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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 14, Issue 12 (December 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In 2012 in the United Kingdom, a number of people caught Seoul hantavirus from their pet rats. Pet [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Real-Time Measurements and Characterization of Airborne Particulate Matter from a Primary Silicon Carbide Production Plant
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1611; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121611
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Airborne particulate matter in the silicon carbide (SiC) industry is a known health hazard. The aims of this study were to elucidate whether the particulate matter generated inside the Acheson furnace during active operation is representative of the overall particulate matter in the
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Airborne particulate matter in the silicon carbide (SiC) industry is a known health hazard. The aims of this study were to elucidate whether the particulate matter generated inside the Acheson furnace during active operation is representative of the overall particulate matter in the furnace hall, and whether the Acheson furnaces are the main sources of ultrafine particles (UFP) in primary SiC production. The number concentration of ultrafine particles was evaluated using an Electrical Low Pressure Impactor (ELPITM, Dekati Ltd., Tampere, Finland), a Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPSTM, TSI, Shoreview, MN, USA) and a Condensation Particle Counter (CPC, TSI, Shoreview, MN, USA). The results are discussed in terms of particle number concentration, particle size distribution and are also characterized by means of electron microscopy (TEM/SEM). Two locations were investigated; the industrial Acheson process furnace hall and a pilot furnace hall; both of which represent an active operating furnace. The geometric mean of the particle number concentration in the Acheson process furnace hall was 7.7 × 104 particles/cm3 for the UFP fraction and 1.0 × 105 particles/cm3 for the submicrometre fraction. Particulate matter collected at the two sites was analysed by electron microscopy. The PM from the Acheson process furnace hall is dominated by carbonaceous particles while the samples collected near the pilot furnace are primarily rich in silicon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality and Health)
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Open AccessArticle Protective Effects of Ambient Ozone on Incidence and Outcomes of Ischemic Stroke in Changzhou, China: A Time-Series Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1610; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121610
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 22 November 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
The potential beneficial effect of ozone (O3) on stroke had been identified experimentally and clinically, but these effects remain controversial in population-based studies. This study aimed to explore the epidemiological association between O3 and risk of ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke
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The potential beneficial effect of ozone (O3) on stroke had been identified experimentally and clinically, but these effects remain controversial in population-based studies. This study aimed to explore the epidemiological association between O3 and risk of ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke related health data and air pollution data were obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Monitoring Center in Changzhou between 2015 and 2016, respectively. The associations between the short-term exposure to O3 and daily ischemic stroke onsets and deaths were examined based on time-series generalized additive Poisson model. During the study period, daily ischemic stroke onsets and deaths decreased 0.340% (95% confidence interval (CI) −0.559% to −0.120%) and 0.697% (95% CI −1.103% to −0.290%) with an interquartile range (IQR) (41.1 µg/m3) increase in levels of ambient O3, respectively. The protective effects of O3 were more significant in men and elders and in the cool season than those in women and young people and in the warm season, respectively. The negative association was independent of PM2.5, PM10, SO2, NO2 or CO exposure. Acute O3 exposure was associated with decreased risk of ischemic stroke. These findings will help provide new insights into the relationship between ischemic stroke and ambient O3 concentrations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Association between Cesarean Section and Weight Status in Chinese Children and Adolescents: A National Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1609; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121609
Received: 5 November 2017 / Revised: 9 December 2017 / Accepted: 16 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Previous research on the association between cesarean section (CS) and childhood obesity has yielded inconsistent findings. This study assessed the secular trend of CS and explored the relationship between CS and the risks of overweight and obesity in Chinese children and adolescents. Data
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Previous research on the association between cesarean section (CS) and childhood obesity has yielded inconsistent findings. This study assessed the secular trend of CS and explored the relationship between CS and the risks of overweight and obesity in Chinese children and adolescents. Data came from a national multicenter school-based study conducted in seven provinces of China in 2013. Covariate data including weight, height and delivery mode were extracted. Poisson regression was applied to determine the risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the risks of overweight and obesity associated with the delivery mode. A total of 18,780 (41.2%) subjects were born by CS between 1997 and 2006. The rate of CS increased from 27.2% in 1997 to 54.1% in 2006. After adjusting for major confounders, the RRs (95% CI) of overweight and obesity among subjects born by CS were 1.21 (1.15 to 1.27) and 1.51 (1.42 to 1.61), respectively. Similar results were observed in different subgroups stratified by sex, age, and region. In summary, the CS rate increased sharply in China between 1997 and 2006. CS was associated with increased risks of overweight and obesity in offspring after accounting for major confounding factors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Is Job Control a Double-Edged Sword? A Cross-Lagged Panel Study on the Interplay of Quantitative Workload, Emotional Dissonance, and Job Control on Emotional Exhaustion
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1608; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121608
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 8 December 2017 / Accepted: 16 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Previous meta-analytic findings have provided ambiguous evidence on job control as a buffering moderator of the adverse impact of job demands on psychological well-being. To disentangle these mixed findings, we examine the moderating effect of job control on the adverse effects of quantitative
