Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2016, 13(2), 207; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020207 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: In 2010, the American Heart Association developed a new definition of ideal cardiovascular health (CVH) based on seven cardiovascular health metrics. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between modified ideal CVH metrics and the risk of stroke in the rural population of Northeast China. Methods: We included 11,417 adults from the rural population in Northeast China and collected all the information, including the baseline characteristics, history of stroke, and the seven ideal CVH metrics. Results: Our results showed that the presence of stroke was associated with high body mass index (BMI), poor diet score (salt intake), high total cholesterol (TC), high blood pressure (BP), and high fasting plasma glucose (FPG). The prevalence of stroke increased as the number of ideal CVH metrics decreased, and peaked to 13.1% among those with only one ideal CVH metric. Participants with only one ideal CVH had a 4.40-fold increased susceptibility of stroke than those with all seven ideal health metrics. Conclusion: This study revealed that people with a better CVH status had a lower prevalence of stroke and the susceptibility of stroke increased with the decreasing of the number of ideal CVH metrics.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2016, 13(2), 206; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020206 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Heat waves have been responsible for more fatalities in Europe over the past decades than any other extreme weather event. However, temperature-related illnesses and deaths are largely preventable. Reliable sub-seasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) climate forecasts of extreme temperatures could allow for better short-to-medium-term resource management within heat-health action plans, to protect vulnerable populations and ensure access to preventive measures well in advance. The objective of this study is to assess the extent to which S2S climate forecasts could be incorporated into heat-health action plans, to support timely public health decision-making ahead of imminent heat wave events in Europe. Forecasts of apparent temperature at different lead times (e.g., 1 day, 4 days, 8 days, up to 3 months) were used in a mortality model to produce probabilistic mortality forecasts up to several months ahead of the 2003 heat wave event in Europe. Results were compared to mortality predictions, inferred using observed apparent temperature data in the mortality model. In general, we found a decreasing transition in skill between excellent predictions when using observed temperature, to predictions with no skill when using forecast temperature with lead times greater than one week. However, even at lead-times up to three months, there were some regions in Spain and the United Kingdom where excess mortality was detected with some certainty. This suggests that in some areas of Europe, there is potential for S2S climate forecasts to be incorporated in localised heat–health action plans. In general, these results show that the performance of this climate service framework is not limited by the mortality model itself, but rather by the predictability of the climate variables, at S2S time scales, over Europe.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2016, 13(2), 208; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020208 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The aim of this experimental study is to assess if urban wastewater treated by ten different greenhouse-based sustainable wetland systems can be recycled to irrigate Capsicum annuum L. (Sweet Pepper; California Wonder) commercially grown either in compost or sand within a laboratory environment. The design variables were aggregate diameter, contact time, resting time and chemical oxygen demand. The key objectives were to assess: (i) the suitability of different treated (recycled) wastewaters for irrigation; (ii) response of peppers in terms of growth when using recycled wastewater subject to different growth media and hydrocarbon contamination; and (iii) the economic viability of different experimental set-ups in terms of marketable yield. Ortho-phosphate-phosphorus, ammonia-nitrogen, potassium and manganese concentrations in the irrigation water considerably exceeded the corresponding water quality thresholds. A high yield in terms of economic return (marketable yield expressed in monetary value) was linked to raw wastewater and an organic growth medium, while the plants grown in organic medium and wetlands of large aggregate size, high contact and resting times, diesel-spill contamination and low inflow loading rate produced the best fruits in terms of their dimensions and fresh weights, indicating the role of diesel in reducing too high nitrogen concentrations.