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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 14, Issue 1 (January 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The prevalence of the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDSs) among U.S. high school [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Antioxidant Pre-Treatment Reduces the Toxic Effects of Oxalate on Renal Epithelial Cells in a Cell Culture Model of Urolithiasis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010109 - 23 Jan 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2431
Abstract
Urolithiasis is characterized by the formation and retention of solid crystals within the urinary tract. Kidney stones are mostly composed of calcium oxalate, which predominantly generates free radicals that are toxic to renal tubular cells. The aim of the study is to explore [...] Read more.
Urolithiasis is characterized by the formation and retention of solid crystals within the urinary tract. Kidney stones are mostly composed of calcium oxalate, which predominantly generates free radicals that are toxic to renal tubular cells. The aim of the study is to explore possible effects of antioxidant pre-treatment on inhibition of oxidative stress. Three cell lines were used as in vitro model of urolithiasis: MDCK I, MDCK II and LLC-PK1. Oxidative stress was induced by exposure of cells to sodium oxalate in concentration of 8 mM. In order to prevent oxidative stress, cells were pre-treated with three different concentrations of l-arginine and vitamin E. Oxidative stress was evaluated by determining the expression of superoxide dismutase (SOD), osteopontin (OPN), and by the concentration of glutathione (GSH). In all three cell lines, pre-treatment of antioxidants increased cell survival. Positive correlation of SOD and OPN expression as well as GSH concentration was observed in all groups of cells. Our results indicate that an antioxidant pre-treatment with l-arginine and vitamin E is able to hamper oxalate-induced oxidative stress in kidney epithelial cells and as such could play a role in prevention of urolithiasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Support Vector Machine Classification of Drunk Driving Behaviour
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010108 - 23 Jan 2017
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1845
Abstract
Alcohol is the root cause of numerous traffic accidents due to its pharmacological action on the human central nervous system. This study conducted a detection process to distinguish drunk driving from normal driving under simulated driving conditions. The classification was performed by a [...] Read more.
Alcohol is the root cause of numerous traffic accidents due to its pharmacological action on the human central nervous system. This study conducted a detection process to distinguish drunk driving from normal driving under simulated driving conditions. The classification was performed by a support vector machine (SVM) classifier trained to distinguish between these two classes by integrating both driving performance and physiological measurements. In addition, principal component analysis was conducted to rank the weights of the features. The standard deviation of R–R intervals (SDNN), the root mean square value of the difference of the adjacent R–R interval series (RMSSD), low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), the ratio of the low and high frequencies (LF/HF), and average blink duration were the highest weighted features in the study. The results show that SVM classification can successfully distinguish drunk driving from normal driving with an accuracy of 70%. The driving performance data and the physiological measurements reported by this paper combined with air-alcohol concentration could be integrated using the support vector regression classification method to establish a better early warning model, thereby improving vehicle safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Acute Anterior Uveitis as a Risk Factor of Ankylosing Spondylitis—A National Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010107 - 23 Jan 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1689
Abstract
Introduction: In clinical settings, acute anterior uveitis (AAU) could be the first presentation of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Based on this hypothesis, we investigate whether AAU is a risk factor in developing AS later by using National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) in Taiwan. [...] Read more.
Introduction: In clinical settings, acute anterior uveitis (AAU) could be the first presentation of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Based on this hypothesis, we investigate whether AAU is a risk factor in developing AS later by using National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) in Taiwan. Materials and Methods: This cohort comparison study used longitudinal Taiwanese NHIRD to probe the relative risk odds of AAU for AS development, and consisted of all patients diagnosed with AAU (n = 5621) (ICD-9-CM codes 364.00). The relative risks of AS between AAU patients and controls were compared by estimating the crude hazard ratio with logistic regression. Kaplan–Meier analysis was used to calculate the cumulative incidence rates of developing AS, and a log-rank test was used to analyze the differences between the survival curves. Separate Cox proportional hazard regressions were performed to compute the AS-free rate after adjusting for possible confounding factors such as age and sex. Results: The crude hazard ratio was 2.667 for the AAU group, and the adjusted hazard ratio was 2.705 for the AAU group. The observation time of the AS-free group was shorter for AAU patients compared with the control group (1507 versus 1578 days). Moreover, in the AAU patients, the younger age onset of AAU (less than 30 years old here) would lead to an earlier diagnosis of AS later with a median of 1445.5 (742–2241) versus 1544 (819–2289) days of survival for the group of age onset of AAU greater than 30 years old. The difference is statistically significant (p < 0.05). Conclusions: AAU was a risk factor for AS. To identify AAU as an extra-articular manifestation is crucial for early diagnosis and treatment of AS and containing functional loss accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Toward a Socio-Territorial Approach to Health: Health Equity in West Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010106 - 22 Jan 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1883 | Correction
Abstract
This study contributes to the literature about the effects of space and place on health by introducing a socio-territorial approach to urban health disparities in West Africa. It explores how urban spaces, specifically neighbourhoods, are shaped by social and economic relations and strategies [...] Read more.
