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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 8, Issue 12 (December 2011), Pages 4386-4745

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Costs of Climate Change: A Study of Cholera in Tanzania
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4386-4405; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124386
Received: 2 September 2011 / Revised: 22 November 2011 / Accepted: 23 November 2011 / Published: 28 November 2011
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (371 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increased temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns as a result of climate change are widely recognized to entail potentially serious consequences for human health, including an increased risk of diarrheal diseases. This study integrates historical data on temperature and rainfall with the burden
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Increased temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns as a result of climate change are widely recognized to entail potentially serious consequences for human health, including an increased risk of diarrheal diseases. This study integrates historical data on temperature and rainfall with the burden of disease from cholera in Tanzania and uses socioeconomic data to control for the impacts of general development on the risk of cholera. The results show a significant relationship between temperature and the incidence of cholera. For a 1 degree Celsius temperature increase the initial relative risk of cholera increases by 15 to 29 percent. Based on the modeling results, we project the number and costs of additional cases of cholera that can be attributed to climate change by 2030 in Tanzania for a 1 and 2 degree increase in temperatures, respectively. The total costs of cholera attributable to climate change are shown to be in the range of 0.32 to 1.4 percent of GDP in Tanzania 2030. The results provide useful insights into national-level estimates of the implications of climate change on the health sector and offer information which can feed into both national and international debates on financing and planning adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle High Calorie, Low Nutrient Food/Beverage Intake and Video Gaming in Children as Potential Signals for Addictive Behavior
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4406-4424; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124406
Received: 28 September 2011 / Revised: 22 November 2011 / Accepted: 22 November 2011 / Published: 29 November 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (436 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Little is known about the co-occurrence of health risk behaviors in childhood that may signal later addictive behavior. Using a survey, this study evaluated high calorie, low nutrient HCLN intake and video gaming behaviors in 964 fourth grade children over 18 months, with
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Little is known about the co-occurrence of health risk behaviors in childhood that may signal later addictive behavior. Using a survey, this study evaluated high calorie, low nutrient HCLN intake and video gaming behaviors in 964 fourth grade children over 18 months, with stress, sensation-seeking, inhibitory control, grades, perceived safety of environment, and demographic variables as predictors. SEM and growth curve analyses supported a co-occurrence model with some support for addiction specificity. Male gender, free/reduced lunch, low perceived safety and low inhibitory control independently predicted both gaming and HCLN intake. Ethnicity and low stress predicted HCLN. The findings raise questions about whether living in some impoverished neighborhoods may contribute to social isolation characterized by staying indoors, and HCLN intake and video gaming as compensatory behaviors. Future prevention programs could include skills training for inhibitory control, combined with changes in the built environment that increase safety, e.g., implementing Safe Routes to School Programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Substance and Behavioral Addictions: Co-Occurrence and Specificity)
Open AccessArticle Generational Association Studies of Dopaminergic Genes in Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) Subjects: Selecting Appropriate Phenotypes for Reward Dependence Behaviors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4425-4459; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124425
Received: 26 October 2011 / Revised: 23 November 2011 / Accepted: 23 November 2011 / Published: 29 November 2011
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (523 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Abnormal behaviors involving dopaminergic gene polymorphisms often reflect an insufficiency of usual feelings of satisfaction, or Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS). RDS results from a dysfunction in the “brain reward cascade,” a complex interaction among neurotransmitters (primarily dopaminergic and opioidergic). Individuals with a family