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Previous meta-analytic findings have provided ambiguous evidence on job control as a buffering moderator of the adverse impact of job demands on psychological well-being. To disentangle these mixed findings, we examine the moderating effect of job control on the adverse effects of quantitative workload and emotional dissonance as distinct work-related demands on emotional exhaustion over time. Drawing on the job demands-control model, the limited strength model of self-control, and the matching principle we propose that job control can facilitate coping with work-related demands but at the same time may also require employees’ self-control. Consequently, we argue that job control buffers the adverse effects of quantitative workload while it reinforces the adverse effects of emotional dissonance, which also necessitates self-control. We examine the proposed relations among employees from an energy supplying company (N = 139) in a cross-lagged panel study with a six-month time lag. Our results demonstrate a mix of causal and reciprocal effects of job characteristics on emotional exhaustion over time. Furthermore, as suggested, our data provides evidence for contrasting moderating effects of job control. That is, job control buffers the adverse effects of quantitative workload while it reinforces the adverse effects of emotional dissonance on emotional exhaustion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Work Stress and the Development of Chronic Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle School Collective Efficacy and Bullying Behaviour: A Multilevel Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1607; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121607
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
As with other forms of violent behaviour, bullying is the result of multiple influences acting on different societal levels. Yet the majority of studies on bullying focus primarily on the characteristics of individual bullies and bullied. Fewer studies have explored how the characteristics
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As with other forms of violent behaviour, bullying is the result of multiple influences acting on different societal levels. Yet the majority of studies on bullying focus primarily on the characteristics of individual bullies and bullied. Fewer studies have explored how the characteristics of central contexts in young people’s lives are related to bullying behaviour over and above the influence of individual-level characteristics. This study explores how teacher-rated school collective efficacy is related to student-reported bullying behaviour (traditional and cyberbullying victimization and perpetration). A central focus is to explore if school collective efficacy is related similarly to both traditional bullying and cyberbullying. Analyses are based on combined information from two independent data collections conducted in 2016 among 11th grade students (n = 6067) and teachers (n = 1251) in 58 upper secondary schools in Stockholm. The statistical method used is multilevel modelling, estimating two-level binary logistic regression models. The results demonstrate statistically significant between-school differences in all outcomes, except traditional bullying perpetration. Strong school collective efficacy is related to less traditional bullying perpetration and less cyberbullying victimization and perpetration, indicating that collective norm regulation and school social cohesion may contribute to reducing the occurrence of bullying. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Violence as a Public Health Issue)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Ovsiankina’s Great Relief: How Supplemental Work during the Weekend May Contribute to Recovery in the Face of Unfinished Tasks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1606; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121606
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Unfinished tasks have been identified as a significant job stressor that impairs employee recovery after work. Classic experimental research by Ovsiankina has shown that people tend to resume yet unfinished tasks to satisfy their need for closure. We apply this notion to current
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Unfinished tasks have been identified as a significant job stressor that impairs employee recovery after work. Classic experimental research by Ovsiankina has shown that people tend to resume yet unfinished tasks to satisfy their need for closure. We apply this notion to current working life and examine supplemental work after hours as a means to achieve peace of mind. We investigate how progress towards goal accomplishment through supplemental work may facilitate recovery in terms of psychological detachment, relaxation, autonomy, and mastery experiences. We conducted a week-level diary study among 83 employees over a period of 14 consecutive weeks, which yielded 575 observations in total and 214 matched observations of unfinished tasks, supplemental work during the weekend, progress, and recovery experiences. Unfinished tasks were assessed on Friday. Supplemental work and recovery experiences were assessed on Monday. Multilevel modeling analyses provide evidence that unfinished tasks at the end of the work week are associated with lower levels of detachment at the intraindividual level, tend to relate to lower relaxation, but are unrelated to autonomy and mastery. Progress towards finishing tasks during the weekend alleviates the detrimental effects of unfinished tasks on both kinds of recovery experiences. Supplemental work is negatively linked to detachment, but largely unrelated to the other recovery experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress and Health)
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Open AccessArticle Maternal Exposure to Air Pollutants and Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1604; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121604
Received: 22 October 2017 / Revised: 26 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Mounting evidence has shown an increased risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in association with elevated exposure to air pollution. However, limited evidence is available concerning the effect of specific air pollutant(s) on GDM incidence. We conducted this case-control study on 6717 mothers
[...] Read more.
Mounting evidence has shown an increased risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in association with elevated exposure to air pollution. However, limited evidence is available concerning the effect of specific air pollutant(s) on GDM incidence. We conducted this case-control study on 6717 mothers with GDM diagnosed in 2006–2013 and 6717 age- and year of delivery-matched controls to further address the risk of GDM in relation to specific air pollutant. Both cases and controls were selected from a cohort of 1-million beneficiaries of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program registered in 2005. Maternal exposures to mean daily air pollutant concentration, derived from 76 fixed air quality monitoring stations within the 12-week period prior to pregnancy and during the 1st and 2nd trimesters, were assessed by the spatial analyst method (i.e., ordinary kriging) with the ArcGIS software. After controlling for potential confounders and other air pollutants, an increase in pre-pregnancy exposure of 1 inter-quartile range (IQR) for PM2.5 and SO2 was found to associate with a significantly elevated odds ratio (OR) of GDM at 1.10 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–1.18 and 1.37 (95% CI 1.30–1.45), respectively. Exposures to PM2.5 and SO2 during the 1st and 2nd trimesters were also associated with significantly increased ORs, which were 1.09 (95% CI 1.02–1.17) and 1.07 (95% CI 1.01–1.14) for PM2.5, and 1.37 (95% CI 1.30–1.45) and 1.38 (95% CI 1.31–1.46) for SO2. It was concluded that higher pre- and post-pregnancy exposures to PM2.5 and SO2 for mothers were associated with a significantly but modestly elevated risk of GDM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessReview Supporting Active Mobility and Green Jobs through the Promotion of Cycling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1603; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121603
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 22 November 2017 / Accepted: 28 November 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
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Abstract
