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Special Issue "Environment and Health - Bridging South, North, East and West: Proceedings from the ISEE, ISES and ISIAQ Conference 2013"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Annette Peters

Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology II, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1
, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: air pollution; nanoparticles; urban environments; climate change; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; aging, gene-environment interaction; metabolomics; epigenetics
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Nino Kuenzli

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Chair for Social and Preventive Medicine, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, P.O. Box, 4002 Basel, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue is open for submissions of papers presented at the Environment and Health - Bridging South, North, East and West: the ISEE, ISES and ISIAQ Conference 2013, Basel, Switzerland, 20-23 August 2013.

Papers submitted to this special edition of the IJERPH will undergo the standard peer-review procedure of the IJERPH. Accepted papers will be published as part of the regular issues of the IJERPH and collected together on this special issue website. Published papers will be indexed by the SCIE (Web of Science) and PubMed.

Selected Topics

  • Assessing exposure to indoor and ambient air pollution, noise, chemicals, toxic waste and electromagnetic fields and evaluating long term health impact
  • Methodological challenges for global environmental epidemiology
  • Environmental risks in the context of rapid urbanization in resource-poor settings
  • Environmental susceptibility and resilience due to genes, co-morbidities, and socio-cultural and socio-economic factors
  • Life course environmental epidemiology
  • Linking science and policy through impact assessment
  • Indoor and outdoor environmental interventions to improve health
  • Water, sanitation and health linkages
  • Linkages between agriculture, environment and diseases of poverty
  • Identifying and modeling the impacts of and options for managing the environment and health risks of climate variability and change
  • Health impacts of natural resources development and management (e.g. extractive industry, water-resource developments)

Prof. Dr. Annette Peters
Prof. Dr. Nino Kuenzli
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The participants of the conference benefit of a 20% discount on the Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication of a paper in this open access journal (1120 CHF instead of 1400 CHF).

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Association of Seasonal Climate Variability and Age-Specific Mortality in Northern Sweden before the Onset of Industrialization
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(7), 6940-6954; doi:10.3390/ijerph110706940
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 19 June 2014 / Accepted: 24 June 2014 / Published: 7 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (520 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background and aims: Little is known about health impacts of climate in pre-industrial societies. We used historical data to investigate the association of temperature and precipitation with total and age-specific mortality in Skellefteå, northern Sweden, between 1749 and 1859. Methods: We
[...] Read more.
Background and aims: Little is known about health impacts of climate in pre-industrial societies. We used historical data to investigate the association of temperature and precipitation with total and age-specific mortality in Skellefteå, northern Sweden, between 1749 and 1859. Methods: We retrieved digitized aggregated population data of the Skellefteå parish, and monthly temperature and precipitation measures. A generalized linear model was established for year to year variability in deaths by annual and seasonal average temperature and cumulative precipitation using a negative binomial function, accounting for long-term trends in population size. The final full model included temperature and precipitation of all four seasons simultaneously. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for total, sex- and age-specific mortality. Results: In the full model, only autumn precipitation proved statistically significant (RR 1.02; CI 1.00–1.03, per 1cm increase of autumn precipitation), while winter temperature (RR 0.98; CI 0.95–1.00, per 1 °C increase in temperature) and spring precipitation (RR 0.98; CI 0.97–1.00 per 1 cm increase in precipitation) approached significance. Similar effects were observed for men and women. The impact of climate variability on mortality was strongest in children aged 3–9, and partly also in older children. Infants, on the other hand, appeared to be less affected by unfavourable climate conditions. Conclusions: In this pre-industrial rural region in northern Sweden, higher levels of rain during the autumn increased the annual number of deaths. Harvest quality might be one critical factor in the causal pathway, affecting nutritional status and susceptibility to infectious diseases. Autumn rain probably also contributed to the spread of air-borne diseases in crowded living conditions. Children beyond infancy appeared most vulnerable to climate impacts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Respiratory Effects of Fine and Ultrafine Particles from Indoor Sources—A Randomized Sham-Controlled Exposure Study of Healthy Volunteers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(7), 6871-6889; doi:10.3390/ijerph110706871
Received: 28 March 2014 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 4 July 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Particulate air pollution is linked to impaired respiratory health. We analyzed particle emissions from common indoor sources (candles burning (CB), toasting bread (TB), frying sausages (FS)) and lung function in 55 healthy volunteers (mean age 33.0 years) in a randomized cross-over controlled exposure
[...] Read more.