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Abnormal behaviors involving dopaminergic gene polymorphisms often reflect an insufficiency of usual feelings of satisfaction, or Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS). RDS results from a dysfunction in the “brain reward cascade,” a complex interaction among neurotransmitters (primarily dopaminergic and opioidergic). Individuals with a family history of alcoholism or other addictions may be born with a deficiency in the ability to produce or use these neurotransmitters. Exposure to prolonged periods of stress and alcohol or other substances also can lead to a corruption of the brain reward cascade function. We evaluated the potential association of four variants of dopaminergic candidate genes in RDS (dopamine D1 receptor gene [DRD1]; dopamine D2 receptor gene [DRD2]; dopamine transporter gene [DAT1]; dopamine beta-hydroxylase gene [DBH]). Methodology: We genotyped an experimental group of 55 subjects derived from up to five generations of two independent multiple-affected families compared to rigorously screened control subjects (e.g., N = 30 super controls for DRD2 gene polymorphisms). Data related to RDS behaviors were collected on these subjects plus 13 deceased family members. Results: Among the genotyped family members, the DRD2 Taq1 and the DAT1 10/10 alleles were significantly (at least p < 0.015) more often found in the RDS families vs. controls. The TaqA1 allele occurred in 100% of Family A individuals (N = 32) and 47.8% of Family B subjects (11 of 23). No significant differences were found between the experimental and control positive rates for the other variants. Conclusions: Although our sample size was limited, and linkage analysis is necessary, the results support the putative role of dopaminergic polymorphisms in RDS behaviors. This study shows the importance of a nonspecific RDS phenotype and informs an understanding of how evaluating single subset behaviors of RDS may lead to spurious results. Utilization of a nonspecific “reward” phenotype may be a paradigm shift in future association and linkage studies involving dopaminergic polymorphisms and other neurotransmitter gene candidates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Substance and Behavioral Addictions: Co-Occurrence and Specificity)
Open AccessArticle Microbiological Evaluation of Water Quality from Urban Watersheds for Domestic Water Supply Improvement
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4460-4476; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124460
Received: 29 October 2011 / Revised: 19 November 2011 / Accepted: 25 November 2011 / Published: 30 November 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (799 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agricultural and urban runoffs may be major sources of pollution of water bodies and major sources of bacteria affecting the quality of drinking water. Of the different pathways by which bacterial pathogens can enter drinking water, this one has received little attention to
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Agricultural and urban runoffs may be major sources of pollution of water bodies and major sources of bacteria affecting the quality of drinking water. Of the different pathways by which bacterial pathogens can enter drinking water, this one has received little attention to date; that is, because soils are often considered to be near perfect filters for the transport of bacterial pathogens through the subsoil to groundwater. The goals of this study were to determine the distribution, diversity, and antimicrobial resistance of pathogenic Escherichia coli isolates from low flowing river water and sediment with inputs from different sources before water is discharged into ground water and to compare microbial contamination in water and sediment at different sampling sites. Water and sediment samples were collected from 19 locations throughout the watershed for the isolation of pathogenic E. coli. Heterotrophic plate counts and E. coli were also determined after running tertiary treated water through two tanks containing aquifer sand material. Presumptive pathogenic E. coli isolates were obtained and characterized for virulent factors and antimicrobial resistance. None of the isolates was confirmed as Shiga toxin E. coli (STEC), but as others, such as enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to show the diversity E. coli populations from different sources throughout the watershed. Seventy six percent of the isolates from urban sources exhibited resistance to more than one antimicrobial agent. A subsequent filtration experiment after water has gone through filtration tanks containing aquifer sand material showed that there was a 1 to 2 log reduction in E. coli in aquifer sand tank. Our data showed multiple strains of E. coli without virulence attributes, but with high distribution of resistant phenotypes. Therefore, the occurrence of E. coli with multiple resistances in the environment is a matter of great concern due to possible transfer of resistant genes from nonpathogenic to pathogenic strains that may result in increased duration and severity of morbidity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water and Health)
Open AccessArticle The Antimicrobial Properties of Cedar Leaf (Thuja plicata) Oil; A Safe and Efficient Decontamination Agent for Buildings
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4477-4487; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124477
Received: 18 October 2011 / Revised: 25 November 2011 / Accepted: 28 November 2011 / Published: 30 November 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (328 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cedar leaf oil (CLO), derived from the Western red cedar, Thuja plicata, was evaluated as a safe and acceptable broad spectrum antimicrobial agent, with a view to its potential applications in buildings, including the alleviation of sick building syndrome. Various Gram-positive and