This article is a summary of the main findings of the study “Riding towards the green economy: cycling and green jobs”, which was developed in the context of the Transport, Health and Environment pan-European Programme (THE PEP). It builds on previous work under
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This article is a summary of the main findings of the study “Riding towards the green economy: cycling and green jobs”, which was developed in the context of the Transport, Health and Environment pan-European Programme (THE PEP). It builds on previous work under THE PEP, which demonstrated the job creation potential of cycling and of green and healthy transport more generally. The report summarized in this article collected data on jobs associated with cycling directly from city authorities and analysed these to re-assess previous estimates of the job creation potential of cycling. It concluded that the number of cycling-related jobs in the pan-European Region could increase by 435,000 in selected major cities if they increased their cycling share to that of the Danish capital Copenhagen. The implications and potential role of municipal and sub-national authorities in facilitating cycling while supporting economic development are then discussed. These findings indicate that investment in policies that promote cycling could deliver not only important benefits for health, the environment and the quality of urban life, but could also contribute to a sizable creation of job opportunities. Authorities need to be proactive in promoting cycling in order to deliver these benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Transportation and Health)
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Factors Correlated with Culturable Enterococci Concentrations in Tropical Recreational Waters: A Case Study in Escambron Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1602; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121602
Received: 8 November 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 16 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2665 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Enterococci concentration variability at Escambron Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico, was examined in the context of environmental conditions observed during 2005–2015. Satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST), turbidity, direct normal irradiance, and dew point were combined with local precipitation, winds, and mean sea level
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Enterococci concentration variability at Escambron Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico, was examined in the context of environmental conditions observed during 2005–2015. Satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST), turbidity, direct normal irradiance, and dew point were combined with local precipitation, winds, and mean sea level (MSL) observations in a stepwise multiple regression analyses (Akaike Information Criteria model selection). Precipitation, MSL, irradiance, SST, and turbidity explained 20% of the variation in observed enterococci concentrations based upon these analyses. Changes in these parameters preceded increases in enterococci concentrations by 24 h up to 11 days, particularly during positive anomalies of turbidity, SST, and 480–960 mm of accumulated (4 days) precipitation, which relates to bacterial ecology. Weaker, yet still significant, increases in enterococci concentrations were also observed during positive dew point anomalies. Enterococci concentrations decreased with elevated irradiance and MSL anomalies. Unsafe enterococci concentrations per US EPA recreational water quality guidelines occurred when 4-day cumulative precipitation ranged 481–960 mm; irradiance < 667 W·m−2; daily average turbidity anomaly >0.005 sr−1; SST anomaly >0.8 °C; and 3-day average MSL anomaly <−18.8 cm. This case study shows that satellite-derived environmental data can be used to inform future water quality studies and protect human health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Outcomes in the Utilization of Single Percutaneous Cholecystostomy in a Low-Income Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1601; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121601
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
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Abstract
Numerous studies have investigated the applicable populations for percutaneous cholecystostomy (PC) procedures, but the outcomes of PC in low-income populations (LIPs) have been insufficiently studied. Data for 11,184 patients who underwent PC were collected from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan
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Numerous studies have investigated the applicable populations for percutaneous cholecystostomy (PC) procedures, but the outcomes of PC in low-income populations (LIPs) have been insufficiently studied. Data for 11,184 patients who underwent PC were collected from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan during 2003 and 2012. The overall crude rate of single PC for the LIP was 64% higher than that for the general population (GP). After propensity score matching for the LIP and GP at a ratio of 1:5, the outcome analysis of patients who underwent PC showed that in-hospital mortality was significantly higher in the LIP group than in the GP group, but one-year recurrence was lower. The rates of 30-day mortality and in-hospital complications were higher for the LIP patients than for the GP patients, and the rate of routine discharge was lower, but the differences were not significant. In conclusion, LIP patients undergoing PC exhibit poor prognoses relative to GP patients, indicating that a low socioeconomic status has an adverse impact on the outcome of PC. We suggest that surgeons fully consider the patient’s financial situation during the operation and further consider the possible poor post-surgical outcomes for LIP patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Evidence-Based Review of Impacts, Strategies and Tools to Mitigate Urban Heat Islands
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1600; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121600
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 4 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
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Abstract
The impacts of climate changes on cities, which are home to over half of the world’s population, are already being felt. In many cases, the intensive speed with which urban centres have been growing means that little attention has been paid to the
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The impacts of climate changes on cities, which are home to over half of the world’s population, are already being felt. In many cases, the intensive speed with which urban centres have been growing means that little attention has been paid to the role played by climatic factors in maintaining quality of life. Among the negative consequences of rapid city growth is the expansion of the problems posed by urban heat islands (UHIs), defined as areas in a city that are much warmer than other sites, especially in comparison with rural areas. This paper analyses the consistency of the UHI-related literature in three stages: first it outlines its characteristics and impacts in a wide variety of cities around the world, which poses pressures to public health in many different countries. Then it introduces strategies which may be employed in order to reduce its effects, and finally it analyses available tools to systematize the initial high level assessment of the phenomenon for multidisciplinary teams involved in the urban planning process. The analysis of literature on the characteristics, impacts, strategies and digital tools to assess on the UHI, reveals the wide variety of parameters, methods, tools and strategies analysed and suggested in the different studies, which does not always allow to compare or standardize the diagnosis or solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Health: An Interdisciplinary Perspective)