Particulate air pollution is linked to impaired respiratory health. We analyzed particle emissions from common indoor sources (candles burning (CB), toasting bread (TB), frying sausages (FS)) and lung function in 55 healthy volunteers (mean age 33.0 years) in a randomized cross-over controlled exposure study. Lung-deposited particle surface area concentration (PSC), size-specific particle number concentration (PNC) up to 10 µm, and particle mass concentration (PMC) of PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 were determined during exposure (2 h). FEV1, FVC and MEF25%–75% was measured before, 4 h and 24 h after exposure. Wilcoxon-rank sum tests (comparing exposure scenarios) and mixed linear regression using particle concentrations and adjusting for personal characteristics, travel time and transportation means before exposure sessions were performed. While no effect was seen comparing the exposure scenarios and in the unadjusted model, inverse associations were found for PMC from CB and FS in relation to FEV1 and MEF25%–75%. with a change in 10 µg/m3 in PM2.5 from CB being associated with a change in FEV1 of −19 mL (95%-confidence interval:−43; 5) after 4 h. PMC from TB and PNC of UFP were not associated with lung function changes, but PSC from CB was. Elevated indoor fine particles from certain sources may be associated with small decreases in lung function in healthy adults. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Open Space in Urban Neighbourhoods for Health-Related Lifestyle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 6547-6570; doi:10.3390/ijerph110606547
Received: 8 February 2014 / Revised: 9 June 2014 / Accepted: 12 June 2014 / Published: 23 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The research reported in this paper addresses the relationship between quality of open space and health related lifestyle in urban residential areas. The research was performed in the residential developments in Ljubljana, Slovenia, dating from the time of political and economic changes in
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The research reported in this paper addresses the relationship between quality of open space and health related lifestyle in urban residential areas. The research was performed in the residential developments in Ljubljana, Slovenia, dating from the time of political and economic changes in the early nineties. Compared to the older neighborhoods, these are typically single-use residential areas, with small open spaces and poor landscape design. The research is concerned with the quality of life in these areas, especially from the perspective of the vulnerable users, like the elderly and children. Both depend on easily accessible green areas in close proximity to their homes. The hypothesis is that the poor open space quality affects their health-related behavior and their perceived health status. The research has three methodological phases: (1) a comparison between urban residential areas by criteria describing their physical characteristics; (2) behavior observation and mapping and (3) a resident opinion survey. The results confirm differences between open spaces of the selected residential areas as well as their relation with outdoor activities: a lack of outdoor programs correlates with poor variety of outdoor activities, limited to transition type, less time spent outdoors and lower satisfaction with their home environment. The survey also disclosed a strong influence of a set of socio-economic variables such as education and economic status on physical activity and self-perceived health status of people. The results therefore confirm the hypothesis especially for less affluent and educated; i.e., vulnerable groups. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Field Survey of Health Perception and Complaints of Pennsylvania Residents in the Marcellus Shale Region
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 6517-6527; doi:10.3390/ijerph110606517