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Cedar leaf oil (CLO), derived from the Western red cedar, Thuja plicata, was evaluated as a safe and acceptable broad spectrum antimicrobial agent, with a view to its potential applications in buildings, including the alleviation of sick building syndrome. Various Gram-positive and Gram-negative human bacteria, and two fungal organisms, all known to be common environmental sources of potential infection, were selected and tested quantitatively, and all of them were found to be susceptible to CLO liquid and vapor. Bacterial spores and Aspergillus niger were sensitive, although less so than the vegetative bacteria. Similar tests with cultured human lung cells showed that continuous exposure to CLO vapor for at least 60 minutes was not toxic to the cells. Based on these results, CLO shows promise as a prospective safe, green, broad-spectrum anti-microbial agent for decontamination of buildings. Full article
Open AccessArticle Extensive Internet Involvement—Addiction or Emerging Lifestyle?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4488-4501; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124488
Received: 24 October 2011 / Revised: 25 November 2011 / Accepted: 28 November 2011 / Published: 2 December 2011
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (309 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the discussions for the future DSM-5, the Substance-Related Disorders Work Group has been addressing “addiction-like” behavioral disorders such as “Internet addiction” to possibly be considered as potential additions for the diagnostic system. Most research aiming to specify and define the concept of
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In the discussions for the future DSM-5, the Substance-Related Disorders Work Group has been addressing “addiction-like” behavioral disorders such as “Internet addiction” to possibly be considered as potential additions for the diagnostic system. Most research aiming to specify and define the concept of Internet addiction (or: Excessive/Compulsive/Problematic Internet Use—PIU), takes its point of departure in conventional terminology for addiction, based in established DSM indicators. Still, it is obvious that the divide between characteristics of addiction and dimensions of new lifestyles built on technological progress is problematic and far from unambiguous. Some of these research areas are developing from the neurobiological doctrine of addiction as not being tied to specific substances. The concept of “behavioral addictions”, based on biological mechanisms such as the reward systems of the brain, has been launched. The problems connected to this development are in this study discussed and reflected with data from a Swedish survey on Internet use (n = 1,147). Most Swedes (85%) do use the Internet to some degree. The prevalence of excessive use parallels other similar countries. Respondents in our study spend (mean value) 9.8 hours per week online at home, only 5 percent spend more than 30 hours per week. There are both positive and negative social effects at hand. Many respondents have more social contacts due to the use of Internet, but there is a decline in face-to-face contacts. About 40% of the respondents indicate some experience of at least one problem related to Internet use, but only 1.8% marked the presence of all problems addressed. Most significant predictors for problem indicators, except for age, relate to “time” and time consuming activities such as gaming, other activities online or computer skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Substance and Behavioral Addictions: Co-Occurrence and Specificity)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Indoor Air Pollution in Homes with Infants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4502-4520; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124502
Received: 5 October 2011 / Revised: 16 November 2011 / Accepted: 28 November 2011 / Published: 5 December 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (535 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Infants spend most of their indoor time at home; however, residential air quality is poorly understood. We investigated the air quality of infants’ homes in the New England area of the U.S. Participants (N = 53) were parents of infants (0–6 months)
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Infants spend most of their indoor time at home; however, residential air quality is poorly understood. We investigated the air quality of infants’ homes in the New England area of the U.S. Participants (N = 53) were parents of infants (0–6 months) who completed telephone surveys to identify potential pollutant sources in their residence. Carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤0.5 µm (PM0.5), and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) were measured in 10 homes over 4–7 days, and levels were compared with health-based guidelines. Pollutant levels varied substantially across homes and within homes with overall levels for some homes up to 20 times higher than for other homes. Average levels were 0.85 ppm, 663.2 ppm, 18.7 µg/m3, and 1626 µg/m3 for CO, CO2, PM0.5, and TVOCs, respectively. CO2, TVOCs, and PM0.5 levels exceeded health-based indoor air quality guidelines. Survey results suggest that nursery renovations and related potential pollutant sources may be associated with differences in urbanicity, income, and presence of older children with respiratory ailments, which could potentially confound health studies. While there are no standards for indoor residential air quality, our findings suggest that additional research is needed to assess indoor pollution exposure for infants, which may be a vulnerable population. Full article
Open AccessArticle Resilience to the Health Risks of Extreme Weather Events in a Changing Climate in the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4582-4595; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124582
Received: 18 August 2011 / Revised: 11 November 2011 / Accepted: 2 December 2011 / Published: 8 December 2011