This study contributes to the literature about the effects of space and place on health by introducing a socio-territorial approach to urban health disparities in West Africa. It explores how urban spaces, specifically neighbourhoods, are shaped by social and economic relations and strategies of territorial control. We examine the potential influence of socio-territorial processes on vulnerability to disease, access to medical care, healthscapes, and illness experiences. Our research was conducted in Senegal and relied on a mixed methods design. We identified four neighbourhoods that represent the socio-spatial heterogeneity of the city of Saint-Louis and utilized the following methods: geographic and anthropological field research, household surveys, health knowledge and behaviour surveys, clinical exams, and illness interviews. Our results highlight the socio-territorial processes at work in each neighbourhood, clinical findings on three health measures (overweight, high blood pressure, and hyperglycaemia) and health experiences of individuals with hypertension or type II diabetes. We found significant differences in the prevalence of the three health measures in the study sites, while experiences managing hypertension and diabetes were similar. We conclude that a socio-territorial approach offers insight into the complex constellation of forces that produce health disparities in urban settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Place and Health Equity)
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Open AccessReview
Global Sources and Pathways of Mercury in the Context of Human Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010105 - 22 Jan 2017
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 3726
Abstract
This paper reviews information from the existing literature and the EU GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System) project to assess the current scientific knowledge on global mercury releases into the atmosphere, on global atmospheric transport and deposition, and on the linkage between environmental contamination [...] Read more.
This paper reviews information from the existing literature and the EU GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System) project to assess the current scientific knowledge on global mercury releases into the atmosphere, on global atmospheric transport and deposition, and on the linkage between environmental contamination and potential impacts on human health. The review concludes that assessment of global sources and pathways of mercury in the context of human health is important for being able to monitor the effects from implementation of the Minamata Convention targets, although new research is needed on the improvement of emission inventory data, the chemical and physical behaviour of mercury in the atmosphere, the improvement of monitoring network data, predictions of future emissions and speciation, and on the subsequent effects on the environment, human health, as well as the economic costs and benefits of reducing these aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Microbiological Contamination at Workplaces in a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Station Processing Plant Biomass
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010099 - 21 Jan 2017
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1931
Abstract
The aim of the study was to evaluate the microbial contamination at a plant biomass processing thermal power station (CHP). We found 2.42 × 103 CFU/m3 of bacteria and 1.37 × 104 CFU/m3 of fungi in the air; 2.30 [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the microbial contamination at a plant biomass processing thermal power station (CHP). We found 2.42 × 103 CFU/m3 of bacteria and 1.37 × 104 CFU/m3 of fungi in the air; 2.30 × 107 CFU/g of bacteria and 4.46 × 105 CFU/g of fungi in the biomass; and 1.61 × 102 CFU/cm2 bacteria and 2.39 × 101 CFU/cm2 fungi in filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). Using culture methods, we found 8 genera of mesophilic bacteria and 7 of fungi in the air; 10 genera each of bacteria and fungi in the biomass; and 2 and 5, respectively, on the FFRs. Metagenomic analysis (Illumina MiSeq) revealed the presence of 46 bacterial and 5 fungal genera on the FFRs, including potential pathogens Candida tropicalis, Escherichia coli, Prevotella sp., Aspergillus sp., Penicillium sp.). The ability of microorganisms to create a biofilm on the FFRs was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). We also identified secondary metabolites in the biomass and FFRs, including fumigaclavines, quinocitrinines, sterigmatocistin, and 3-nitropropionic acid, which may be toxic to humans. Due to the presence of potential pathogens and mycotoxins, the level of microbiological contamination at workplaces in CHPs should be monitored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
The Association between Warning Label Requirements and Cigarette Smoking Prevalence by Education-Findings from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010098 - 21 Jan 2017
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2096
Abstract
Introduction: The Guidelines for the implementation of Article 11 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) require that cigarette health warning labels should include pictures and take up 50% or more of the principal display area. This study [...] Read more.
Introduction: The Guidelines for the implementation of Article 11 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) require that cigarette health warning labels should include pictures and take up 50% or more of the principal display area. This study examined how the association between large pictorial warnings, those covering ≥50% of the front and back of the package, and the prevalence of cigarette smoking varies by educational attainment. Methods: We pooled individual-level tobacco use data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in 18 countries between 2008 and 2013 and linked them with warning label requirements during the same period from the MPOWER database and reports regarding warnings. The respondents’ self-reported exposure to warnings was examined according to education. Logistic regressions were further employed to analyze education-specific associations between large pictorial warnings and smoking prevalence, and whether such association differed by education was examined using an interaction test. Results: At the time of the survey, eight out of 18 countries had imposed graphic warning labels that covered ≥50% of the package. These warnings were associated with a 10.0% (OR = 0.89; 95% CI: 0.81, 0.97; p ≤ 0.01) lower cigarette smoking prevalence among adults with less than a secondary education or no formal education, but not among respondents with at least a secondary education. Less educated respondents were also less likely to be exposed to warnings in all 18 countries. The association between strong warnings and lower smoking prevalence among less educated respondents could be greater if their exposure to warnings increases. Conclusions: Prominent pictorial warning labels can potentially reduce health disparities resulting from smoking across different education levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
Open AccessArticle
Essential Oil of Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) Wood Increases Salivary Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Levels after Monotonous Work
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010097 - 21 Jan 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2012
Abstract
Employee problems arising from mental illnesses have steadily increased and become a serious social problem in recent years. Wood is a widely available plant material, and knowledge of the psychophysiological effects of inhalation of woody volatile compounds has grown considerably. In this study, [...] Read more.