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Open AccessArticle Comprehensive Performance Evaluation for Hydrological and Nutrients Simulation Using the Hydrological Simulation Program–Fortran in a Mesoscale Monsoon Watershed, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1599; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121599
Received: 29 October 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
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Abstract
The Hydrological Simulation Program–Fortran (HSPF) is a hydrological and water quality computer model that was developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Comprehensive performance evaluations were carried out for hydrological and nutrient simulation using the HSPF model in the Xitiaoxi watershed in
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The Hydrological Simulation Program–Fortran (HSPF) is a hydrological and water quality computer model that was developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Comprehensive performance evaluations were carried out for hydrological and nutrient simulation using the HSPF model in the Xitiaoxi watershed in China. Streamflow simulation was calibrated from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2007 and then validated from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2010 using daily observed data, and nutrient simulation was calibrated and validated using monthly observed data during the period from July 2009 to July 2010. These results of model performance evaluation showed that the streamflows were well simulated over the study period. The determination coefficient (R2) was 0.87, 0.77 and 0.63, and the Nash-Sutcliffe coefficient of efficiency (Ens) was 0.82, 0.76 and 0.65 for the streamflow simulation in annual, monthly and daily time-steps, respectively. Although limited to monthly observed data, satisfactory performance was still achieved during the quantitative evaluation for nutrients. The R2 was 0.73, 0.82 and 0.92, and the Ens was 0.67, 0.74 and 0.86 for nitrate, ammonium and orthophosphate simulation, respectively. Some issues may affect the application of HSPF were also discussed, such as input data quality, parameter values, etc. Overall, the HSPF model can be successfully used to describe streamflow and nutrients transport in the mesoscale watershed located in the East Asian monsoon climate area. This study is expected to serve as a comprehensive and systematic documentation of understanding the HSPF model for wide application and avoiding possible misuses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Environmental Regulation on Employment in Resource-Based Areas of China—An Empirical Research Based on the Mediating Effect Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1598; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121598
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 14 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (455 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While environmental pollution is becoming more and more serious, many countries are adopting policies to control pollution. At the same time, the environmental regulation will inevitably affect economic and social development, especially employment growth. The environmental regulation will not only affect the scale
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While environmental pollution is becoming more and more serious, many countries are adopting policies to control pollution. At the same time, the environmental regulation will inevitably affect economic and social development, especially employment growth. The environmental regulation will not only affect the scale of employment directly, but it will also have indirect effects by stimulating upgrades in the industrial structure and in technological innovation. This paper examines the impact of environmental regulation on employment, using a mediating model based on the data from five typical resource-based provinces in China from 2000 to 2015. The estimation is performed based on the system GMM (Generalized Method of Moments) estimator. The results show that the implementation of environmental regulation in resource-based areas has both a direct effect and a mediating effect on employment. These findings provide policy implications for these resource-based areas to promote the coordinating development between the environment and employment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Models in Green Growth and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessCase Report How Do the First Days Count? A Case Study of Qatar Experience in Emergency Risk Communication during the MERS-CoV Outbreak
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1597; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121597
Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 9 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
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Abstract
This case study is the first to be developed in the Middle East region to document what happened during the response to the 2013 MERS outbreak in Qatar. It provides a description of key epidemiologic events and news released from a prime daily
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This case study is the first to be developed in the Middle East region to document what happened during the response to the 2013 MERS outbreak in Qatar. It provides a description of key epidemiologic events and news released from a prime daily newspaper and main Emergency Risk Communication (ERC) actions that were undertaken by public health authorities. Using the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) theoretical framework, the study analyzes how the performed ERC strategies during the first days of the outbreak might have contributed to the outbreak management. Methods: MERS-CoV related events were chronologically tracked, together with the relevant stories that were published in a major newspaper over the course of three distinct phases of the epidemic. The collected media stories were then assessed against the practiced emergency risk communication (ERC) activities during the same time frame. Results: The Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) framework was partially followed during the early days of the MERS-CoV epidemic, which were characterized by overwhelming uncertainty. The SCH’s commitment to a proactive and open risk communication strategy since day one, contributed to creating the SCH’s image as a credible source of information and allowed for the quick initiation of the overall response efforts. Yet, conflicting messages and over reassurance were among the observed pitfalls of the implemented ERC strategy. Conclusion: The adoption of CERC principles can help restore and maintain the credibility of responding agencies. Further work is needed to develop more rigorous and comprehensive research strategies that address sharing of information by mainstream as well as social media for a more accurate assessment of the impact of the ERC strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health and Disasters)
Open AccessArticle Gene-by-Psychosocial Factor Interactions Influence Diastolic Blood Pressure in European and African Ancestry Populations: Meta-Analysis of Four Cohort Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1596; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121596
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 7 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
Inter-individual variability in blood pressure (BP) is influenced by both genetic and non-genetic factors including socioeconomic and psychosocial stressors. A deeper understanding of the gene-by-socioeconomic/psychosocial factor interactions on BP may help to identify individuals that are genetically susceptible to high BP in specific
[...] Read more.