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current public health strategies, policies, and measures are being modified to enhance current health protection to climate-sensitive health outcomes. These modifications are critical to decrease vulnerability to climate variability, but do not necessarily increase resilience to future (and different) weather patterns. Communities resilient
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Current public health strategies, policies, and measures are being modified to enhance current health protection to climate-sensitive health outcomes. These modifications are critical to decrease vulnerability to climate variability, but do not necessarily increase resilience to future (and different) weather patterns. Communities resilient to the health risks of climate change anticipate risks; reduce vulnerability to those risks; prepare for and respond quickly and effectively to threats; and recover faster, with increased capacity to prepare for and respond to the next threat. Increasing resilience includes top-down (e.g., strengthening and maintaining disaster risk management programs) and bottom-up (e.g., increasing social capital) measures, and focuses not only on the risks presented by climate change but also on the underlying socioeconomic, geographic, and other vulnerabilities that affect the extent and magnitude of impacts. Three examples are discussed of public health programs designed for other purposes that provide opportunities for increasing the capacity of communities to avoid, prepare for, and effectively respond to the health risks of extreme weather and climate events. Incorporating elements of adaptive management into public health practice, including a strong and explicit focus on iteratively managing risks, will increase effective management of climate change risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Related Factors of Insulin Resistance in Korean Children: Adiposity and Maternal Insulin Resistance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4596-4607; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124596
Received: 28 October 2011 / Revised: 2 December 2011 / Accepted: 7 December 2011 / Published: 12 December 2011
PDF Full-text (356 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increased adiposity and unhealthy lifestyle augment the risk for type 2 diabetes in children with familial predisposition. Insulin resistance (IR) is an excellent clinical marker for identifying children at high risk for type 2 diabetes. This study was conducted to investigate parental, physiological,
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Increased adiposity and unhealthy lifestyle augment the risk for type 2 diabetes in children with familial predisposition. Insulin resistance (IR) is an excellent clinical marker for identifying children at high risk for type 2 diabetes. This study was conducted to investigate parental, physiological, behavioral and socio-economic factors related to IR in Korean children. This study is a cross-sectional study using data from 111 children aged 7 years and their parents. Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated using fasting glucose and insulin level as a marker of IR. All children’s adiposity indices (r = 0.309–0.318, all P-value = 0.001) and maternal levels of fasting insulin (r = 0.285, P-value = 0.003) and HOMA-IR (r = 0.290, P-value = 0.002) were positively correlated with children’s HOMA-IR level. There was no statistical difference of children’s HOMA-IR level according to children’s lifestyle habits and socioeconomic status of families. An increase of 1 percentage point in body fat was related to 2.7% increase in children’s HOMA-IR (P-value < 0.001) and an increase of 1% of maternal level of HOMA-IR was related to 0.2% increase in children’s HOMA-IR (P-value = 0.002). This study shows that children’s adiposity and maternal IR are positively associated with children’s IR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Prevention and Treatment)
Open AccessArticle An Updated Algorithm for Estimation of Pesticide Exposure Intensity in the Agricultural Health Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4608-4622; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124608
Received: 11 November 2011 / Revised: 2 December 2011 / Accepted: 5 December 2011 / Published: 12 December 2011
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (354 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An algorithm developed to estimate pesticide exposure intensity for use in epidemiologic analyses was revised based on data from two exposure monitoring studies. In the first study, we estimated relative exposure intensity based on the results of measurements taken during the application of
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An algorithm developed to estimate pesticide exposure intensity for use in epidemiologic analyses was revised based on data from two exposure monitoring studies. In the first study, we estimated relative exposure intensity based on the results of measurements taken during the application of the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) (n = 88) and the insecticide chlorpyrifos (n = 17). Modifications to the algorithm weighting factors were based on geometric means (GM) of post-application urine concentrations for applicators grouped by application method and use of chemically-resistant (CR) gloves. Measurement data from a second study were also used to evaluate relative exposure levels associated with airblast as compared to hand spray application methods. Algorithm modifications included an increase in the exposure reduction factor for use of CR gloves from 40% to 60%, an increase in the application method weight for boom spray relative to in-furrow and for air blast relative to hand spray, and a decrease in the weight for mixing relative to the new weights assigned for application methods. The weighting factors for the revised algorithm now incorporate exposure measurements taken on Agricultural Health Study (AHS) participants for the application methods and personal protective equipment (PPE) commonly reported by study participants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pesticides and Health)
