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Special Issue "Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Engineering and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jason K. Levy

Homeland Security, National Homeland Security Project, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, 923 W. Franklin St., Box 842028, Richmond, VA 23284, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 804-921-9828
Fax: 808-689-2301
Interests: emergency management; risk assessment; natural hazards; geomatics engineering; chemical sensors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The complexity and growing risks of natural hazards require an interdisciplinary approach to manage environmental threats, including unique strategies for hazard preparedness, mitigation, planning and management. Global climate change is a growing hazard, and specific tools are needed to lower greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate the extent of climate change, and adapt to global temperature rise. This Special Issue is seeking original, unpublished papers that describe recent advances in various environmental hazard and threat issues in relation to a cross-cutting, interdisciplinary perspective. While a technical perspective is welcome, a systems approach is encouraged to promote state-of-the-art solutions that can address environmental risk at local, national, or global scales.

Prof. Dr. Jason K. Levy
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind 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 Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Natural Hazards
  • Environmental Risk
  • Systems Approach
  • Public Health
  • Threat Analysis

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Vulnerability of People to Damaging Hydrogeological Events in the Calabria Region (Southern Italy)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 48; doi:10.3390/ijerph15010048
Received: 23 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 29 December 2017
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Abstract
Background: Damaging Hydrogeological Events (DHEs) are severe weather periods during which floods, landslides, lightning, windstorms, hail or storm surges can harm people. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency/intensity of DHEs and, consequently, the potential harm to people. Method: We investigated the
[...] Read more.
Background: Damaging Hydrogeological Events (DHEs) are severe weather periods during which floods, landslides, lightning, windstorms, hail or storm surges can harm people. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency/intensity of DHEs and, consequently, the potential harm to people. Method: We investigated the impacts of DHEs on people in Calabria (Italy) over 37 years (1980–2016). Data on 7288 people physically affected by DHEs were gathered from the systematic analysis of regional newspapers and collected in the database named PEOPLE. The damage was codified in three severity levels as follows: fatalities (people who were killed), injured (people who suffered physical harm) and involved (people who were present at the place where an accident occurred but survived and were not harmed). During the study period, we recorded 68 fatalities, 566 injured and 6654 people involved in the events. Results: Males were more frequently killed, injured and involved than females, and females who suffered fatalities were older than males who suffered fatalities, perhaps indicating that younger females tended to be more cautious than same-aged males, while older females showed an intrinsic greater vulnerability. Involved people were younger than injured people and fatalities, suggesting that younger people show greater promptness in reacting to dangerous situations. Floods caused the majority of the fatalities, injured and involved people, followed by landslides. Lightning was the most dangerous phenomenon, and it affected a relatively low number of people, killing 11.63% of them and causing injuries to 37.2%. Fatalities and injuries mainly occurred outdoors, largely along roads. In contrast, people indoors, essentially in public or private buildings, were more frequently involved without suffering harm. Being “dragged by water/mud” and “surrounded by water/mud”, respectively, represented the two extremes of dynamic dangerousness. The dragging effect of rapid-flowing water totally or partially obstructed the attempts of people to save their lives. In contrast, people surrounded by steady water/mud encountered difficulties but ultimately could survive. Conclusions: The study outcomes can be used in informational campaigns to increase risk awareness among both administrators and citizens and to improve community resilience, particularly in promoting self-protective behaviors and avoiding the underestimation of hazardous situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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Open AccessArticle Does the Short-Term Effect of Air Pollution Influence the Incidence of Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage in Different Patient Groups? Big Data Analysis in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1547; doi:10.3390/ijerph14121547
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 10 December 2017
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Abstract
Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) has a high mortality rate. Research has demonstrated that the occurrence of sICH is related to air pollution. This study used big data analysis to explore the impact of air pollution on the risk of sICH in patients of
