Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(3), 2653-2669; doi:10.3390/ijerph120302653 (registering DOI) - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tribal people living in hilly areas suffer from water scarcity in many parts of the world, including India. Water scarcity adversely impacts all aspects of life, including public health. Implementation of an Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) can help solve the problems arising out of water scarcity in such areas. However, the knowledge about and views of the water scarcity sufferers on the public health implications of IWMP have not been well documented. This cross-sectional study was performed in six purposively selected tribal villages located in Maharashtra, India. In three of the villages IWMP had been implemented (IWMV), but not in the other three (NWMV). The head of each household in all villages was interviewed using a questionnaire covering various public health aspects relevant to the villages. A total of 286/313 (92%) households participated in the study. Compared to NWMV, respondents in IWMV experienced significantly lesser prolonged water scarcity (OR = 0.39), had greater number of toilets (OR = 6.95), cultivated more variety of crops (OR = 2.61), had lower migration (OR = 0.59), higher number of girls continuing education (OR = 3.04) and better utilized modern healthcare facilities in the antenatal, natal and postnatal period (OR = 3.75, 2.57, 4.88 respectively). Thus, tribal people in IWMP-implemented villages reported advantages in many aspects of public health.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(3), 2639-2652; doi:10.3390/ijerph120302639 (registering DOI) - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The deployment of a miniature mobile-phone base station or small cell in a train car significantly improves the coverage and the capacity of a mobile network service on the train. However, the impact of the small cell on the passengers’ exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) is unknown. In this study, we assessed experimentally the RF-EMF exposure of a mobile-phone user who is either connected to the outdoor macrocell network or to an in-train small cell, while traveling on the train, by means of the absorbed-dose concept, which combines the base station downlink exposure with the mobile-phone uplink exposure. For Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology at 1800 MHz, we found that by connecting to a small cell, the brain exposure of the user could realistically be reduced by a factor 35 and the whole-body exposure by a factor 11.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(3), 2622-2638; doi:10.3390/ijerph120302622 (registering DOI) - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We hypothesized that weather and space weather conditions were associated with the exacerbation of essential hypertension. The study was conducted during 2009–2010 in the city of Kaunas, Lithuania. We analyzed 13,475 cards from emergency ambulance calls (EACs), in which the conditions for the emergency calls were made coded I.10–I.15. The Kaunas Weather Station provided daily records of air temperature (T), wind speed (WS), relative humidity, and barometric pressure (BP). We evaluated the associations between daily weather variables and daily number of EACs by applying a multivariate Poisson regression. Unfavorable heliophysical conditions (two days after the active-stormy geomagnetic field or the days with solar WS > 600 km/s) increased the daily number of elevated arterial blood pressure (EABP) by 12% (RR = 1.12; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04–1.21); and WS ≥ 3.5 knots during days of T < 1.5 °C and T ≥ 12.5 °C by 8% (RR = 1.08; CI 1.04–1.12). An increase of T by 10 °C and an elevation of BP two days after by 10 hPa were associated with a decrease in RR by 3%. An additional effect of T was detected during days of T ≥ 17.5 °C only in females. Women and patients with grade III arterial hypertension at the time of the ambulance call were more sensitive to weather conditions. These results may help in the understanding of the population’s sensitivity to different weather conditions.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(3), 2612-2621; doi:10.3390/ijerph120302612 (registering DOI) - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The estrogen receptor protein (ER) can bind a vast number of organic pollutants widely spread in the environment and collectively known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, EDCs. Its broad selectivity makes it an ideal bio-recognition element for the detection of EDCs. Here we describe the strategy and rationale for the design of ER based biosensors and assays that generate a signal in the presence of EDCs. The opportunity to use either natural or rationally modified ER molecules is discussed. The latter approach was successfully applied in the EU-FP7 project RADAR, with the aim to develop a novel biosensor for the detection of organic pollutants both in the environment and in commercial water products.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(3), 2588-2611; doi:10.3390/ijerph120302588 (registering DOI) - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Pit latrines are the main form of sanitation in unplanned areas in many rapidly growing developing cities. Understanding demand for pit latrine fecal sludge management (FSM) services in these communities is important for designing demand-responsive sanitation services and policies to improve public health. We examine latrine emptying knowledge, attitudes, behavior, trends and rates of safe/unsafe emptying, and measure demand for a new hygienic latrine emptying service in unplanned communities in Dar Es Salaam (Dar), Tanzania, using data from a cross-sectional survey at 662 residential properties in 35 unplanned sub-wards across Dar, where 97% had pit latrines. A picture emerges of expensive and poor FSM service options for latrine owners, resulting in widespread fecal sludge exposure that is likely to increase unless addressed. Households delay emptying as long as possible, use full pits beyond what is safe, face high costs even for unhygienic emptying, and resort to unsafe practices like ‘flooding out’. We measured strong interest in and willingness to pay (WTP) for the new pit emptying service at 96% of residences; 57% were WTP ≥U.S. $17 to remove ≥200 L of sludge. Emerging policy recommendations for safe FSM in unplanned urban communities in Dar and elsewhere are discussed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(3), 2574-2587; doi:10.3390/ijerph120302574 (registering DOI) - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: Tobacco smoking is more prevalent among the elderly than among the young, and the elderly also have the most frequent contact with the health care system. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Gold Standard Program, which is an intensive six-week smoking cessation program, on continuous self-reported abstinence rates after six months, on participants over the age of 60 years in a real life setting. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study from the national Danish smoking cessation database. Results: The database registered 7369 participants over the age of 60 years (range 60–82) and 24,294 below 60 years (range 15–59). Continuous abstinence rate after six months was 37% for the elderly compared to 35% for the younger (p < 0.05). The significant variables for continuous abstinence were: living with another adult (OR 1.10), prior professional recommendation for smoking cessation (OR 1.12), being compliant with program (OR 1.35) and being abstinent at end of course (OR 13.3). Conclusions: Participants over the age of 60 years had significantly higher continuous abstinence rates after six months than the participants less than 60 years. It is never too late for health professionals to recommend and educate patients about smoking cessation programs even if they are over 60 years of age.