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 10 June 2014 / Accepted: 12 June 2014 / Published: 20 June 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (175 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale region residents have reported medical symptoms they believe are related to nearby Unconventional Natural Gas Development (UNGD). Associations between medical symptoms and UNGD have been minimally explored. The objective of this descriptive study is to explore whether shale region Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale region residents have reported medical symptoms they believe are related to nearby Unconventional Natural Gas Development (UNGD). Associations between medical symptoms and UNGD have been minimally explored. The objective of this descriptive study is to explore whether shale region Pennsylvania residents perceive UNGD as a health concern and whether they attribute health symptoms to UNGD exposures. A questionnaire was administered to adult volunteers with medical complaints in a primary-care medical office in a county where UNGD was present. Participants were asked whether they were concerned about health effects from UNGD, and whether they attributed current symptoms to UNGD or to some other environmental exposure. There were 72 respondents; 22% perceived UNGD as a health concern and 13% attributed medical symptoms to UNGD exposures. Overall, 42% attributed one or more of their medical symptoms to environmental causes, of which UNGD was the most frequent. A medical record review conducted on six participants who attributed their medical symptoms to UNGD revealed that only one of these records documented both the symptoms in question and the attribution to UNGD. The results of this pilot study suggest that there is substantial concern about adverse health effects of UNGD among Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale residents, and that these concerns may not be adequately represented in medical records. Further efforts to determine the relationship between UNGD and health are recommended in order to address community concerns. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Protecting Health from Climate Change in the WHO European Region
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 6265-6280; doi:10.3390/ijerph110606265
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 26 May 2014 / Published: 16 June 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (661 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
“How far are we in implementing climate change and health action in the WHO European Region?” This was the question addressed to representatives of WHO European Member States of the working group on health in climate change (HIC). Twenty-two Member States provided answers
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“How far are we in implementing climate change and health action in the WHO European Region?” This was the question addressed to representatives of WHO European Member States of the working group on health in climate change (HIC). Twenty-two Member States provided answers to a comprehensive questionnaire that focused around eight thematic areas (Governance; Vulnerability, impact and adaptation (health) assessments; Adaptation strategies and action plans; Climate change mitigation; Strengthening health systems; Raising awareness and building capacity; Greening health services; and Sharing best practices). Strong areas of development are climate change vulnerability and impact assessments, as well as strengthening health systems and awareness raising. Areas where implementation would benefit from further action are the development of National Health Adaptation Plans, greening health systems, sharing best practice and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in other sectors. At the Parma Conference in 2010, the European Ministerial Commitment to Act on climate change and health and the European Regional Framework for Action to protect health from climate change were endorsed by fifty three European Member States. The results of this questionnaire are the most comprehensive assessment so far of the progress made by WHO European Member States to protecting public health from climate change since the agreements in Parma and the World Health Assembly Resolution in 2008. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Study of Handling Cytotoxic Drugs and Risk of Birth Defects in Offspring of Female Veterinarians
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 6216-6230; doi:10.3390/ijerph110606216
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 4 June 2014 / Published: 12 June 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We examined the association of occupational exposure to handling cytotoxic drugs at work with risk of birth defects among a cohort of female veterinarians. This study is a follow up survey of 321 female participants (633 pregnancies) who participated in the Health Risks
[...] Read more.
