shape the perception of sanitation risks and benefits and sanitation-related awareness in desirable ways. The mechanisms outlined in this paper as well as the sustainability of sanitation outcomes depend on whether and how social sanitation norms are internalized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Individual and Interactive Effects of Socio-Ecological Factors on Dengue Fever at Fine Spatial Scale: A Geographical Detector-Based Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 795; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070795
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
Background: Large spatial heterogeneity was observed in the dengue fever outbreak in Guangzhou in 2014, however, the underlying reasons remain unknown. We examined whether socio-ecological factors affected the spatial distribution and their interactive effects. Methods: Moran’s I was applied to first
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Background: Large spatial heterogeneity was observed in the dengue fever outbreak in Guangzhou in 2014, however, the underlying reasons remain unknown. We examined whether socio-ecological factors affected the spatial distribution and their interactive effects. Methods: Moran’s I was applied to first examine the spatial cluster of dengue fever in Guangzhou. Nine socio-ecological factors were chosen to represent the urbanization level, economy, accessibility, environment, and the weather of the 167 townships/streets in Guangzhou, and then the geographical detector was applied to analyze the individual and interactive effects of these factors on the dengue outbreak. Results: Four clusters of dengue fever were identified in Guangzhou in 2014, including one hot spot in the central area of Guangzhou and three cold spots in the suburban districts. For individual effects, the temperature (q = 0.33) was the dominant factor of dengue fever, followed by precipitation (q = 0.24), road density (q = 0.24), and water body area (q = 0.23). For the interactive effects, the combination of high precipitation, high temperature, and high road density might result in increased dengue fever incidence. Moreover, urban villages might be the dengue fever hot spots. Conclusions: Our study suggests that some socio-ecological factors might either separately or jointly influence the spatial distribution of dengue fever in Guangzhou. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Engineering and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure during Pregnancy and Child Neurodevelopment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 796; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070796
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
The developing fetus is especially vulnerable to environmental toxicants, including tobacco constituents. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure during pregnancy on child neurodevelopment within the first two years of life. The study population
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The developing fetus is especially vulnerable to environmental toxicants, including tobacco constituents. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure during pregnancy on child neurodevelopment within the first two years of life. The study population consisted of 461 non-smoking pregnant women (saliva cotinine level <10 ng/mL). Maternal passive smoking was assessed based on the cotinine level in saliva analyzed by the use of high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI + MS/MS) and by questionnaire data. The cotinine cut-off value for passive smoking was established at 1.5 ng/mL (sensitivity 63%, specificity 71%). Psychomotor development was assessed in children at the age of one- and two-years using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development. Approximately 30% of the women were exposed to ETS during pregnancy. The multivariate linear regression model indicated that ETS exposure in the 1st and the 2nd trimesters of pregnancy were associated with decreasing child language functions at the age of one (β = −3.0, p = 0.03, and β = −4.1, p = 0.008, respectively), and two years (β = −3.8, p = 0.05, and β = −6.3, p = 0.005, respectively). A negative association was found for cotinine level ≥1.5 ng/mL in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy and child cognition at the age of 2 (β = −4.6, p = 0.05), as well as cotinine levels ≥1.5 ng/mL in all trimesters of pregnancy and child motor abilities at two years of age (β = −3.9, p = 0.06, β = −5.3, p = 0.02, and β = −4.2, p = 0.05, for the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, respectively; for the 1st trimester the effect was of borderline statistical significance). This study confirmed that ETS exposure during pregnancy can have a negative impact on child psychomotor development within the first two years of life and underscore the importance of public health interventions aiming at reducing this exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Maternal and Child Health)
Open AccessArticle Physical Outdoor Activity versus Indoor Activity: Their Influence on Environmental Behaviors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 797; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070797
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 13 July 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
There are strong evidences linking physical outdoor activity and health benefits; however, little is known about the impact on environmental behaviors. Thus, this study aims to close this gap by investigating the influence of physical outdoor activity on environmental behaviors. A total of
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There are strong evidences linking physical outdoor activity and health benefits; however, little is known about the impact on environmental behaviors. Thus, this study aims to close this gap by investigating the influence of physical outdoor activity on environmental behaviors. A total of 416 surveys were distributed to students in eight public primary schools located near the Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park in Taiwan. Findings from the analysis revealed that subjective norms had a more influential effect on environmental behaviors for participants who engaged in physical activity at outdoor parks. In contrast, descriptive norms had a direct predictive impact on environmental behaviors for participants whose main physical activity venue was at the indoor after-school centers. Research results also highlighted attitude as the strongest predictive variable influence on environmental behaviors for children who engaged in physical indoor and outdoor activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Online Vape Shop Customers Who Use E-Cigarettes Report Abstinence from Smoking and Improved Quality of Life, But a Substantial Minority Still Have Vaping-Related Health Concerns
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 798; doi:10.3390/ijerph14070798
Received: 8 May 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
(1) Background: Characteristics and usage patterns of vapers (e-cigarette users) have mainly been studied in web-based convenience samples or in visitors of brick-and-mortar vape shops. We extended this by targeting customers of one particular online vape shop in the Netherlands; (2) Methods: Customers
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(1) Background: Characteristics and usage patterns of vapers (e-cigarette users) have mainly been studied in web-based convenience samples or in visitors of brick-and-mortar vape shops. We extended this by targeting customers of one particular online vape shop in the Netherlands; (2) Methods: Customers were questioned on their smoking history, current smoking and vaping status, reasons for vaping, perceived harmfulness, and potential health changes due to vaping; (3) Results: Almost everyone (99%, 95% CI 0.96, 1.00) smoked before they started vaping. A great majority agreed that unlike with other smoking-cessation aids, they could quit smoking (81%, 95% CI 0.79, 0.90) due to vaping. Almost all customers were regular vapers (93.6%, 95% CI 0.89, 0.96) who used state-of-the-art open system devices without modifications and e-liquid with 10 mg/mL nicotine on average. Vapers reported using e-cigs to quit smoking, because e-cigs are healthier, and for financial reasons. The majority (52.6%, 95% CI 0.46, 0.60) perceived vaping as not that harmful to not harmful at all, but one fifth (21.8%, 95% CI 0.16, 0.28) believed vaping to be harmful. More than half (57.8%, 95% CI 0.50, 0.65) reported gaining more pleasure from vaping than from smoking. A substantial majority (84.2%, 95% CI 0.78, 0.89) agreed that their health had improved since they started vaping; (4) Conclusions: Findings are similar to those obtained in other vape shop studies, but also to the results of convenience samples of less-well-defined populations. Full article