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Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH) has a high mortality rate. Research has demonstrated that the occurrence of sICH is related to air pollution. This study used big data analysis to explore the impact of air pollution on the risk of sICH in patients of differing age and geographic location. 39,053 cases were included in this study; 14,041 in the Taipei region (Taipei City and New Taipei City), 5537 in Taoyuan City, 7654 in Taichung City, 4739 in Tainan City, and 7082 in Kaohsiung City. The results of correlation analysis indicated that there were two pollutants groups, the CO and NO2 group and the PM2.5 and PM10 group. Furthermore, variations in the correlations of sICH with air pollutants were identified in different age groups. The co-factors of the influence of air pollutants in the different age groups were explored using regression analysis. This study integrated Taiwan National Health Insurance data and air pollution data to explore the risk factors of sICH using big data analytics. We found that PM2.5 and PM10 are very important risk factors for sICH, and age is an important modulating factor that allows air pollutants to influence the incidence of sICH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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Open AccessArticle A Meta-Analysis of Risk Factors for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Adults and Children after Earthquakes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1537; doi:10.3390/ijerph14121537
Received: 27 August 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
PTSD is considered the most common negative psychological reactions among survivors following an earthquake. The present study sought to find out the determinants of PTSD in earthquake survivors using a systematic meta-analysis. Four electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and PsycInfo) were
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PTSD is considered the most common negative psychological reactions among survivors following an earthquake. The present study sought to find out the determinants of PTSD in earthquake survivors using a systematic meta-analysis. Four electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and PsycInfo) were used to search for observational studies about PTSD following earthquakes. The literature search, study selection, and data extraction were conducted independently by two authors. 52 articles were included in the study. Summary estimates, subgroup analysis, and publication bias tests were performed on the data. The prevalence of PTSD after earthquakes ranged from 4.10% to 67.07% in adults and from 2.50% to 60.00% in children. For adults, the significant predictors were being female, low education level or socio-economic status, prior trauma; being trapped, experiencing fear, injury, or bereavement during the disaster. For children, the significant predictors were being older age, high education level; being trapped, experiencing fear, injury, or bereavement, witnessing injury/death during the earthquakes. Our study provides implications for the understanding of risk factors for PTSD among earthquake survivors. Post-disaster mental health recovery programs that include early identification, on-going monitoring, and sustained psychosocial support are needed for earthquake survivors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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Open AccessArticle Hazard Ranking Method for Populations Exposed to Arsenic in Private Water Supplies: Relation to Bedrock Geology
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1490; doi:10.3390/ijerph14121490
Received: 22 September 2017 / Revised: 10 November 2017 / Accepted: 24 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
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Abstract
Approximately one million people in the UK are served by private water supplies (PWS) where main municipal water supply system connection is not practical or where PWS is the preferred option. Chronic exposure to contaminants in PWS may have adverse effects on health.
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Approximately one million people in the UK are served by private water supplies (PWS) where main municipal water supply system connection is not practical or where PWS is the preferred option. Chronic exposure to contaminants in PWS may have adverse effects on health. South West England is an area with elevated arsenic concentrations in groundwater and over 9000 domestic dwellings here are supplied by PWS. There remains uncertainty as to the extent of the population exposed to arsenic (As), and the factors predicting such exposure. We describe a hazard assessment model based on simplified geology with the potential to predict exposure to As in PWS. Households with a recorded PWS in Cornwall were recruited to take part in a water sampling programme from 2011 to 2013. Bedrock geologies were aggregated and classified into nine Simplified Bedrock Geological Categories (SBGC), plus a cross-cutting “mineralized” area. PWS were sampled by random selection within SBGCs and some 508 households volunteered for the study. Transformations of the data were explored to estimate the distribution of As concentrations for PWS by SBGC. Using the distribution per SBGC, we predict the proportion of dwellings that would be affected by high concentrations and rank the geologies according to hazard. Within