Employee problems arising from mental illnesses have steadily increased and become a serious social problem in recent years. Wood is a widely available plant material, and knowledge of the psychophysiological effects of inhalation of woody volatile compounds has grown considerably. In this study, we established an experimental method to evaluate the effects of Japanese cedar wood essential oil on subjects performing monotonous work. Two experiment conditions, one with and another without diffusion of the essential oil were prepared. Salivary stress markers were determined during and after a calculation task followed by distribution of questionnaires to achieve subjective odor assessment. We found that inhalation of air containing the volatile compounds of Japanese cedar wood essential oil increased the secretion of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-s). Slight differences in the subjective assessment of the odor of the experiment rooms were observed. The results of the present study indicate that the volatile compounds of Japanese cedar wood essential oil affect the endocrine regulatory mechanism to facilitate stress responses. Thus, we suggest that this essential oil can improve employees’ mental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
The Basic Act for Suicide Prevention: Effects on Longitudinal Trend in Deliberate Self-Harm with Reference to National Suicide Data for 1996–2014
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010104 - 21 Jan 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2451
Abstract
A suicide prevention strategy was launched in Japan in 2006 to address the high suicide rate, which had increased considerably since 1998. The national strategy from 2007 involved the enhancement of psychiatric treatment services at emergency medical facilities and supportive observation by individuals [...] Read more.
A suicide prevention strategy was launched in Japan in 2006 to address the high suicide rate, which had increased considerably since 1998. The national strategy from 2007 involved the enhancement of psychiatric treatment services at emergency medical facilities and supportive observation by individuals close to patients. The national suicide rate has decreased gradually since 2008; however, national information regarding the number of patients who had engaged in deliberate self-harm was absent. Therefore, the present study examined the longitudinal trend in hospital admissions due to deliberate self-harm in Japan. Data from the National Patient Survey between 1996 and 2014—a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of inpatient care every 3 years—were used. Data for 13,014 patients were included in the estimation of the number of hospital admissions due to deliberate self-harm. The results show that the estimated number of admissions due to deliberate self-harm increased from 2078 in September 1996 to 3189 in September 2008, when the national number of suicide cases peaked, and decreased to 1783 in 2014. Approximately half of the patients were admitted to hospital because of self-harm via means other than drug poisoning, which had a high mortality rate (5.6%). The proportion of patients receiving public assistance was higher in those who had engaged in deliberate self-harm (8.5%) relative to that observed in the general population. Overall, the trend in deliberate self-harm was synchronous with the number of suicide cases over time. As economic poverty has been associated with suicidal ideation and behavior and some recipients of public assistance tend to abuse psychotropic medication, the public assistance program should provide mental health support for recipients of social benefit schemes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From Understanding Suicide Risk to Preventing Suicide)
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Open AccessReply
Response to Comments on Whiley Legionella Risk Management and Control in Potable Water Systems: Argument for the Abolishment of Routine Testing. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 12
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010103 - 21 Jan 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1377
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Open AccessComment
Comments on Whiley Legionella Risk Management and Control in Potable Water Systems: Argument for the Abolishment of Routine Testing. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 12
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010102 - 21 Jan 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1413
Abstract
In their recent article, Whiley makes an interesting case for the abolishment of routine testing in Legionella risk management and control plans. Here, we present our views regarding this suggestion, drawing upon our own experiences in the UK. We urge caution against the [...] Read more.
In their recent article, Whiley makes an interesting case for the abolishment of routine testing in Legionella risk management and control plans. Here, we present our views regarding this suggestion, drawing upon our own experiences in the UK. We urge caution against the removal of routine monitoring from guidelines due to the impending public health risks that would result. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle
Infection Dynamics and Antimicrobial Resistance Profile of Salmonella Paratyphi B d-tartrate Positive (Java) in a Persistently Infected Broiler Barn
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010101 - 21 Jan 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1710
Abstract
The infection dynamics of S. Java were examined in three consecutive rearing periods on a broiler farm in Northwestern Germany which had been persistently infected with S. Java for more than five years. The barn was investigated for Salmonella occurrence after cleaning and [...] Read more.
The infection dynamics of S. Java were examined in three consecutive rearing periods on a broiler farm in Northwestern Germany which had been persistently infected with S. Java for more than five years. The barn was investigated for Salmonella occurrence after cleaning and disinfection to verify the persistent contamination of the broiler house with S. Java before the start of the first rearing cycle. Confirmation of Salmonella absence in day-old chicks (time-point 1) as well as early establishment of infection between days 5–7 (time-point 2) were confirmed by caecal swabs prepared for qPCR and classical microbiological methods. At three time-periods (between days 11–15 (time-point 3), days 25–28 (time-point 4), and days 38–40 (time-point 5)) caecal content was examined for colony forming units (CFU) Salmonella/g. In general, there was an increase in Salmonella Java load at time-point 4 compared to time-points 3 and 5. Therefore, we observed a bell-shaped course of infection resulting in higher rates of Salmonella CFU/g prior to prethinning than at final slaughter. The antimicrobial susceptibility testing revealed resistance to tetracycline, fluorquinolones, trimethoprim, and cefoxitin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) Research, Management and Response)
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Open AccessArticle
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Conventional and High Performance School Buildings in the U.S.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010100 - 21 Jan 2017
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2777
Abstract
Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been an indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concern in schools and other buildings for many years. Newer designs, construction practices and building materials for “green” buildings and the use of “environmentally friendly” products have the promise of [...] Read more.
Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been an indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concern in schools and other buildings for many years. Newer designs, construction practices and building materials for “green” buildings and the use of “environmentally friendly” products have the promise of lowering chemical exposure. This study examines VOCs and IEQ parameters in 144 classrooms in 37 conventional and high performance elementary schools in the U.S. with the objectives of providing a comprehensive analysis and updating the literature. Tested schools were built or renovated in the past 15 years, and included comparable numbers of conventional, Energy Star, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings. Indoor and outdoor VOC samples were collected and analyzed by thermal desorption, gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy for 94 compounds. Aromatics, alkanes and terpenes were the major compound groups detected. Most VOCs had mean concentrations below 5 µg/m3, and most indoor/outdoor concentration ratios ranged from one to 10. For 16 VOCs, the within-school variance of concentrations exceeded that between schools and, overall, no major differences in VOC concentrations were found between conventional and high performance buildings. While VOC concentrations have declined from levels measured in earlier decades, opportunities remain to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) by limiting emissions from building-related sources and by increasing ventilation rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Phytoplankton Diversity Effects on Community Biomass and Stability along Nutrient Gradients in a Eutrophic Lake
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010095 - 20 Jan 2017
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1982
Abstract
The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is a central issue in ecology, but how this relationship is affected by nutrient stress is still unknown. In this study, we analyzed the phytoplankton diversity effects on community biomass and stability along nutrient gradients in [...] Read more.
The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is a central issue in ecology, but how this relationship is affected by nutrient stress is still unknown. In this study, we analyzed the phytoplankton diversity effects on community biomass and stability along nutrient gradients in an artificial eutrophic lake. Four nutrient gradients, varying from slightly eutrophic to highly eutrophic states, were designed by adjusting the amount of polluted water that flowed into the lake. Mean phytoplankton biomass, species richness, and Shannon diversity index all showed significant differences among the four nutrient gradients. Phytoplankton community biomass was correlated with diversity (both species richness and Shannon diversity index), varying from positive to negative along the nutrient gradients. The influence of phytoplankton species richness on resource use efficiency (RUE) also changed from positive to negative along the nutrient gradients. However, the influence of phytoplankton Shannon diversity on RUE was not significant. Both phytoplankton species richness and Shannon diversity had a negative influence on community turnover (measured as community dissimilarity), i.e., a positive diversity–stability relationship. Furthermore, phytoplankton spatial stability decreased along the nutrient gradients in the lake. With increasing nutrient concentrations, the variability (standard deviation) of phytoplankton community biomass increased more rapidly than the average total biomass. Results in this study will be helpful in understanding the phytoplankton diversity effects on ecosystem functioning and how these effects are influenced by nutrient conditions in aquatic ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Workplace Violence against Health Care Workers in North Chinese Hospitals: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010096 - 19 Jan 2017
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2288
Abstract
This research aimed to determine the prevalence of workplace violence (WPV) against healthcare workers, explore the frequency distribution of violence in different occupational groups, and determine which healthcare occupation suffers from WPV most frequently. Furthermore, the current study aimed to compare risk factors [...] Read more.
This research aimed to determine the prevalence of workplace violence (WPV) against healthcare workers, explore the frequency distribution of violence in different occupational groups, and determine which healthcare occupation suffers from WPV most frequently. Furthermore, the current study aimed to compare risk factors affecting different types of WPV in Chinese hospitals. A cross-sectional design was utilized. A total of 1899 healthcare workers from Heilongjiang, a province in Northeastern China, completed the questionnaire. Of the respondents, 83.3% reported exposure to workplace violence, and 68.9% reported non-physical violence. Gender, education, shift work, anxiety level, and occupation were significantly correlated with physical violence (p < 0.05 for all correlations). Additionally, age, professional title, and occupation were correlated with non-physical violence, which critically affected doctors. Thus, gender, age, profession, anxiety, and shift work were predictive of workplace violence toward healthcare workers. Doctors appeared to experience non-physical workplace violence with particularly higher frequency when compared to nurses and other workers in hospitals. For healthcare workers, interventions aimed at WPV reduction should be enacted according to the types of violence, profession, and other factors underlying the various types of WPV in hospitals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessReview
A New Strategy for Heavy Metal Polluted Environments: A Review of Microbial Biosorbents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010094 - 19 Jan 2017
Cited by 160 | Viewed by 6877
Abstract
Persistent heavy metal pollution poses a major threat to all life forms in the environment due to its toxic effects. These metals are very reactive at low concentrations and can accumulate in the food web, causing severe public health concerns. Remediation using conventional [...] Read more.
Persistent heavy metal pollution poses a major threat to all life forms in the environment due to its toxic effects. These metals are very reactive at low concentrations and can accumulate in the food web, causing severe public health concerns. Remediation using conventional physical and chemical methods is uneconomical and generates large volumes of chemical waste. Bioremediation of hazardous metals has received considerable and growing interest over the years. The use of microbial biosorbents is eco-friendly and cost effective; hence, it is an efficient alternative for the remediation of heavy metal contaminated environments. Microbes have various mechanisms of metal sequestration that hold greater metal biosorption capacities. The goal of microbial biosorption is to remove and/or recover metals and metalloids from solutions, using living or dead biomass and their components. This review discusses the sources of toxic heavy metals and describes the groups of microorganisms with biosorbent potential for heavy metal removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Genetic Aspects of Susceptibility to Mercury Toxicity: An Overview
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010093 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2296
Abstract
Human exposure to mercury is still a major public health concern. In this context, children have a higher susceptibility to adverse neurological mercury effects, compared to adults with similar exposures. Moreover, there exists a marked variability of personal response to detrimental mercury action, [...] Read more.