Open AccessArticle Environmental Impacts from Pesticide Use: A Case Study of Soil Fumigation in Florida Tomato Production
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4649-4661; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124649
Received: 12 November 2011 / Revised: 19 November 2011 / Accepted: 23 November 2011 / Published: 14 December 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (305 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The search for alternative fumigants has been ongoing since the 1992 Parties of the Montreal Protocol classified methyl bromide as a Class I controlled substance with an ozone depletion potential (ODP) of 0.7 and destined it for phase-out. This paper focuses on the
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The search for alternative fumigants has been ongoing since the 1992 Parties of the Montreal Protocol classified methyl bromide as a Class I controlled substance with an ozone depletion potential (ODP) of 0.7 and destined it for phase-out. This paper focuses on the hazards from fumigants proposed as alternatives for pre-plant soil fumigation in tomato production. We use the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) developed by Kovach et al. to estimate the hazards from methyl bromide and the proposed alternative fumigants to workers, consumers, beneficial arthropods, birds, fish, and bees. Our findings indicate that iodomethane 98/2 has the lowest EIQ index value and field use rating, and is the alternative with the lowest relative risk. Among environmental categories, workers and beneficial arthropods experience the highest relative risks from the proposed tomato fumigants, and fish and consumers the least risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health Risk Assessment)
Open AccessArticle The Centre for Healthy Weights—Shapedown BC: A Family-Centered, Multidisciplinary Program that Reduces Weight Gain in Obese Children over the Short-Term
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4662-4678; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124662
Received: 19 September 2011 / Revised: 14 November 2011 / Accepted: 9 December 2011 / Published: 15 December 2011
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (317 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective was to conduct a program evaluation of the Centre for Healthy Weights—Shapedown BC (CHW-SB), a family-centered, multidisciplinary program for obese children, by assessing the change in weight trajectories from program intake to completion. Secondary outcomes included changes in clinical, biochemical and
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The objective was to conduct a program evaluation of the Centre for Healthy Weights—Shapedown BC (CHW-SB), a family-centered, multidisciplinary program for obese children, by assessing the change in weight trajectories from program intake to completion. Secondary outcomes included changes in clinical, biochemical and psychological parameters, and in physical activity (PA) levels. The CHW-SB program was evaluated over 10 weeks. Data collection included anthropometric, metabolic, PA and psychological measures. Longitudinal mixed effects regression was performed to evaluate weight change from Phase 1 (before program on waitlist) to Phase 2 (during program). 238 children < 18 years of age were referred to the program of which 119 were eligible for participation. There was a significant decrease in weight trajectory in children following program entry. Participants experienced an average .89% monthly increase before program entry, compared to a .37% monthly decline afterwards, a drop of 1.26% (p < 0.0001, 95%CI 1.08 to 1.44). zBMI (2.26 ± 0.33 to 2.20 ± 0.36, p < 0.001), waist circumference (99 ± 15.7 to 97 ± 16 cm, p < 0.0001) and fasting insulin (137 ± 94.8 to 121 ± 83.4 pmol/L, < 0.001) also decreased in participants who attended the final visit. Significant improvements were seen in all measures of PA, self-concept, and anxiety. CHW-SB, a government-funded program, is the first obesity-treatment program to be evaluated in Canada. While short-term evaluation revealed significant improvements in adiposity, PA, and psychological measures, the lack of full follow-up is a limitation in interpreting the clinical effectiveness of this program, as drop-out may be associated with lack of success in meeting program goals. These data also emphasize the need for ongoing evaluation to assess the long-term implications of this unique program and ultimately optimize utilization of governmental resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Prevention and Treatment)
Open AccessArticle Individual and Public-Program Adaptation: Coping with Heat Waves in Five Cities in Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4679-4701; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124679
Received: 30 September 2011 / Revised: 17 November 2011 / Accepted: 1 December 2011 / Published: 16 December 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Heat Alert and Response Systems (HARS) are currently undergoing testing and implementation in Canada. These programs seek to reduce the adverse health effects of heat waves on human health by issuing weather forecasts and warnings, informing individuals about possible protections from excessive heat,