Inter-individual variability in blood pressure (BP) is influenced by both genetic and non-genetic factors including socioeconomic and psychosocial stressors. A deeper understanding of the gene-by-socioeconomic/psychosocial factor interactions on BP may help to identify individuals that are genetically susceptible to high BP in specific social contexts. In this study, we used a genomic region-based method for longitudinal analysis, Longitudinal Gene-Environment-Wide Interaction Studies (LGEWIS), to evaluate the effects of interactions between known socioeconomic/psychosocial and genetic risk factors on systolic and diastolic BP in four large epidemiologic cohorts of European and/or African ancestry. After correction for multiple testing, two interactions were significantly associated with diastolic BP. In European ancestry participants, outward/trait anger score had a significant interaction with the C10orf107 genomic region (p = 0.0019). In African ancestry participants, depressive symptom score had a significant interaction with the HFE genomic region (p = 0.0048). This study provides a foundation for using genomic region-based longitudinal analysis to identify subgroups of the population that may be at greater risk of elevated BP due to the combined influence of genetic and socioeconomic/psychosocial risk factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gene-Environment Interactions and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle Health Risk Assessment of Trace Metals in Various Environmental Media, Crops and Human Hair from a Mining Affected Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1595; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121595
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
Long term exposure to trace metals in various media is of great concern for people living in known pollution sources, such as mining and industrial activities. Health risk assessment and human hair analysis can provide important information for local environmental management. Information on
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Long term exposure to trace metals in various media is of great concern for people living in known pollution sources, such as mining and industrial activities. Health risk assessment and human hair analysis can provide important information for local environmental management. Information on distribution characteristics of trace metals in soil, water, sediment, air, local crops, and human hair from a typical mining area in southern China was collected. Results show there exists severely trace metal contamination in soil, sediment, and air. Arsenic and Pb contents in the local children’s hair are higher than the upper reference values, and the accumulation of residents’ hair trace metals shows great correlation with the ingestion and inhalation pathways. Arsenic contributes 52.27% and 58.51% to the total non-cancer risk of adults and children, respectively. The cancer risk of Cd in adults and children are 4.66 and 3.22 times higher than the safe level, respectively. Ingestion exposure pathway of trace metals largely contributes to the total non-cancer and cancer effect. The metals As, Cd, and Pb are major risk sources and pollutants that should be given priority for management, and ingestion pathway exposure to trace metals through soil and crops should be controlled. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Studies on Heavy Metals and Health)
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Open AccessArticle Associations of Older Taiwanese Adults’ Personal Attributes and Perceptions of the Neighborhood Environment Concerning Walking for Recreation and Transportation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1594; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121594
Received: 18 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
This study examines the cross-sectional associations between personal and perceived neighborhood environment attributes regarding walking for recreation and transportation among older Taiwanese adults. Data related to personal factors, perceived environmental factors, and time spent engaging in transportation-related and recreational walking were obtained from
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This study examines the cross-sectional associations between personal and perceived neighborhood environment attributes regarding walking for recreation and transportation among older Taiwanese adults. Data related to personal factors, perceived environmental factors, and time spent engaging in transportation-related and recreational walking were obtained from 1032 older adults aged 65 years and above. The data were analyzed by carrying out an adjusted binary logistic regression. After adjusting for potential confounders, two commonly perceived environmental factors, the presence of sidewalks (PS) and the presence of a destination (PD), were positively associated with 150 min of walking for recreation. Different personal and perceived environmental factors were associated with walking for recreation and transportation. These findings suggest that policy-makers and physical activity intervention designers should develop both common and individual environmental strategies in order to improve and increase awareness of the neighborhood environment to promote recreational and transportation walking behaviors among older adults. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Integrating Norm Activation Model and Theory of Planned Behavior to Understand Sustainable Transport Behavior: Evidence from China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1593; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121593
Received: 23 October 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
With increasing urbanization in China, many cities are facing serious environmental problems due to continuous and substantial increase in automobile transportation. It is becoming imperative to examine effective ways to reduce individual automobile use to facilitate sustainable transportation behavior. Empirical, theory-based research on
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With increasing urbanization in China, many cities are facing serious environmental problems due to continuous and substantial increase in automobile transportation. It is becoming imperative to examine effective ways to reduce individual automobile use to facilitate sustainable transportation behavior. Empirical, theory-based research on sustainable transportation in China is limited. In this research, we propose an integrated model based on the norm activation model and the theory of planned behavior by combining normative and rational factors to predict individuals’ intention to reduce car use. Data from a survey of 600 car drivers in China’s three metropolitan areas was used to test the proposed model and hypotheses. Results showed that three variables, perceived norm of car-transport reduction, attitude towards reduction, and perceived behavior control over car-transport reduction, significantly affected the intention to reduce car-transport. Personal norms mediated the relationship between awareness of consequences of car-transport, ascription of responsibility of car-transport, perceived subjective norm for car-transport reduction, and intention to reduce car-transport. The results of this research not only contribute to theory development in the area of sustainable transportation behavior, but also provide a theoretical frame of reference for relevant policy-makers in urban transport management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Transportation and Health)
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Open AccessArticle Pomegranate (Punica granatum) Juice Shows Antioxidant Activity against Cutaneous Leishmaniasis-Induced Oxidative Stress in Female BALB/c Mice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1592; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121592
Received: 5 November 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
Leishmania species are parasites that multiply within phagocytes and cause several clinical diseases characterized by single or multiple ulcerations. One of the complications that can induce tissue damage and the resulting scars is caused by secondary bacterial infections. Studies to find new, effective,