Human exposure to mercury is still a major public health concern. In this context, children have a higher susceptibility to adverse neurological mercury effects, compared to adults with similar exposures. Moreover, there exists a marked variability of personal response to detrimental mercury action, in particular among population groups with significant mercury exposure. New scientific evidence on genetic backgrounds has raised the issue of whether candidate susceptibility genes can make certain individuals more or less vulnerable to mercury toxicity. In this review, the aim is to evaluate a new genetic dimension and its involvement in mercury risk assessment, focusing on the important role played by relevant polymorphisms, located in attractive gene targets for mercury toxicity. Existing original articles on epidemiologic research which report a direct link between the genetic basis of personal vulnerability and different mercury repercussions on human health will be reviewed. Based on this evidence, a careful evaluation of the significant markers of susceptibility will be suggested, in order to obtain a powerful positive “feedback” to improve the quality of life. Large consortia of studies with clear phenotypic assessments will help clarify the “window of susceptibility” in the human health risks due to mercury exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Gastric versus Gastrointestinal PBET Extractions for Estimating Oral Bioaccessibility of Metals in House Dust
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010092 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1561
Abstract
Oral bioaccessibility estimates for six metals which are prevalent as contaminants in Canada (zinc, lead, cadmium, copper, nickel, and chromium) are investigated for house dust using the simple gastric phase versus the two-phase physiologically-based extraction technique (PBET). The purpose is to determine whether [...] Read more.
Oral bioaccessibility estimates for six metals which are prevalent as contaminants in Canada (zinc, lead, cadmium, copper, nickel, and chromium) are investigated for house dust using the simple gastric phase versus the two-phase physiologically-based extraction technique (PBET). The purpose is to determine whether a complete gastrointestinal (GI) assay yields a more conservative (i.e., higher) estimate of metal bioaccessibility in house dust than the gastric phase alone (G-alone). The study samples include household vacuum dust collected from 33 homes in Montreal, Canada, plus four certified reference materials (NIST 2583, NIST 2584, NIST 2710 and NIST 2710a). Results indicate that percent bioaccessibilities obtained using G-alone are generally greater than or equivalent to those obtained using the complete GI simulation for the six studied metals in house dust. Median bioaccessibilities for G-alone/GI in household vacuum dust samples (n = 33) are 76.9%/19.5% for zinc, 50.4%/6.2% for lead, 70.0%/22.4% for cadmium, 33.9%/30.5% for copper and 28.5%/20.7% for nickel. Bioaccessible chromium is above the detection limit in only four out of 33 samples, for which G-alone results are not significantly different from GI results (p = 0.39). It is concluded that, for the six studied metals, a simple G-alone extraction provides a conservative and cost-effective approach for estimating oral bioaccessibility of metals in house dust. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Are Cockroaches an Important Source of Indoor Endotoxins?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010091 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1534
Abstract
Endotoxins are common indoor biocontaminants. Their levels have been shown to link to many sources and factors. One of them is cockroach infestation but the role of cockroaches and contamination mechanisms are unclear. We hypothesized that not only is cockroach infestation a sign [...] Read more.
Endotoxins are common indoor biocontaminants. Their levels have been shown to link to many sources and factors. One of them is cockroach infestation but the role of cockroaches and contamination mechanisms are unclear. We hypothesized that not only is cockroach infestation a sign of poor hygiene, but it also contributes to indoor endotoxins via fecal contamination. In this study, different cockroach species were caught in homes. The endotoxin and allergen levels and their ratios in cockroach feces were determined. To estimate the amount of indoor endotoxins that originated from cockroaches, a new approach of using these new cockroach endotoxin and allergen ratios to compare with environmental data was employed. We found that Supella (S.) longipalpa, Periplaneta (P.) australasiae, and Blattella (B.) germanica were dominant in homes. On average, P. australasiae feces had a higher level but greater variation of endotoxins. B. germanica feces had the highest levels of allergens measured. Depending on environmental bacterial load and the type of cockroaches present, cockroach endotoxins in the environment may vary greatly. Cockroaches directly contribute to indoor endotoxins rather than just being a sign of poor hygiene. The type and extent of cockroach infestation should be taken into consideration when assessing and remediating indoor endotoxin contamination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Profiling of the Lungs Reveals Molecular Clock Genes Expression Changes after Chronic Exposure to Ambient Air Particles
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010090 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2143
Abstract
The symptoms of asthma, breathlessness, insomnia, etc. all have relevance to pulmonary rhythmic disturbances. Epidemiology and toxicology studies have demonstrated that exposure to ambient air particles can result in pulmonary dysfunction. However, there are no data directly supporting a link between air pollution [...] Read more.
The symptoms of asthma, breathlessness, insomnia, etc. all have relevance to pulmonary rhythmic disturbances. Epidemiology and toxicology studies have demonstrated that exposure to ambient air particles can result in pulmonary dysfunction. However, there are no data directly supporting a link between air pollution and circadian rhythm disorder. In the present study, we found that breathing highly polluted air resulted in changes of the molecular clock genes expression in lung by transcriptome profiling analyses in a rodent model. Compared to those exposed to filtered air, in both pregnant and offspring rats in the unfiltered group, key clock genes (Per1, Per2, Per3, Rev-erbα and Dbp) expression level decreased and Bmal1 expression level increased. In both rat dams and their offspring, after continuous exposure to unfiltered air, we observed significant histologic evidence for both perivascular and peribronchial inflammation, increased tissue and systemic oxidative stress in the lungs. Our results suggest that chronic exposure to particulate matter can induce alterations of clock genes expression, which could be another important pathway for explaining the feedbacks of ambient particle exposure in addition to oxidative stress and inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Water Quality, Sanitation, and Hygiene Conditions in Schools and Households in Dolakha and Ramechhap Districts, Nepal: Results from A Cross-Sectional Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010089 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3066
Abstract
This study assessed drinking water quality, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions among 708 schoolchildren and 562 households in Dolakha and Ramechhap districts of Nepal. Cross-sectional surveys were carried out in March and June 2015. A Delagua water quality testing kit was employed on [...] Read more.