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2016, 13(2), 209; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020209 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Understanding the spatial distribution of soil lead has been a focus of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study since its inception in 1997. Through multiple research projects that span spatial scales and use different methodologies, three overarching patterns have been identified: (1) soil lead concentrations often exceed state and federal regulatory limits; (2) the variability of soil lead concentrations is high; and (3) despite multiple sources and the highly heterogeneous and patchy nature of soil lead, discernable patterns do exist. Specifically, housing age, the distance to built structures, and the distance to a major roadway are strong predictors of soil lead concentrations. Understanding what drives the spatial distribution of soil lead can inform the transition of underutilized urban space into gardens and other desirable land uses while protecting human health. A framework for management is proposed that considers three factors: (1) the level of contamination; (2) the desired land use; and (3) the community’s preference in implementing the desired land use. The goal of the framework is to promote dialogue and resultant policy changes that support consistent and clear regulatory guidelines for soil lead, without which urban communities will continue to be subject to the potential for lead exposure.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2016, 13(2), 210; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020210 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: Child undernutrition and flooding are highly prevalent public health issues in Asia, yet epidemiological studies investigating this association are lacking. Methods: To investigate to what extent floods exacerbate poor nutritional status in children and identify most vulnerable groups, we conducted a population-based survey of children aged 6–59 months inhabiting flooded and non-flooded communities of the Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha (India), one year after large floods in 2008. Anthropometric measurements on 879 children and child, parental and household level variables were collected through face-to-face interviews in September 2009. The association between flooding and the prevalence of wasting, stunting and underweight was examined using weighted multivariate logistic regression for children inhabiting communities exposed solely to floods in 2008 and those communities repeatedly flooded (2006 and 2008) controlling for parental education and other relevant variables. We examined the influence of age on this association. Propensity score matching was conducted to test the robustness of our findings. Results: The prevalence of wasting among children flooded in 2006 and 2008 was 51.6%, 41.4% in those flooded only in 2008, and 21.2% in children inhabiting non-flooded communities. Adjusting by confounders, the increased prevalence relative to non-flooded children in the exposed groups were 2.30 (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR); 95% CI: 1.86, 2.85) and 1.94 (95% CI: 1.43, 2.63), respectively. Among repeatedly flooded communities, cases of severe wasting in children were 3.37 times more prevalent than for children inhabiting in those non-flooded (95% CI: 2.34, 4.86) and nearly twice more prevalent relative to those flooded only once. Those children younger than one year during previous floods in 2006 showed the largest difference in prevalence of wasting compared to their non-flooded counterparts (aPR: 4.01; 95% CI: 1.51, 10.63). Results were robust to alternative adjusted models and in propensity score matching analyses. For similar analyses, no significant associations were found for child stunting, and more moderate effects were observed in the case of child underweight. Conclusions: Particularly in low-resource or subsistence-farming rural settings, long-lasting nutritional response in the aftermath of floods should be seriously considered to counteract the long-term nutritional effects on children, particularly infants, and include their mothers on whom they are dependent. The systematic monitoring of nutritional status in these groups might help to tailor efficient responses in each particular context.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2016, 13(2), 211; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020211 - published 6 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Legionella spp. are ubiquitous in aquatic habitats and water distribution systems, including dental unit waterlines (DUWLs). The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of Legionella in DUWLs and tap water samples using PMA-qPCR and standard culture methods. The total viable counts (TVCs) of aerobic heterotrophic bacteria in the samples were also determined. Legionella spp. were detected and quantified using the modified ISO 11731 culture method. Extracted genomic DNA was analysed using the iQ-Check Quanti Legionella spp. kit, and the TVCs were determined according to the ISO protocol 6222. Legionella spp. were detected in 100% of the samples using the PMA-qPCR method, whereas these bacteria were detected in only 7% of the samples using the culture method. The number of colony forming units (CFUs) of the TVCs in the DUWL and tap water samples differed, with the bacterial load being significantly lower in the tap water samples (p-value = 0). The counts obtained were within the Italian standard range established for potable water in only 5% of the DUWL water samples and in 77% of the tap water samples. Our results show that the level of Legionella spp. contamination determined using the culture method does not reflect the true scale of the problem, and consequently we recommend testing for the presence of aerobic heterotrophic bacteria based on the assumption that Legionella spp. are components of biofilms.