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Leishmania species are parasites that multiply within phagocytes and cause several clinical diseases characterized by single or multiple ulcerations. One of the complications that can induce tissue damage and the resulting scars is caused by secondary bacterial infections. Studies to find new, effective, and safe oral drugs for treating leishmaniasis are being conducted since several decades, owing to the problems associated with the use of antimonials available. Previously, the antiparasitic and antioxidant properties of Punica granatum (pomegranate, P. granatum) have been reported. Therefore, in the present study, we aimed to investigate the antileishmanial activity of pomegranate aqueous juice in vitro and in female BALB/c mice. A 3-(4.5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay in Leishmania major promastigotes and alterations in the antioxidant status, liver function, and skin histological changes in L. major-infected mice orally treated with pomegranate juice alone and in combination with the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, were used to investigate the in vitro and in vivo antileishmanial activity of pomegranate juice, respectively. Oral P. granatum juice treatment significantly reduced the average size of cutaneous leishmaniasis lesions compared with that of the untreated mice. This antileishmanial activity of P. granatum was associated with enhanced antioxidant enzyme activities. Histopathological evaluation proved the antileishmanial activity of P. granatum, but did not reveal changes in the treated animals, compared to the positive control. In conclusion, P. granatum shows high and fast antileishmanial activity probably by boosting the endogenous antioxidant activity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Price and Availability of Sugar-Free, Sugar-Reduced and Low Glycemic Index Cereal Products in Northwestern México
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121591
Received: 28 October 2017 / Revised: 16 December 2017 / Accepted: 16 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
Sugar-free (SF), sugar-reduced (SR), or low-glycemic-index (low GI) cereal products could be helpful for the dietary treatment of disorders related to glucose homeostasis. However, access and economic aspects are barriers that could hamper their consumption. Thus, the availability and price of such cereal
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Sugar-free (SF), sugar-reduced (SR), or low-glycemic-index (low GI) cereal products could be helpful for the dietary treatment of disorders related to glucose homeostasis. However, access and economic aspects are barriers that could hamper their consumption. Thus, the availability and price of such cereal products were evaluated in Northwestern México. The products were categorized in 10 groups. The data were collected in five cities by store visitation (from November 2015 to April 2016). The availability in specialized stores and supermarkets was expressed as availability rates based on the total number of products. The price of the SF, SR, and low GI products were compared with their conventional counterparts. Availability rates were higher in supermarkets than in specialized stores by product numbers (14.29% versus 3.76%, respectively; p < 0.001) and by product categories (53.57% versus 26.92%, respectively; p < 0.001). Five categories of products labeled as SF, SR, and low GI (oats, cookies and crackers, flours, snacks, and tostadas/totopos) had higher prices than their conventional counterparts (p < 0.05). In conclusion, in Northwestern Mexico, the availability of SF, SR, and low GI cereal-based foods is relatively low, and these foods are more expensive than their conventional counterparts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Time-Dependent Toxic and Genotoxic Effects of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles after Long-Term and Repetitive Exposure to Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1590; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121590
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NP) are widely spread in consumer products. Data about the toxicological characteristics of ZnO-NP is still under controversial discussion. The human skin is the most important organ concerning ZnO-NP exposure. Intact skin was demonstrated to be a sufficient barrier against
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Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NP) are widely spread in consumer products. Data about the toxicological characteristics of ZnO-NP is still under controversial discussion. The human skin is the most important organ concerning ZnO-NP exposure. Intact skin was demonstrated to be a sufficient barrier against NPs; however, defect skin may allow NP contact to proliferating cells. Within these cells, stem cells are the most important toxicological target for NPs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of ZnO-NP at low-dose concentrations after long-term and repetitive exposure to human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC). Cytotoxic effects of ZnO-NP were measured by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Furthermore, genotoxicity was evaluated by the comet assay. For long-term observation over 6 weeks, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was applied. The results of the study indicated cytotoxic effects of ZnO-NP beginning at high concentrations of 50 μg/mL and genotoxic effects in hMSC exposed to 1 and 10 μg/mL ZnO-NP. Repetitive exposure enhanced cyto- but not genotoxicity. Intracellular NP accumulation was observed up to 6 weeks. The results suggest cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of ZnO-NP. Even low doses of ZnO-NP may induce toxic effects as a result of repetitive exposure and long-term cellular accumulation. This data should be considered before using ZnO-NP on damaged skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Bio Interactions: Nanomedicine and Nanotoxicology)
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Open AccessArticle Heavy Metal Pollution and Ecological Assessment around the Jinsha Coal-Fired Power Plant (China)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121589
Received: 4 November 2017 / Revised: 3 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
Heavy metal pollution is a serious problem worldwide. In this study, 41 soil samples and 32 cabbage samples were collected from the area surrounding the Jinsha coal-fired power plant (JCFP Plant) in Guizhou Province, southwest China. Pb, Cd, Hg, As, Cu and Cr
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Heavy metal pollution is a serious problem worldwide. In this study, 41 soil samples and 32 cabbage samples were collected from the area surrounding the Jinsha coal-fired power plant (JCFP Plant) in Guizhou Province, southwest China. Pb, Cd, Hg, As, Cu and Cr concentrations in soil samples and cabbage samples were analysed to study the pollution sources and risks of heavy metals around the power plant. The results indicate that the JCFP Plant contributes to the Pb, Cd, As, Hg, Cu, and Cr pollution in nearby soils, particularly Hg pollution. Cu and Cr in soils from both croplands and forestlands in the study area derive mainly from crustal materials or natural processes. Pb, Cd and As in soils from croplands arise partly through anthropogenic activities, but these elements in soils from forestlands originate mainly from crustal materials or natural processes. Hg pollution in soils from both croplands and forestlands is caused mainly by fly ash from the JCFP Plant. The cabbages grown in the study area were severely contaminated with heavy metals, and more than 90% of the cabbages had Pb concentrations exceeding the permissible level established by the Ministry of Health and the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China. Additionally, 30% of the cabbages had As concentrations exceeding the permissible level. Because forests can protect soils from heavy metal pollution caused by atmospheric deposition, close attention should be given to the Hg pollution in soils and to the concentrations of Pb, As, Hg and Cr in vegetables from the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Environmental Risk Assessment)
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Open AccessCommunication An Alternative Approach to Investigate Biofilm in Medical Devices: A Feasibility Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1587; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121587
Received: 4 October 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
Biofilms are assemblages of bacterial cells irreversibly associated with a surface where moisture is present. In particular, they retain a relevant impact on public health since through biofilms bacteria are able to survive and populate biomedical devices causing severe nosocomial infections that are