We examined the association of occupational exposure to handling cytotoxic drugs at work with risk of birth defects among a cohort of female veterinarians. This study is a follow up survey of 321 female participants (633 pregnancies) who participated in the Health Risks of Australian Veterinarian project. Data on pregnancies and exposure during each pregnancy was obtained by self-administered mailed questionnaire. Female veterinarians handling cytotoxic drugs during their pregnancy had a two-fold increased risk of birth defects in their offspring (RR = 2.08, 95% CI (1.05–4.15)). Results were consistent in subgroup analysis of those who graduated during the period of 1961 to 1980 (RR = 5.04, 95% CI (1.81, 14.03) and in those working specifically in small and large animal practice. There was no increased risk in the subgroup that graduated after 1980. Women with unplanned pregnancies were more likely to handle cytotoxic drugs on a daily basis (RR = 1.86, 95% CI, 1.00–3.48) and had a higher increased risk of birth defects than those who planned their pregnancies in recent graduates and in those who worked specifically in small animal practice (RR = 2.53, 95% CI, 1.18–5.42). This study suggests that the adverse effects of handling cytotoxic drugs in pregnant women may include an increased risk of birth defects. Pregnancy intention status is an important health behavior and should be considered in prenatal programs. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Public Health Impacts of Climate Change in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 5975-5988; doi:10.3390/ijerph110605975
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 30 April 2014 / Accepted: 30 April 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Projected climatic changes for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for the period 2025–2100 will be most intense in the warmest period of the year with more frequent and more intense heat-waves, droughts and flood events compared with the period 1961–1990. The country
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Projected climatic changes for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for the period 2025–2100 will be most intense in the warmest period of the year with more frequent and more intense heat-waves, droughts and flood events compared with the period 1961–1990. The country has examined their vulnerabilities to climate change and many public health impacts have been projected. A variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used in the assessment: literature reviews, interviews, focus groups, time series and regression analysis, damage and adaptation cost estimation, and scenario-based assessment. Policies and interventions to minimize the risks and development of long-term adaptation strategies have been explored. The generation of a robust evidence base and the development of stakeholder engagement have been used to support the development of an adaptation strategy and to promote adaptive capacity by improving the resilience of public health systems to climate change. Climate change adaptation has been established as a priority within existing national policy instruments. The lessons learnt from the process are applicable to countries considering how best to improve adaptive capacity and resilience of health systems to climate variability and its associated impacts. Full article
Open AccessArticle Phthalate Exposure and Health-Related Outcomes in Specific Types of Work Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 5628-5639; doi:10.3390/ijerph110605628
Received: 28 March 2014 / Revised: 15 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many toxic substances in the workplace can modify human health and quality of life and there is still insufficient data on respiratory outcomes in adults exposed to phthalates. The aim of this work was to assess in waste management workers from the Nitra
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Many toxic substances in the workplace can modify human health and quality of life and there is still insufficient data on respiratory outcomes in adults exposed to phthalates. The aim of this work was to assess in waste management workers from the Nitra region of Slovakia (n = 30) the extent of exposure to phthalates and health-related outcomes. Four urinary phthalate metabolites mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), monobutyl phthalate (MnBP), monoethyl phthalate (MEP) and monoisononyl phthalate (MiNP) were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). Urinary concentration of MEHP was positively associated with ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 s to forced vital capacity % (FEV1/FVC) (r = 0.431; p = 0.018) and MiNP with fat free mass index (FFMI) (r = 0.439; p = 0.015). The strongest predictor of pulmonary function was the pack/year index as smoking history that predicted a decrease of pulmonary parameters, the FEV1/FVC, % of predicted values of peak expiratory flow (PEF % of PV) and FEV1 % of PV. Unexpectedly, urinary MEHP and MINP were positively associated with pulmonary function expressed as PEF % of PV and FEV1/FVC. We hypothesize that occupational exposure to phthalates estimated from urinary metabolites (MEHP, MiNP) can modify pulmonary function on top of lifestyle factors. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Impact of Low Emission Zone and Heavy Traffic Ban in Munich (Germany) on the Reduction of PM10 in Ambient Air
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(5), 5094-5112; doi:10.3390/ijerph110505094
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 5 May 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (896 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Concentrations of ambient fine particles (PM10: particles with an aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 µm) are still exceeding current air quality standards in many European cities. In Munich (Germany), low emission zone and transit bans for heavy-duty vehicles were introduced in 2008
[...] Read more.
Concentrations of ambient fine particles (PM10: particles with an aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 µm) are still exceeding current air quality standards in many European cities. In Munich (Germany), low emission zone and transit bans for heavy-duty vehicles were introduced in 2008 aiming at reduction of traffic emissions contribution to PM10. The effects of those measures on PM10 mass concentrations in Munich were investigated with a semiparametric regression model for modeling PM10 levels adjusted for time, background pollution, public holidays and wind direction. The reduction of PM10 concentration after the introduction of the measures was larger at a traffic monitoring site (13.0 %, 19.6 % in summer, and 6.8 % in winter) and smaller in urban background (4.5 %, 5.7 % in summer, and 3.2 % in winter). The effect was most pronounced on Fridays and on the weekends in summer. Full article
Open AccessArticle Simulation of Population-Based Commuter Exposure to NO2 Using Different Air Pollution Models
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(5), 5049-5068; doi:10.3390/ijerph110505049
Received: 11 February 2014 / Revised: 12 April 2014 / Accepted: 29 April 2014 / Published: 12 May 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (592 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
We simulated commuter routes and long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution during commute in a representative population sample in Basel (Switzerland), and evaluated three air pollution models with different spatial resolution for estimating commute exposures to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as a
[...] Read more.