This study assessed drinking water quality, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions among 708 schoolchildren and 562 households in Dolakha and Ramechhap districts of Nepal. Cross-sectional surveys were carried out in March and June 2015. A Delagua water quality testing kit was employed on 634 water samples obtained from 16 purposively selected schools, 40 community water sources, and 562 households to examine water quality. A flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer was used to test lead and arsenic content of the same samples. Additionally, a questionnaire survey was conducted to obtain WASH predictors. A total of 75% of school drinking water source samples and 76.9% point-of-use samples (water bottles) at schools, 39.5% water source samples in the community, and 27.4% point-of-use samples at household levels were contaminated with thermo-tolerant coliforms. The values of water samples for pH (6.8–7.6), free and total residual chlorine (0.1–0.5 mg/L), mean lead concentration (0.01 mg/L), and mean arsenic concentration (0.05 mg/L) were within national drinking water quality standards. The presence of domestic animals roaming inside schoolchildren’s homes was significantly associated with drinking water contamination (adjusted odds ratio: 1.64; 95% confidence interval: 1.08–2.50; p = 0.02). Our findings call for an improvement of WASH conditions at the unit of school, households, and communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Prevalence and Social Risk Factors for Hearing Impairment in Chinese Children—A National Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010088 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1613
Abstract
Hearing impairment may affect children’s communication skills, social development, and educational achievement. Little is known about the prevalence of hearing impairment among Chinese children. Data were taken from the 2006 second China National Survey on Disability (CNSD). Hearing impairment was defined as moderate [...] Read more.
Hearing impairment may affect children’s communication skills, social development, and educational achievement. Little is known about the prevalence of hearing impairment among Chinese children. Data were taken from the 2006 second China National Survey on Disability (CNSD). Hearing impairment was defined as moderate (41–60 dB HL), severe (61–80 dB HL), profound (81–90 dB HL), or complete (>91 dB HL). Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). A weighted number of 567,915 hearing impairment children were identified, yielding a prevalence of 17.49 per 10,000 people (95% CI: 16.90–18.08), with prevention or treatment options possible for 64.6% of hearing impairment children. The main causes of hearing impairment were hereditary, tympanitis, and drug intoxication. Illiteracy in one or both parents (mother: OR = 1.388, 95% CI: 1.125–1.714, p < 0.0001; father: OR = 1.537, 95% CI: 1.152–2.049, p < 0.0001 relative to no school or primary school), annual family income lower than national average (OR = 1.323, 95% CI: 1.044–1.675, p = 0.0203, relative to higher than national average), household size larger than three people (OR = 1.432, 95% CI: 1.164–1.762, p = 0.0007, relative to smaller than three people) and single-mother family (OR = 2.056, 95% CI: 1.390–3.042, p = 0.0176, relative to intact family) were the independence risk factors for hearing impairment among Chinese children. Lower annual family income, male children, larger household size, single-mother family, and lower levels of maternal and paternal education were independent risk factors for hearing impairment for Chinese children. Further studies on hearing impairment prevention and the relationship between parental social factors and the risk of hearing impairment are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle
Distribution Characteristics and Risk Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Momoge Wetland, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010085 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1788
Abstract
The Momoge Nature Reserve is the research object of this study. Through field sampling, laboratory experiments and analysis, the contents, distribution characteristics, source identification, pollution levels and risk levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in wetland soils were studied. The results show that [...] Read more.
The Momoge Nature Reserve is the research object of this study. Through field sampling, laboratory experiments and analysis, the contents, distribution characteristics, source identification, pollution levels and risk levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in wetland soils were studied. The results show that the sum content of 16 types of PAHs (Σ16 PAH) in the wetland soil was within the range (0.029–0.4152) mg/kg. PAHs in wetland soil are primarily 2–3-rings PAHs. PAHs in the Momoge wetland soil have multiple sources: petroleum, combustion of petroleum and coal, and others, of which petroleum and the sum of combustion of petroleum and coal account for 38.0% and 59.3%, respectively. Research, using the standard index and pollution range methods, shows that the content of the PAH labelled Nap, found in the Momoge wetland soil, is excessive; some sampling sites exhibit a low level of pollution. The result of a biotoxicity assessment shows that there are two sampling sites that occasionally present an ecological toxicity hazard. The result of the organic carbon normalization process shows that an ecological risk exists only at sampling site No. 10. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Reported Snoring Is Associated with Dyslipidemia, High Total Cholesterol, and High Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Obesity: A Cross-Sectional Study from a Rural Area of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010086 - 17 Jan 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1281
Abstract
Studies to explore the relationship between self-reported snoring and dyslipidemia, especially high total cholesterol (TC) and high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), in the general population are still lacking. Our study was designed to examine whether self-reported snoring is significantly associated with dyslipidemia and [...] Read more.