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Biofilms are assemblages of bacterial cells irreversibly associated with a surface where moisture is present. In particular, they retain a relevant impact on public health since through biofilms bacteria are able to survive and populate biomedical devices causing severe nosocomial infections that are generally resistant to antimicrobial agents. Therefore, controlling biofilm formation is a mandatory feature during medical device manufacturing and during their use. In this study, combining a crystal violet staining together with advanced stereomicroscopy, we report an alternative rapid protocol for both qualitative and semi-quantitative biofilm determination having high specificity, high repeatability, and low variability. The suggested approach represents a reliable and versatile method to detect, monitor, and measure biofilm colonization by an easy, more affordable, and reproducible method. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Child Behavior among Mexican Women and Their Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1566; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121566
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract
Over 50% of mothers in rural Mexico have high depressive symptoms, and their children’s health and development are likely to be negatively affected. A critical question is whether children vary in their vulnerability to the effects of high maternal depressive symptoms according to
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Over 50% of mothers in rural Mexico have high depressive symptoms, and their children’s health and development are likely to be negatively affected. A critical question is whether children vary in their vulnerability to the effects of high maternal depressive symptoms according to their indigenous ethnicity, maternal education, or household wealth. Our sample included 4442 mothers and 5503 children from an evaluation of Mexico’s social welfare program. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale, and child behavior was measured using an adapted version of the Behavior Problems Index (BPI). Multiple linear regression models were used to explore the associations between maternal depressive symptoms and child behavior problems, and the heterogeneity of associations by indigenous ethnicity, maternal education, and household assets. We found that having greater maternal depressive symptoms was significantly associated with having a child with more behavior problems (β = 0.114, p < 0.0001, [95% CI 0.101, 0.127]), in adjusted models. In tests of heterogeneity, the association between maternal depressive symptoms and child behavior problems was strongest in households with indigenous ethnicity, low maternal education, or in households with fewer assets. These results strengthen the case for effective mental health interventions in low- and middle-income countries, particularly among the most vulnerable families where mothers and children appear to be at the greatest risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Health Needs of Vulnerable Children: Challenges and Solutions)
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Open AccessArticle Attitudinal, Behavioral, and Environmental Correlates of Child and Parent Self-Efficacy in Walking to School
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121588
Received: 22 October 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 17 December 2017
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Abstract
As a critical social cognitive construct, self-efficacy plays a determinant role in children’s walking to school (WTS). However, little is known about factors that are underlying children’s and parents’ self-efficacy in WTS. The purpose of this study is to examine behavioral, attitudinal, and
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As a critical social cognitive construct, self-efficacy plays a determinant role in children’s walking to school (WTS). However, little is known about factors that are underlying children’s and parents’ self-efficacy in WTS. The purpose of this study is to examine behavioral, attitudinal, and environmental correlates of child self-efficacy and parent self-efficacy in WTS, and to assess differences in the correlates of child versus parent self-efficacy. Data were collected from students (N = 1224) and parents (N = 1205) from 81 elementary schools across Texas in 2009–2012. Binary logistic regressions were conducted to identify significant factors that are associated with children’s self-efficacy and parents’ self-efficacy. Results from this study showed that the parent self-efficacy was more likely to be related to their own behaviors or attitudes, rather than the environmental factors or their child’s input. The child self-efficacy, however, was influenced not only by their own and parental behaviors or attitudes, but also by environmental factors. This study suggests that both parental and child self-efficacy are important factors to be considered when making decisions about school transportation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Do Clinicians Ask Pregnant Women about Exposures to Tobacco and Cannabis Smoking, Second-Hand-Smoke and E-Cigarettes? An Australian National Cross-Sectional Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1585; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121585
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 16 December 2017
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Abstract
Clinicians often ask pregnant women about tobacco smoking, but their practices of asking about other smoking and nicotine exposures are unknown. This study analysed how often clinicians ask pregnant women about their use of e-cigarettes, cannabis, chewing tobacco, and second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure.
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Clinicians often ask pregnant women about tobacco smoking, but their practices of asking about other smoking and nicotine exposures are unknown. This study analysed how often clinicians ask pregnant women about their use of e-cigarettes, cannabis, chewing tobacco, and second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure. Two cross-sectional surveys were undertaken. A random sample of 500 General Practitioner (GP) members were invited from the National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (NFATSIH) to complete an on-line survey, and 5571 GP and Obstetrician (OBS) members of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) were sent a paper survey by mail. Questions on frequency of asking about the exposures used Likert Scales, later dichotomized to “often-always” and “never-sometimes”. Logistic regressions estimated associations between clinician type and asking about cannabis, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and SHS. An adjusted model reduced potential confounders of location, guidelines, gender and population. n = 378 GPs and OBS participated (6.2% response). In total, 13–14% asked “often-always” about e-cigarettes; 58% cannabis; 38% cannabis with tobacco; 27% SHS, and 10% chewing tobacco—compared to 95% of the sample asking about cigarette smoking. After adjustment, the odds of RANZCOG GPs (OR 0.34) and OBS (OR 0.63) asking about cannabis were lower compared to NFATSIH GPs. Clinician type was non-significant for asking about e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and SHS. Surveyed Australian GPs and obstetricians asked less frequently about e-cigarettes, chewing, SHS exposure, and cannabis, potentially missing important exposures for mother and child. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reducing Exposure to Second-Hand Tobacco Smoke)
Open AccessArticle Small Water Enterprise in Rural Rwanda: Business Development and Year-One Performance Evaluation of Nine Water Kiosks at Health Care Facilities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1584; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121584
Received: 1 October 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 16 December 2017
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Abstract
Small water enterprises (SWEs) have lower capital expenditures than centralized systems, offering decentralized solutions for rural markets. This study evaluated SWEs in rural Rwanda, where nine health care facilities (HCF) owned and operated water kiosks supplying water from onsite water treatment systems (WTS).