We simulated commuter routes and long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution during commute in a representative population sample in Basel (Switzerland), and evaluated three air pollution models with different spatial resolution for estimating commute exposures to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as a marker of long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution. Our approach includes spatially and temporally resolved data on actual commuter routes, travel modes and three air pollution models. Annual mean NO2 commuter exposures were similar between models. However, we found more within-city and within-subject variability in annual mean (±SD) NO2 commuter exposure with a high resolution dispersion model (40 ± 7 µg m−3, range: 21–61) than with a dispersion model with a lower resolution (39 ± 5 µg m−3; range: 24–51), and a land use regression model (41 ± 5 µg m−3; range: 24–54). Highest median cumulative exposures were calculated along motorized transport and bicycle routes, and the lowest for walking. For estimating commuter exposure within a city and being interested also in small-scale variability between roads, a model with a high resolution is recommended. For larger scale epidemiological health assessment studies, models with a coarser spatial resolution are likely sufficient, especially when study areas include suburban and rural areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Behavior of VOCs and Carbonyl Compounds Emission from Different Types of Wallpapers in Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(4), 4326-4339; doi:10.3390/ijerph110404326
Received: 14 January 2014 / Revised: 31 March 2014 / Accepted: 11 April 2014 / Published: 17 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (874 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbonyls from three types of commercially available wallpapers (i.e., PVC-coated, paper-backed, natural material-coated) in Korea were evaluated using a 20 L small chamber. A total of 332 products were tested for emission factors, frequencies
[...] Read more.
Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbonyls from three types of commercially available wallpapers (i.e., PVC-coated, paper-backed, natural material-coated) in Korea were evaluated using a 20 L small chamber. A total of 332 products were tested for emission factors, frequencies of occurrence and composition ratios. Toluene and formaldehyde concentrations were below Korean standard values for all products; however, the total VOC (TVOC) concentrations exceeded current standards (4.0 mg/m2·h) for 30 products. The TVOC emission factor for PVC-coated wallpapers, for which polymer materials are used in the manufacturing process, was seven and 16 times higher than those of paper-backed and natural material-coated wallpapers, respectively. The detection frequencies for toluene and formaldehyde were the highest (82.5%) and fourth highest (79.5%), respectively among the 50 target chemical species. The composition ratios for BTEX ranged from 0.3% to 5.1% and unidentified VOCs, which were not qualitatively analyzed using standard gas methods, ranged from 90.2% to 94.8%. Among six carbonyl compounds (acrolein was not detected in any type of wallpaper), acetone had the highest concentrations in PVC-coated (44.6%) and paper-backed (66.6%) wallpapers. Formaldehyde emissions were highest (64.6%) for natural material-coated wallpapers, a result of the formaldehyde-based resin used in the manufacturing process for these products. Full article
Open AccessArticle Feasibility of Silver Doped TiO2/Glass Fiber Photocatalyst under Visible Irradiation as an Indoor Air Germicide
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(3), 3271-3288; doi:10.3390/ijerph110303271
Received: 20 January 2014 / Revised: 18 February 2014 / Accepted: 14 March 2014 / Published: 20 March 2014
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (827 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated the feasibility of using Ag-TiO2 photocatalyst supported on glass fiber (Ag-TiO2/GF) prepared by a sol-gel method as an indoor air germicide. An experimental model was designed to investigate the bacterial disinfection efficiency of Staphylococcus (Staph), the most
[...] Read more.