Studies to explore the relationship between self-reported snoring and dyslipidemia, especially high total cholesterol (TC) and high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), in the general population are still lacking. Our study was designed to examine whether self-reported snoring is significantly associated with dyslipidemia and ascertain the effects of different snoring intensities on dyslipidemia. There were 10,139 participants in our study. After adjustment for all confounding factors, self-reported snoring (OR = 1.207; p = 0.003), moderate (OR = 1.229; p = 0.015), strong (OR = 1.222; p = 0.033), and very strong (OR = 1.467; p = 0.012) snoring intensity, but not low (OR = 1.110; p = 0.224) snoring intensity, were significantly associated with dyslipidemia among adults with BMI (body mass index) ≥ 25 kg/m2. In addition, self-reported snoring was significantly associated with high TC (OR = 1.167; p = 0.048) and high LDL-C (OR = 1.228; p = 0.044), rather than low HDL-C (OR = 1.171; p = 0.057) and high triglyceride (TG) (OR = 1.110; p = 0.141). In conclusion, adults with BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 and who experience snoring, especially moderate, strong, and very strong intensity levels of snoring, should be on the alert regarding the possibility of dyslipidemia, especially high LDL-C and high TC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessArticle
Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) Polymorphism and the Risk of Coronary Artery Disease: A Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010084 - 16 Jan 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2268
Abstract
Background: In recent years, the lipoprotein lipase (LPL) polymorphism has been extensively investigated as a potential risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, the results of these studies have been inconsistent. Therefore, we performed this meta-analysis to explore the association between LPL [...] Read more.
Background: In recent years, the lipoprotein lipase (LPL) polymorphism has been extensively investigated as a potential risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, the results of these studies have been inconsistent. Therefore, we performed this meta-analysis to explore the association between LPL polymorphism and CAD risk. Methods: The literature was searched from electronic databases such as Embase, China Biological Medicine Database, PubMed, Knowledge Infrastructure, and China National Web of Science by the key words “coronary artery disease”, “lipoprotein lipase” and “polymorphism”. All of the studies included in this manuscript met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. An odds ratio (OR) analysis using a 95% confidence interval (CI) was employed to assess the association of the LPL polymorphism with CAD susceptibility. Results: We performed a meta-analysis of 14 case-control studies including HindIII, Ser447X and PvuII polymorphism. A statistically significant increase in the risk of CAD was associated with LPL HindIII polymorphism. This included HindIII H+H+ genotype (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.09–1.49, p = 0.002, I2 = 43%) and H+ allele genotype (OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.03–1.58, p = 0.03, I2 = 67%). Ser447X XX genotype (OR = 2.37, 95% CI = 1.33–4.24, p = 0.004, I2 = 53%) was also associated with CAD risk. However, PvuII polymorphism was found to have no significant association with CAD risk. Conclusions: LPL HindIII polymorphism was significantly associated with the risk of CAD. For Ser447X polymorphism, it was found that only XX genotype was significantly associated with CAD risk. Furthermore, PvuII polymorphism had no significant association with CAD risk. It was considered that LPL HindIII polymorphism might serve as a potential biomarker for CAD risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Association of School Environment and After-School Physical Activity with Health-Related Physical Fitness among Junior High School Students in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010083 - 15 Jan 2017
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1633
Abstract
The relationship between students’ school environment and exercise habits is complex, and is affected by numerous factors. However, the few studies that have been conducted on this relationship have reported inconsistent results, especially regarding Taiwanese students. We conducted this cross-sectional study to investigate [...] Read more.
The relationship between students’ school environment and exercise habits is complex, and is affected by numerous factors. However, the few studies that have been conducted on this relationship have reported inconsistent results, especially regarding Taiwanese students. We conducted this cross-sectional study to investigate the association of school environment and after-school physical activity with health-related physical fitness in Taiwanese adolescents. Data were drawn from a national survey conducted by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan in 2008 of health-related physical fitness measurements among junior high school students (649,442 total) in grades seven to nine.School environment (level of urbanization, school size, presence of sports field or gymnasium) and after-school physical activity were assessed for their association with adolescents’ physical fitness measurements (body mass index (BMI), bent-leg sit-ups, 800-/1600-m run, sit-and-reach, standing long jump). Urban boys and girls perform significantly better in muscle strength and endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, and explosive power; girls from rural areas exhibited significantly worse scores in body composition. Boys from large-size schools performed the worst in cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, and explosive power; whereas girls from large-size schools performed the worst in muscle strength, muscle endurance, and explosive power, but had the best score for body composition. However, the differences in body composition of boys from large-, medium-, and small- size schools did not reach a statistically significant level. Adolescents of both genders in schools with a sports field or gymnasium exhibited significantly better in muscle strength and endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, and explosive power. Boys in schools with a sports field or gymnasium had significantly better body composition; girls in schools with sports field or gymnasium differed significantly in flexibility. Adolescents of both genders who participated in physical activity after school had significantly better body composition, cardiorespiratory endurance, and flexibility. Boys who participated in physical activity after school significantly differed in explosive power, whereas girls who participated in physical activity after school exhibited significantly better flexibility. Thus, the current study demonstrated that some factors, including urbanization (school location in rural or urban areas), school size, school facility provision (school with or without sports fields or gymnasiums), and after-school physical activity participation are more important than others in shaping adolescents’ physical fitness in Taiwan; meanwhile, these association patterns differed by gender. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Open AccessShort Note
An Electrostatic-Barrier-Forming Window that Captures Airborne Pollen Grains to Prevent Pollinosis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010082 - 15 Jan 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1478
Abstract
An electrostatic-barrier-forming window (EBW) was devised to capture airborne pollen, which can cause allergic pollinosis. The EBW consisted of three layers of insulated conductor wires (ICWs) and two voltage generators that supplied negative charges to the two outer ICW layers and a positive [...] Read more.