most SBGCs, As concentrations were found to have log-normal distributions. Across these areas, the proportion of dwellings predicted to have drinking water over the prescribed concentration value (PCV) for As ranged from 0% to 20%. From these results, a pilot predictive model was developed calculating the proportion of PWS above the PCV for As and hazard ranking supports local decision making and prioritization. With further development and testing, this can help local authorities predict the number of dwellings that might fail the PCV for As, based on bedrock geology. The model presented here for Cornwall could be applied in areas with similar geologies. Application of the method requires independent validation and further groundwater-derived PWS sampling on other geological formations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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Open AccessArticle Integration of GIS, Electromagnetic and Electrical Methods in the Delimitation of Groundwater Polluted by Effluent Discharge (Salamanca, Spain): A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1369; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111369
Received: 20 September 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
The present work envisages the possible geometry of a contaminated plume of groundwater near hospital facilities by combining GIS (Geographic Information System) and geophysical methods. The rock underlying the soil and thin sedimentary cover of the study area is moderately fractured quartzite, which
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The present work envisages the possible geometry of a contaminated plume of groundwater near hospital facilities by combining GIS (Geographic Information System) and geophysical methods. The rock underlying the soil and thin sedimentary cover of the study area is moderately fractured quartzite, which makes aquifers vulnerable to pollution. The GIS methodology is used to calculate the area that would be affected by the effluent source of residual water, based on algorithms that consider ground surface mapping (slopes, orientations, accumulated costs and cost per distance). Geophysical methods (electromagnetic induction and electric resistivity tomography) use changes in the electrical conductivity or resistivity of the subsurface to determine the geometry of the discharge and the degree of contamination. The model presented would allow a preliminary investigation regarding potential corrective measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Transmission and Control of Tuberculosis in Mainland China, 2005–2016, Based on the Age-Structure Mathematical Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1192; doi:10.3390/ijerph14101192
Received: 13 August 2017 / Revised: 20 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 7 October 2017
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Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB), an air-borne infectious disease, is a major public-health problem in China. The reported number of the active tuberculosis cases is about one million each year. The morbidity data for 2005–2012 reflect that the difference in morbidity based on age group is
[...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB), an air-borne infectious disease, is a major public-health problem in China. The reported number of the active tuberculosis cases is about one million each year. The morbidity data for 2005–2012 reflect that the difference in morbidity based on age group is significant, thus the role of age-structure on the transmission of TB needs to be further developed. In this work, based on the reported data and the observed morbidity characteristics, we propose a susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) epidemic model with age groupings, involving three categories: children, the middle-aged, and senior to investigate the role of age on the transmission of tuberculosis in Mainland China from 2005 to 2016. Then, we evaluated the parameters by the Least Square method and simulated the model and it had good alignment with the reported infected TB data in Mainland China. Furthermore, we estimated the basic reproduction number R0 of 1.7858, with an obtained 95% confidence interval for R0 of (1.7752, 1.7963) by Latin hypercube sampling, and we completed a sensitivity analysis of R0 in terms of some parameters. Our study demonstrates that diverse age groups have different effects on TB. Two effective measures were found that would help reach the goals of theWorld Health Organization (WHO) End TB Strategy: an increase in the recovery rate and the reduction in the infectious rate of the senior age group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Distribution and Fuzzy Health Risk Assessment of Trace Elements in Surface Water from Honghu Lake
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(9), 1011; doi:10.3390/ijerph14091011
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 22 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Previous studies revealed that Honghu Lake was polluted by trace elements due to anthropogenic activities. This study investigated the spatial distribution of trace elements in Honghu Lake, and identified the major pollutants and control areas based on the fuzzy health risk assessment at