This study investigated the feasibility of using Ag-TiO2 photocatalyst supported on glass fiber (Ag-TiO2/GF) prepared by a sol-gel method as an indoor air germicide. An experimental model was designed to investigate the bacterial disinfection efficiency of Staphylococcus (Staph), the most popular bacterium in hospitals in Korea, by the Ag-TiO2/GF photocatalyst. The silver content in Ag/TiO2 was altered from 1 to 10% to investigate the optimal ratio of Ag doped on TiO2/glass fiber (TiO2/GF) for photocatalytic disinfection of Staph. This study confirmed that Ag in Ag-TiO2/GF could work as an electron sink or donor to increase photocatalytic activity and promote the charge separation of electron-hole pairs generated from TiO2 after photon absorption. Ag also acts as an intermediate agent for the transfer of photo-generated electrons from the valence band of TiO2 to an acceptor (O2 gas) to promote photo-oxidation processes. The photocatalytic disinfection activity of Ag-TiO2/GF under visible light increased with the increase in silver content up to 7.5% and then slightly decreased with further increasing silver content. The highest disinfection efficiency and disinfection capacity of Staph using 7.5% Ag-TiO2/GF were 75.23% and 20 (CFU∙s−1∙cm2) respectively. The medium level of humidity of 60% ± 5% showed better photocatalytic disinfection than the lower (40% ± 5%) or higher (80% ± 5%) levels. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Influence of Proximity to City Parks on Blood Pressure in Early Pregnancy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(3), 2958-2972; doi:10.3390/ijerph110302958
Received: 16 January 2014 / Revised: 18 February 2014 / Accepted: 3 March 2014 / Published: 11 March 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (222 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated the effect of proximity to city parks on blood pressure categories during the first trimester of pregnancy. This cross-sectional study included 3,416 female residents of the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, who were enrolled in the FP7 PHENOTYPE project study. The
[...] Read more.
This study investigated the effect of proximity to city parks on blood pressure categories during the first trimester of pregnancy. This cross-sectional study included 3,416 female residents of the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, who were enrolled in the FP7 PHENOTYPE project study. The women were classified into four blood pressure categories: optimal, normal, high-normal blood pressure, and hypertension. Multinomial regression models were used to investigate the association between three women’s groups with respect to the residence distances from city parks (300, >300–1,000, and >1,000 m) and four blood pressure categories. When using the optimal blood pressure as the reference group, the crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) for normal blood pressure and for high-normal blood pressure proved to be statistically significantly higher after the inclusion of the selected covariates into the regression analysis. The probability of normal blood pressure increased by 9%, and that of high-normal blood pressure—by 14% for every 300 m increase in the distance to green spaces. The findings of this study suggest a beneficial impact of nearby city parks on blood pressure amongst 20- to 45-year-old women. This relationship has important implications for the prevention of hypertension and the reduction of hypertension-related morbidity. Full article
Open AccessArticle Airborne Particulate Matter in School Classrooms of Northern Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 1398-1421; doi:10.3390/ijerph110201398
Received: 29 November 2013 / Revised: 23 December 2013 / Accepted: 18 January 2014 / Published: 27 January 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (664 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Indoor size-fractioned particulate matter (PM) was measured in seven schools in Milan, to characterize their concentration levels in classrooms, compare the measured concentrations with the recommended guideline values, and provide a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of the intervention measures, based on the
[...] Read more.