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Heat Alert and Response Systems (HARS) are currently undergoing testing and implementation in Canada. These programs seek to reduce the adverse health effects of heat waves on human health by issuing weather forecasts and warnings, informing individuals about possible protections from excessive heat, and providing such protections to vulnerable subpopulations and individuals at risk. For these programs to be designed effectively, it is important to know how individuals perceive the heat, what their experience with heat-related illness is, how they protect themselves from excessive heat, and how they acquire information about such protections. In September 2010, we conducted a survey of households in 5 cities in Canada to study these issues. At the time of the survey, these cities had not implemented heat outreach and response systems. The study results indicate that individuals’ recollections of recent heat wave events were generally accurate. About 21% of the sample reported feeling unwell during the most recent heat spell, but these illnesses were generally minor. Only in 25 cases out of 243, these illnesses were confirmed or diagnosed by a health care professional. The rate at which our respondents reported heat-related illnesses was higher among those with cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, was higher among younger respondents and bore no relationship with the availability of air conditioning at home. Most of the respondents indicated that they would not dismiss themselves as “not at risk” and that they would cope with excessive heat by staying in air conditioned environments and keeping well hydrated. Despite the absence of heat outreach and education programs in their city, our respondents at least a rough idea of how to take care of themselves. The presence of air conditioning and knowledge of cooling centers is location-specific, which provides opportunities for targeting HARS interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Perceptions of Heat-Susceptibility in Older Persons: Barriers to Adaptation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4714-4728; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124714
Received: 26 October 2011 / Revised: 22 November 2011 / Accepted: 5 December 2011 / Published: 19 December 2011
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (308 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increase in the frequency of very hot weather that is a predicted consequence of climate change poses an emerging threat to public health. Extreme heat can be harmful to the health of older persons who are known to be amongst the most
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The increase in the frequency of very hot weather that is a predicted consequence of climate change poses an emerging threat to public health. Extreme heat can be harmful to the health of older persons who are known to be amongst the most vulnerable in the community. This study aimed to investigate factors influencing the ability of older persons to adapt to hot conditions, and barriers to adaptation. A qualitative study was conducted in Adelaide, Australia, involving focus groups and interviews with stakeholders including key personnel involved in aged care, community services, government sectors, emergency services and policy making. Findings revealed a broad range of factors that underpin the heat-susceptibility of the aged. These were categorized into four broad themes relating to: physiology and an age-related decline in health; socioeconomic factors, particularly those influencing air conditioning use; psychological issues including fears and anxieties about extreme heat; and adaptive strategies that could be identified as both enablers and barriers. As a consequence, the ability and willingness to undertake behavior change during heatwaves can therefore be affected in older persons. Additionally, understanding the control panels on modern air conditioners can present challenges for the aged. Improving heat-health knowledge and addressing the social and economic concerns of the older population will assist in minimizing heat-related morbidity and mortality in a warming climate. Full article
Open AccessArticle Determining the Maximum Cumulative Ratios for Mixtures Observed in Ground Water Wells Used as Drinking Water Supplies in the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4729-4745; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124729
Received: 9 October 2011 / Revised: 13 December 2011 / Accepted: 13 December 2011 / Published: 19 December 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1484 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The maximum cumulative ratio (MCR) developed in previous work is a tool to evaluate the need to perform cumulative risk assessments. MCR is the ratio of the cumulative exposures to multiple chemicals to the maximum exposure from one of the chemicals when exposures
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The maximum cumulative ratio (MCR) developed in previous work is a tool to evaluate the need to perform cumulative risk assessments. MCR is the ratio of the cumulative exposures to multiple chemicals to the maximum exposure from one of the chemicals when exposures are described using a common metric. This tool is used to evaluate mixtures of chemicals measured in samples of untreated ground water as source for drinking water systems in the United States. The mixtures of chemicals in this dataset differ from those examined in our previous work both in terms of the predicted toxicity and compounds measured. Despite these differences, MCR values in this study follow patterns similar to those seen earlier. MCR values for the mixtures have a mean (range) of 2.2 (1.03–5.4) that is much smaller than the mean (range) of 16 (5–34) in the mixtures in previous study. The MCR values of the mixtures decline as Hazard Index (HI) values increase. MCR values for mixtures with larger HI values are not affected by possible contributions from chemicals that may occur at levels below the detection limits. This work provides a second example of use of the MCR tool in the evaluation of mixtures that occur in the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cumulative Health Risk Assessment)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Mass Casualties and Health Care Following the Release of Toxic Chemicals or Radioactive Material—Contribution of Modern Biotechnology