An electrostatic-barrier-forming window (EBW) was devised to capture airborne pollen, which can cause allergic pollinosis. The EBW consisted of three layers of insulated conductor wires (ICWs) and two voltage generators that supplied negative charges to the two outer ICW layers and a positive charge to the middle ICW layer. The ICWs generated an attractive force that captured pollen of the Japanese cedar, Cryptomeria japonica, from air blown through the EBW. The attractive force was directly proportional to the applied voltage. At ≥3.5 kV, the EBW exerted sufficient force to capture all pollen carried at an air flow of 3 m/s, and pollen-free air passed through the EBW. The findings demonstrated that the electrostatic barrier that formed inside the EBW was very effective at capturing airborne pollen; thus, it could allow a home to remain pollen-free and healthy despite continuous pollen exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Analysis of Human Health Risk Due to Arsenic Exposure through Drinking Groundwater in Taiwan’s Pingtung Plain
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010081 - 14 Jan 2017
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2031
Abstract
Chronic arsenic (As) exposure continues to be a public health problem of major concern worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of people. A long-term groundwater quality survey has revealed that 20% of the groundwater in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung Plain is clearly contaminated with a [...] Read more.
Chronic arsenic (As) exposure continues to be a public health problem of major concern worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of people. A long-term groundwater quality survey has revealed that 20% of the groundwater in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung Plain is clearly contaminated with a measured As concentration in excess of the maximum level of 10 µg/L recommended by the World Health Organization. The situation is further complicated by the fact that more than half of the inhabitants in this area continue to use groundwater for drinking. Efforts to assess the health risk associated with the ingestion of As from the contaminated drinking water are required in order to determine the priorities for health risk management. The conventional approach to conducting a human health risk assessment may be insufficient for this purpose, so this study adopts a geostatistical Kriging method to perform a spatial analysis of the health risk associated with ingesting As through drinking groundwater in the Pingtung Plain. The health risk is assessed based on the hazard quotient (HQ) and target cancer risk (TR) established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The results show that most areas where the HQ exceeds 1 are in the southwestern part of the study area. In addition, the high-population density townships of Daliao, Linyuan, Donggang, Linbian, Jiadong, and Fangliao presently have exceedingly high TR values that are two orders of magnitude higher than the acceptable standard. Thus, the use of groundwater for drinking in these townships should be strictly avoided. A map that delineates areas with high TR values and high population densities is provided. The findings broaden the scope of the spatial analysis of human health risk and provide a basis for improving the decision-making process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessReview
Implications of Changing Temperatures on the Growth, Fecundity and Survival of Intermediate Host Snails of Schistosomiasis: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010080 - 13 Jan 2017
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2073
Abstract
Climate change has been predicted to increase the global mean temperature and to alter the ecological interactions among organisms. These changes may play critical roles in influencing the life history traits of the intermediate hosts (IHs). This review focused on studies and disease [...] Read more.
Climate change has been predicted to increase the global mean temperature and to alter the ecological interactions among organisms. These changes may play critical roles in influencing the life history traits of the intermediate hosts (IHs). This review focused on studies and disease models that evaluate the potential effect of temperature rise on the ecology of IH snails and the development of parasites within them. The main focus was on IH snails of schistosome parasites that cause schistosomiasis in humans. A literature search was conducted on Google Scholar, EBSCOhost and PubMed databases using predefined medical subject heading terms, Boolean operators and truncation symbols in combinations with direct key words. The final synthesis included nineteen published articles. The studies reviewed indicated that temperature rise may alter the distribution, optimal conditions for breeding, growth and survival of IH snails which may eventually increase the spread and/or transmission of schistosomiasis. The literature also confirmed that the life history traits of IH snails and their interaction with the schistosome parasites are affected by temperature and hence a change in climate may have profound outcomes on the population size of snails, parasite density and disease epidemiology. We concluded that understanding the impact of temperature on the growth, fecundity and survival of IH snails may broaden the knowledge on the possible effects of climate change and hence inform schistosomiasis control programmes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Occurrence of Emerging Micropollutants in Water Systems in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and North West Provinces, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010079 - 13 Jan 2017
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2354
Abstract
The ubiquitous occurrence of emerging micropollutants (EMPs) in water is an issue of growing environmental-health concern worldwide. However, there remains a paucity of data regarding their levels and occurrence in water. This study determined the occurrence of EMPs namely: carbamazepine (CBZ), galaxolide (HHCB), [...] Read more.
The ubiquitous occurrence of emerging micropollutants (EMPs) in water is an issue of growing environmental-health concern worldwide. However, there remains a paucity of data regarding their levels and occurrence in water. This study determined the occurrence of EMPs namely: carbamazepine (CBZ), galaxolide (HHCB), caffeine (CAF), tonalide (AHTN), 4-nonylphenol (NP), and bisphenol A (BPA) in water from Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and North West provinces, South Africa using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to high resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-HRTOFMS). Kruskal-Wallis test and ANOVA were performed to determine temporal variations in occurrence of the EMPs. Principal component analysis (PCA) and Surfer Golden Graphics software for surface mapping were used to determine spatial variations in levels and occurrence of the EMPs. The mean levels ranged from 11.22 ± 18.8 ng/L for CAF to 158.49 ± 662 ng/L for HHCB. There was no evidence of statistically significant temporal variations in occurrence of EMPs in water. Nevertheless, their levels and occurrence vary spatially and are a function of two principal components (PCs, PC1 and PC2) which controlled 89.99% of the variance. BPA was the most widely distributed EMP, which was present in 62% of the water samples. The detected EMPs pose ecotoxicological risks in water samples, especially those from Mpumalanga province. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Micro-Pollutants and Human Exposure)
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