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Previous studies revealed that Honghu Lake was polluted by trace elements due to anthropogenic activities. This study investigated the spatial distribution of trace elements in Honghu Lake, and identified the major pollutants and control areas based on the fuzzy health risk assessment at screening level. The mean total content of trace elements in surface water decreased in the order of Zn (18.04 μg/L) > Pb (3.42 μg/L) > Cu (3.09 μg/L) > Cr (1.63 μg/L) > As (0.99 μg/L) > Cd (0.14 μg/L), within limits of Drinking Water Guidelines. The results of fuzzy health risk assessment indicated that there was no obvious non-carcinogenic risk to human health, while carcinogenic risk was observed in descending order of As > Cr > Cd > Pb. As was regarded to have the highest carcinogenic risk among selected trace elements because it generally accounted for 64% of integrated carcinogenic risk. Potential carcinogenic risk of trace elements in each sampling site was approximately at medium risk level (10−5 to 10−4). The areas in the south (S4, S13, and S16) and northeast (S8, S18, and S19) of Honghu Lake were regarded as the risk priority control areas. However, the corresponding maximum memberships of integrated carcinogenic risk in S1, S3, S10–S13, S15, and S18 were of relatively low credibility (50–60%), and may mislead the decision-makers in identifying the risk priority areas. Results of fuzzy assessment presented the subordinate grade and corresponding reliability of risk, and provided more full-scale results for decision-makers, which made up for the deficiency of certainty assessment to a certain extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of Potential High-Risk Habitats within the Transmission Reach of Oncomelania hupensis after Floods Based on SAR Techniques in a Plane Region in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(9), 986; doi:10.3390/ijerph14090986
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 24 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
Schistosomiasis japonica is an infectious disease caused by Schistosoma japonicum, and it remains endemic in China. Flooding is the main hazard factor, as it causes the spread of Oncomelania hupensis, the only intermediate host of Schistosoma japonicum, thereby triggering schistosomiasis
[...] Read more.
Schistosomiasis japonica is an infectious disease caused by Schistosoma japonicum, and it remains endemic in China. Flooding is the main hazard factor, as it causes the spread of Oncomelania hupensis, the only intermediate host of Schistosoma japonicum, thereby triggering schistosomiasis outbreaks. Based on multi-source real-time remote sensing data, we used remote sensing (RS) technology, especially synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and geographic information system (GIS) techniques to carry out warning research on potential snail habitats within the snail dispersal range following flooding. Our research result demonstrated: (1) SAR data from Sentinel-1A before and during a flood were used to identify submerged areas rapidly and effectively; (2) the likelihood of snail survival was positively correlated with the clay proportion, core area standard deviation, and ditch length but negatively correlated with the wetness index, NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index), elevation, woodland area, and construction land area; (3) the snail habitats were most abundant near rivers and ditches in paddy fields; (4) the rivers and paddy irrigation ditches in the submerged areas must be the focused of mitigation efforts following future floods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Desert Dust and Health: A Central Asian Review and Steppe Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1342; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111342
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 23 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 3 November 2017
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Abstract
In Asian deserts environmental and anthropomorphic dust is a significant health risk to rural populations. Natural sources in dry landscapes are exacerbated by human activities that increase the vulnerability to dust and dust-borne disease vectors. Today in Central and Inner Asian drylands, agriculture,
[...] Read more.
In Asian deserts environmental and anthropomorphic dust is a significant health risk to rural populations. Natural sources in dry landscapes are exacerbated by human activities that increase the vulnerability to dust and dust-borne disease vectors. Today in Central and Inner Asian drylands, agriculture, mining, and rapid development contribute to dust generation and community exposure. Thorough review of limited dust investigation in the region implies but does not quantify health risks. Anthropogenic sources, such as the drying of the Aral Sea, highlight the shifting dust dynamics across the Central EurAsian steppe. In the Gobi Desert, our case study in Khanbogd, Mongolia addressed large-scale mining’s potential dust risk to the health of the local population. Dust traps showed variable exposure to particulates among herder households and town residents; dust density distribution indicated that sources beyond the mine need to be considered when identifying particulate sources. Research suggests that atmospheric dust from multiple causes may enhance human particulate exposure. Greater awareness of dust in greater Central Asia reflects community concern about related health implications. Future human well-being in the region will require more thorough information on dust emissions in the changing environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Public Health: A Systems Approach)
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