Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(6), 6232-6248; doi:10.3390/ijerph120606232 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We aimed to examine the associations between blood lead and mercury levels and individual and community level socioeconomic positions (SEPs) in school-aged children. A longitudinal cohort study was performed in 33 elementary schools in 10 cities in Korea. Among a total of 6094 children included at baseline, the final study population, 2281 children followed-up biennially, were analyzed. The geometric mean (GM) levels of blood lead were 1.73 μg/dL (range 0.02–9.26) and 1.56 μg/dL (range 0.02–6.83) for male and female children, respectively. The blood lead levels were significantly higher in males, children living in rural areas, and those with lower individual SEP. The GM levels of blood mercury were 2.07 μg/L (range 0.09–12.67) and 2.06 μg/L (range 0.03–11.74) for males and females, respectively. Increased blood mercury levels were significantly associated with urban areas, higher individual SEP, and more deprived communities. The risk of high blood lead level was significantly higher for the lower individual SEP (odds ratio (OR) 2.18, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.36–3.50 in the lowest educational attainment of the father), with a significant dose-response relationship observed after adjusting for the community SEP. The association between high blood lead levels and lower individual SEP was much stronger in the more deprived communities (OR 2.88, 95% CI 1.27–6.53) than in the less deprived communities (OR 1.40, 95% CI 0.76–2.59), and showed a significant decreasing trend during the follow-up only in the less deprived communities. The risk of high blood mercury levels was higher in higher individual SEP (OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.40–1.03 in the lowest educational attainment of the father), with a significant dose-response relationship noted. Significant decreasing trends were observed during the follow-up both in the less and more deprived communities. From a public health point-of-view, community level intervention with different approaches for different metals is warranted to protect children from environmental exposure.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(6), 6218-6231; doi:10.3390/ijerph120606218 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Petroleum coke, or petcoke, is a granular coal-like industrial by-product that is separated during the refinement of heavy crude oil. Recently, the processing of material from Canadian oil sands in U.S. refineries has led to the appearance of large petcoke piles adjacent to urban communities in Detroit and Chicago. The purpose of this literature review is to assess what is known about the effects of petcoke exposure on human health. Toxicological studies in animals indicate that dermal or inhalation petcoke exposure does not lead to a significant risk for cancer development or reproductive and developmental effects. However, pulmonary inflammation was observed in long-term inhalation exposure studies. Epidemiological studies in coke oven workers have shown increased risk for cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, but these studies are confounded by multiple industrial exposures, most notably to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are generated during petcoke production. The main threat to urban populations in the vicinity of petcoke piles is most likely fugitive dust emissions in the form of fine particulate matter. More research is required to determine whether petcoke fine particulate matter causes or exacerbates disease, either alone or in conjunction with other environmental contaminants.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(6), 6197-6217; doi:10.3390/ijerph120606197 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) in schools contributes to better health and educational outcomes among school-aged children. In 2012, UNICEF Nicaragua and partners conducted a cross-sectional survey of WaSH in 526 schools in 12 low socio-economic status municipalities in Nicaragua. The survey gathered information on: school characteristics; teacher and community participation; water and sanitation infrastructure; and hygiene education and habits. Survey results were analyzed for associations between variables. WaSH coverage was significantly higher in urban than rural areas. Presence of drinking water infrastructure (43%) was lower than sanitation infrastructure (64%). Eighty-one percent of schools had no hand washing stations and 74% of schools lacked soap. Sanitation facilities were not in use at 28% of schools with sanitation infrastructure and 26% of schools with water infrastructure had non-functional systems. Only 8% of schools had budgets to purchase toilet-cleaning supplies and 75% obtained supplies from students’ families. This study generates transferable WaSH sector learnings and new insights from monitoring data. Results can be used by donors, service providers, and policy makers to better target resources in Nicaraguan schools.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(6), 6179-6196; doi:10.3390/ijerph120606179 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The association of body image dissatisfaction and obesity with physical activity is likely to differ according to gender. To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted a cross-sectional study among the ELSA-Brasil cohort members aged 34–65 years (n = 13,286). The body image dissatisfaction was present even among normal weight individuals of both sexes and was associated with lesser chances of practicing moderate physical activity in women and intense physical activity in men. Men and women with central obesity were less prone to practice physical activity of high or moderate intensity. Overweight and obese men were more likely to report vigorous physical activity while obese women were less likely to report this level of physical activity. Body images as well as nutritional status are related to physical activity in both sexes, but the association with physical activity differs by gender.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(6), 6162-6178; doi:10.3390/ijerph120606162 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Large amounts of organic pollutants emitted from industries have accumulated and caused serious human health risks, especially in urban areas with rapid industrialization. This paper focused on the carcinogen benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) from industrial effluent and gaseous emissions, and established a multi-pathway exposure model based on a Level IV multimedia fugacity model to analyze the human health risks in a city that has undergone rapid industrialization. In this study, GIS tools combined with land-use data was introduced to analyze smaller spatial scales so as to enhance the spatial resolution of the results. An uncertainty analysis using a Monte Carlo simulation was also conducted to illustrate the rationale of the probabilistic assessment mode rather than deterministic assessment. Finally, the results of the case study in Nanjing, China indicated the annual average human cancer risk induced by local industrial emissions during 2002–2008 (lowest at 1.99´10–6 in 2008 and highest at 3.34´10–6 in 2004), which was lower than the USEPA prescriptive level (1´10–6–1´10–4) but cannot be neglected in the long term. The study results could not only instruct the BaP health risk management but also help future health risk prediction and control.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(6), 6148-6161; doi:10.3390/ijerph120606148 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Staphylococcus aureus is one the top five pathogens causing domestically acquired foodborne illness in the U.S. Only a few studies are available related to the prevalence of S. aureus and MRSA in the U.S. retail poultry industry. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of S. aureus (MSSA and MRSA) in retail chicken and turkey meats sold in Tulsa, Oklahoma and to characterize the recovered strains for their antimicrobial resistance and possession of toxin genes. A total of 167 (114 chicken and 53 turkey) retail poultry samples were used in this study. The chicken samples included 61 organic samples while the rest of the poultry samples were conventional. The overall prevalence of S. aureus was 57/106 (53.8%) in the conventional poultry samples and 25/61 (41%) in the organic ones. Prevalencein the turkey samples (64.2%)was higher than in the chicken ones (42.1%). Prevalence of S. aureus did not vary much between conventional (43.4%) and organic chicken samples (41%). Two chicken samples 2/114 (1.8%) were positive for MRSA. PFGE identified the two MRSA isolates as belonging to PFGE type USA300 (from conventional chicken) and USA 500 (from organic chicken) which are community acquired CA-MRSA suggesting a human based source of contamination. MLST and spa typing also supported this conclusion. A total of 168 Staphylococcus aureus isolates (101 chicken isolates and 67 turkey isolates) were screened for their antimicrobial susceptibility against 16 antimicrobials and their possession of 18 different toxin genes. Multidrug resistance was higher in the turkey isolates compared to the chicken ones and the percentage of resistance to most of the antimicrobials tested was also higher among the turkey isolates. The hemolysin hla and hld genes, enterotoxins seg and sei, andleucocidins lukE-lukD were more prevalent in the chicken isolates. The PVL gene lukS-lukF was detected only in chicken isolates including the MRSA ones. In conclusion, S. aureus is highly prevalent in poultry retail meats sold in Oklahoma with a very low presence of human-originated MRSA. Multidrug resistance is not only prevalent in the MRSA isolates, but also in many MSSA poultry strains, particularly turkey.