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4521-4549; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124521
Received: 1 November 2011 / Revised: 25 November 2011 / Accepted: 29 November 2011 / Published: 7 December 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (625 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Catastrophic chemical or radiological events can cause thousands of casualties. Such disasters require triage procedures to identify the development of health consequences requiring medical intervention. Our objective is to analyze recent advancements in biotechnology for triage in mass emergency situations. In addition to
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Catastrophic chemical or radiological events can cause thousands of casualties. Such disasters require triage procedures to identify the development of health consequences requiring medical intervention. Our objective is to analyze recent advancements in biotechnology for triage in mass emergency situations. In addition to identifying persons “at risk” of developing health problems, these technologies can aid in securing the unaffected or “worried well”. We also highlight the need for public/private partnerships to engage in some of the underpinning sciences, such as patho-physiological mechanisms of chemical and radiological hazards, and for the necessary investment in the development of rapid assessment tools through identification of biochemical, molecular, and genetic biomarkers to predict health effects. For chemical agents, biomarkers of neurotoxicity, lung damage, and clinical and epidemiological databases are needed to assess acute and chronic effects of exposures. For radiological exposures, development of rapid, sensitive biomarkers using advanced biotechnologies are needed to sort exposed persons at risk of life-threatening effects from persons with long-term risk or no risk. The final implementation of rapid and portable diagnostics tools suitable for emergency care providers to guide triage and medical countermeasures use will need public support, since commercial incentives are lacking. Full article
Figures

Open AccessReview Controlling Access to Suicide Means
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4550-4562; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124550
Received: 27 October 2011 / Revised: 15 November 2011 / Accepted: 29 November 2011 / Published: 7 December 2011
Cited by 39 | PDF Full-text (233 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Restricting access to common means of suicide, such as firearms, toxic gas, pesticides and other, has been shown to be effective in reducing rates of death in suicide. In the present review we aimed to summarize the empirical and clinical literature
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Background: Restricting access to common means of suicide, such as firearms, toxic gas, pesticides and other, has been shown to be effective in reducing rates of death in suicide. In the present review we aimed to summarize the empirical and clinical literature on controlling the access to means of suicide. Methods: This review made use of both MEDLINE, ISI Web of Science and the Cochrane library databases, identifying all English articles with the keywords “suicide means”, “suicide method”, “suicide prediction” or “suicide prevention” and other relevant keywords. Results: A number of factors may influence an individual’s decision regarding method in a suicide act, but there is substantial support that easy access influences the choice of method. In many countries, restrictions of access to common means of suicide has lead to lower overall suicide rates, particularly regarding suicide by firearms in USA, detoxification of domestic and motor vehicle gas in England and other countries, toxic pesticides in rural areas, barriers at jumping sites and hanging, by introducing “safe rooms” in prisons and hospitals. Moreover, decline in prescription of barbiturates and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), as well as limitation of drugs pack size for paracetamol and salicylate has reduced suicides by overdose, while increased prescription of SSRIs seems to have lowered suicidal rates. Conclusions: Restriction to means of suicide may be particularly effective in contexts where the method is popular, highly lethal, widely available, and/or not easily substituted by other similar methods. However, since there is some risk of means substitution, restriction of access should be implemented in conjunction with other suicide prevention strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention and Public Health)
Open AccessReview Local Heat Stroke Prevention Plans in Japan: Characteristics and Elements for Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4563-4581; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124563
Received: 18 October 2011 / Revised: 23 November 2011 / Accepted: 2 December 2011 / Published: 7 December 2011
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (443 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The adverse health effects from hot weather and heat waves represent significant public health risks in vulnerable areas worldwide. Rising temperatures due to climate change are aggravating these risks in a context of fast urbanization, population growth and societal ageing. However, environmental heat-related