Indoor size-fractioned particulate matter (PM) was measured in seven schools in Milan, to characterize their concentration levels in classrooms, compare the measured concentrations with the recommended guideline values, and provide a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of the intervention measures, based on the guidelines developed by the Italian Ministry of Healthand applied to mitigate exposure to undesirable air pollutants. Indoor sampling was performed from Monday morning to Friday afternoon in three classrooms of each school and was repeated in winter 2011–2012 and 2012–2013. Simultaneously, PM2.5 samples were also collected outdoors. Two different photometers were used to collect the PM continuous data, which were corrected a posteriori using simultaneous gravimetric PM2.5 measurements. Furthermore, the concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) were monitored and used to determine the Air Exchange Rates in the classrooms. The results revealed poor IAQ in the school environment. In several cases, the PM2.5 and PM10 24 h concentrations exceeded the 24 h guideline values established by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, the indoor CO2 levels often surpassed the CO2 ASHRAE Standard. Our findings confirmed that important indoor sources (human movements, personal clouds, cleaning activities) emitted coarse particles, markedly increasing the measured PM during school hours. In general, the mean PM2.5 indoor concentrations were lower than the average outdoor PM2.5 levels, with I/O ratios generally <1. Fine PM was less affected by indoor sources, exerting a major impact on the PM1–2.5 fraction. Over half of the indoor fine particles were estimated to originate from outdoors. To a first approximation, the intervention proposed to reduce indoor particle levels did not seem to significantly influence the indoor fine PM concentrations. Conversely, the frequent opening of doors and windows appeared to significantly contribute to the reduction of the average indoor CO2 levels. Full article
Open AccessArticle Use Patterns of Leave-on Personal Care Products among Swiss-German Children, Adolescents, and Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(7), 2778-2798; doi:10.3390/ijerph10072778
Received: 25 May 2013 / Revised: 17 June 2013 / Accepted: 20 June 2013 / Published: 3 July 2013
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1338 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In order to model exposure to ingredients contained in personal care products (PCPs) and assess their potential risks to human health, access to reliable PCP use data, including co-use patterns, is essential. A postal questionnaire survey was conducted to determine the use patterns
[...] Read more.
In order to model exposure to ingredients contained in personal care products (PCPs) and assess their potential risks to human health, access to reliable PCP use data, including co-use patterns, is essential. A postal questionnaire survey was conducted to determine the use patterns of eight leave-on PCP categories among the German-speaking population of Switzerland (N = 1,196; ages 0–97 years), providing for the first time in Europe PCP use data for children <12 years of age. The majority of respondents (99%) reported having used at least one of the investigated PCP categories in the past year. Co-use of two or more PCP categories at the same time was common and more complex amongst adults. Regular use of face cream and body lotion was very high in the youngest group of children aged 0–4 years (more than 79% respondents) who may be more vulnerable to certain adverse effects of some PCP ingredients. A comparison with previously collected information on PCP use patterns in Germany and the Netherlands indicates differences in PCP use patterns among European consumers and suggests that surrogate PCP use data from other countries must be used with caution. This work extends the existing knowledge of PCP use patterns and will be useful for new exposure assessments for ingredients contained in PCPs used by the young consumers. Full article

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Airborne Particulate Matter in School Classrooms of Northern Italy
Authors: Sabrina Rovelli *, Andrea Cattaneo, Camilla P. Nuzzi, Andrea Spinazzè, Silvia Piazza, Paolo Carrer and Domenico M. Cavallo
Abstract: Indoor size-fractioned particulate matter (PM) was measured in seven schools in Milan, to characterize their concentration levels in classrooms, compare the measured concentrations with the recommended guideline values, and provide a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of the intervention measures, based on the “Guidelines for the prevention of indoor risk factors for allergies and asthma in the school” and applied to mitigate exposure to undesirable air pollutants. Indoor sampling was performed from Monday morning to Friday afternoon in three classrooms of each school and was repeated in winter 2011-12 and 2012-13. Simultaneously, PM2.5 samples were also collected outdoors. Two different photometers were used to collect the PM continuous data, which were corrected a posteriori using simultaneous gravimetric PM2.5 measurements. Furthermore, the concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) were monitored and used to determine the Air Exchange Rates in the classrooms. The results revealed poor IAQ in the school environment. In several cases, the PM2.5 and PM10 24-h concentrations exceeded the 24-h guideline values established by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, the indoor CO2 levels often surpassed the CO2 ASHRAE Standard. Our findings confirmed that important indoor sources (human movements, personal clouds, cleaning activities).

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