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Small water enterprises (SWEs) have lower capital expenditures than centralized systems, offering decentralized solutions for rural markets. This study evaluated SWEs in rural Rwanda, where nine health care facilities (HCF) owned and operated water kiosks supplying water from onsite water treatment systems (WTS). SWEs were monitored for 12 months. Spearman’s Rank Correlation Coefficient (rs) was used to evaluate correlations between demand for kiosk water and community characteristics, and between kiosk profit and factors influencing the cost model. On average, SWEs distributed 15,300 L/month. One SWE ran at a loss, four had profit margins of ≤10% and four had profit margins of 45–75%. Factors influencing SWE performance were intermittent water supply (87% of SWE closures were due to water shortage), consumer demand (demand was high where populations already used improved water sources (rs = 0.81, p = 0.02)), price sensitivity (demand was lower where SWEs had high prices (rs = −0.65, p = 0.08)), and production cost (water utility tariffs negatively impacted SWE profits (rs = −0.52, p < 0.01)). Sustainability was more favorable in circumstances where recovery of capital expenditures was not expected, and the demand for treated water was sufficient to fund operational expenditures. Future research is needed to assess the extent to which kiosk revenue can support ongoing operational costs of WTS and kiosks both at HCF and in other contexts. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial How Can We Achieve Healthy Aging?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1583; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121583
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
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Abstract
Population aging affects all countries, and all income groups.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ageing Well: The Role of Age-Friendly Environments)
Open AccessArticle Spatial, Temporal, and Dietary Variables Associated with Elevated Mercury Exposure in Peruvian Riverine Communities Upstream and Downstream of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1582; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121582
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
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Abstract
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is a primary contributor to global mercury and its rapid expansion raises concern for human exposure. Non-occupational exposure risks are presumed to be strongly tied to environmental contamination; however, the relationship between environmental and human mercury exposure,
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Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is a primary contributor to global mercury and its rapid expansion raises concern for human exposure. Non-occupational exposure risks are presumed to be strongly tied to environmental contamination; however, the relationship between environmental and human mercury exposure, how exposure has changed over time, and risk factors beyond fish consumption are not well understood in ASGM settings. In Peruvian riverine communities (n = 12), where ASGM has increased 4–6 fold over the past decade, we provide a large-scale assessment of the connection between environmental and human mercury exposure by comparing total mercury contents in human hair (2-cm segment, n = 231) to locally caught fish tissue, analyzing temporal exposure in women of child bearing age (WCBA, 15–49 years, n = 46) over one year, and evaluating general mercury exposure risks including fish and non-fish dietary items through household surveys and linear mixed models. Calculations of an individual’s oral reference dose using the total mercury content in locally-sourced fish underestimated the observed mercury exposure for individuals in many communities. This discrepancy was particularly evident in communities upstream of ASGM, where mercury levels in river fish, water, and sediment measurements from a previous study were low, yet hair mercury was chronically elevated. Hair from 86% of individuals and 77% of children exceeded a USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) provisional level (1.2 µg/g) that could result in child developmental impairment. Chronically elevated mercury exposure was observed in the temporal analysis in WCBA. If the most recent exposure exceeded the USEPA level, there was a 97% probability that the individual exceeded that level 8–10 months of the previous year. Frequent household consumption of some fruits (tomato, banana) and grains (quinoa) was significantly associated with 29–75% reductions in hair mercury. Collectively, these data demonstrate that communities located hundreds of kilometers from ASGM are vulnerable to chronically elevated mercury exposure. Furthermore, unexpected associations with fish mercury contents and non-fish dietary intake highlight the need for more in-depth analyses of exposure regimes to identify the most vulnerable populations and to establish potential interventions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Traffic Density Parameters as an Indicator of Vehicle Emission-Related Near-Road Air Pollution: A Case Study with NEXUS Measurement Data on Black Carbon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1581; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121581
Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 23 November 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
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Abstract
An important factor in evaluating health risk of near-road air pollution is to accurately estimate the traffic-related vehicle emission of air pollutants. Inclusion of traffic parameters such as road length/area, distance to roads, and traffic volume/intensity into models such as land use regression
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An important factor in evaluating health risk of near-road air pollution is to accurately estimate the traffic-related vehicle emission of air pollutants. Inclusion of traffic parameters such as road length/area, distance to roads, and traffic volume/intensity into models such as land use regression (LUR) models has improved exposure estimation. To better understand the relationship between vehicle emissions and near-road air pollution, we evaluated three traffic density-based indices: Major-Road Density (MRD), All-Traffic Density (ATD) and Heavy-Traffic Density (HTD) which represent the proportions of major roads, major road with annual average daily traffic (AADT), and major road with commercial annual average daily traffic (CAADT) in a buffered area, respectively. We evaluated the potential of these indices as vehicle emission-specific near-road air pollutant indicators by analyzing their correlation with black carbon (BC), a marker for mobile source air pollutants, using measurement data obtained from the Near-road Exposures and Effects of Urban Air Pollutants Study (NEXUS). The average BC concentrations during a day showed variations consistent with changes in traffic volume which were classified into high, medium, and low for the morning rush hours, the evening rush hours, and the rest of the day, respectively. The average correlation coefficients between BC concentrations and MRD, ATD, and HTD, were 0.26, 0.18, and 0.48, respectively, as compared with −0.31 and 0.25 for two commonly used traffic indicators: nearest distance to a major road and total length of the major road. HTD, which includes only heavy-duty diesel vehicles in its traffic count, gives statistically significant correlation coefficients for all near-road distances (50, 100, 150, 200, 250, and 300 m) that were analyzed. Generalized linear model (GLM) analyses show that season, traffic volume, HTD, and distance from major roads are highly related to BC measurements. Our analyses indicate that traffic density parameters may be more specific indicators of near-road BC concentrations for health risk studies. HTD is the best index for reflecting near-road BC concentrations which are influenced mainly by the emissions of heavy-duty diesel engines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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