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The adverse health effects from hot weather and heat waves represent significant public health risks in vulnerable areas worldwide. Rising temperatures due to climate change are aggravating these risks in a context of fast urbanization, population growth and societal ageing. However, environmental heat-related health effects are largely preventable through adequate preparedness and responses. Public health adaptation to climate change will often require the implementation of heat wave warning systems and targeted preventive activities at different levels. While several national governments have established such systems at the country level, municipalities do not generally play a major role in the prevention of heat disorders. This paper analyzes selected examples of locally operated heat-health prevention plans in Japan. The analysis of these plans highlights their strengths, but also the need of local institutions for assistance to make the transition towards an effective public health management of high temperatures and heat waves. It can also provide useful elements for municipal governments in vulnerable areas, both in planning their climate change and health adaptation activities or to better protect their communities against current health effects from heat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessReview Heatwave Early Warning Systems and Adaptation Advice to Reduce Human Health Consequences of Heatwaves
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4623-4648; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124623
Received: 27 September 2011 / Revised: 29 November 2011 / Accepted: 5 December 2011 / Published: 12 December 2011
Cited by 63 | PDF Full-text (420 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Introduction: With climate change, there has been an increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwave events. In response to the devastating mortality and morbidity of recent heatwave events, many countries have introduced heatwave early warning systems (HEWS). HEWS are designed
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Introduction: With climate change, there has been an increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwave events. In response to the devastating mortality and morbidity of recent heatwave events, many countries have introduced heatwave early warning systems (HEWS). HEWS are designed to reduce the avoidable human health consequences of heatwaves through timely notification of prevention measures to vulnerable populations. Objective: To identify the key characteristics of HEWS in European countries to help inform modification of current, and development of, new systems and plans. Methods: We searched the internet to identify HEWS policy or government documents for 33 European countries and requested information from relevant organizations. We translated the HEWS documents and extracted details on the trigger indicators, thresholds for action, notification strategies, message intermediaries, communication and dissemination strategies, prevention strategies recommended and specified target audiences. Findings and Conclusions: Twelve European countries have HEWS. Although there are many similarities among the HEWS, there also are differences in key characteristics that could inform improvements in heatwave early warning plans. Full article
Open AccessReview Molecular Aspects of Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration: Gene-Environment Interaction in Parkin Dysfunction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(12), 4702-4713; doi:10.3390/ijerph8124702
Received: 15 November 2011 / Revised: 9 December 2011 / Accepted: 12 December 2011 / Published: 16 December 2011
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (646 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative movement disorder that is characterized pathologically by a progressive loss of midbrain dopaminergic neurons and by protein inclusions, designated Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites. PD is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, affecting almost 1%
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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative movement disorder that is characterized pathologically by a progressive loss of midbrain dopaminergic neurons and by protein inclusions, designated Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites. PD is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, affecting almost 1% of the population over 60 years old. Although the symptoms and neuropathology of PD have been well characterized, the underlying mechanisms and causes of the disease are still not clear. Genetic mutations can provide important clues to disease mechanism, but most PD cases are sporadic rather than familial; environmental factors have long been suspected to contribute to the disease. Although more than 90% of PD cases occur sporadically and are thought to be due, in part, to oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, the study of genetic mutations has provided great insight into the molecular mechanisms of PD. Furthermore, rotenone, a widely used pesticide, and paraquat and maneb cause a syndrome in rats and mice that mimics, both behaviorally and neurologically, the symptoms of PD. In the current review, we will discuss various aspects of gene-environment interaction that lead to progressive dopaminergic neurodegenration, mainly focusing on our current finding based on stress-mediated parkin dysfunction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Neurotoxicology)

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