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Environmental Health and Epidemiology

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 13542

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
Interests: environmental epidemiology; public health; environmental health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As scientific evidence has demonstrate in last decades, environmental pollution is able to dramatically affect human, animal and planetary health. Particularly, air Pollution (both outdoor and indoor) has been linked to a huge series of conditions and diseases affecting not only lungs but also cardiovascular system (i.e. strokes and acute myocardial infarction) and central nervous system including (Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, cognitive decline and neurodevelopmental disorders), as well as endocrine and metabolic asset. Also water and soil pollution originating from industrial contamination or urban/toxic waste disposal represent an emerging topic in environmental health. Last but not least, in a the view of epigenetic and gender perspective, the increasing cancer incidence recognize several links with pollutants present in what we breath, eat, drink or use in our daily lives and further scientific evaluations will tell us more about electromagnetic fields.

This special issue on Environmental Health and Epidemiology is aimed at stimulating neurologist and scientists working in the field of environment and health or epidemiology and preventive medicine at contributing to generate evidence on these topics, with particular focus on air pollution (in outdoor and indoor environments), water/soil and food contamination by pesticides or other chemicals, as well as electromagnetic fields (including those produced by mobile phones).  Articles addressing the effect of environmental exposures to pollutants on specific human organs or systems (and their biological mechanisms), as well as epidemiological survey are solicited: systematic reviews, meta-analyses, original research articles, short articles or commentaries are welcome and expected to add relevant information to the current knowledge. The special issue is also open to evidence produced by veterinary medicine in response to exposure to pollutants.

Dr. Prisco Piscitelli
Dr. Alessandro Miani
Prof. Dr. Giovanni S. Leonardi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • air
  • water
  • soil pollution
  • pollutants
  • environment
  • cancer
  • neurodevelopmental disorders
  • electromagnetic fields
  • veterinary medicine

Published Papers (6 papers)

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13 pages, 1875 KiB  
Article
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Air Pollutants in the Province of Ferrara, Northern Italy: An Ecological Study
by Annibale Antonioni, Vittorio Govoni, Lisa Brancaleoni, Alessandro Donà, Enrico Granieri, Mauro Bergamini, Renato Gerdol and Maura Pugliatti
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(8), 5591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20085591 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1516
Abstract
The etiopathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is still largely unknown, but likely depends on gene–environment interactions. Among the putative sources of environmental exposure are air pollutants and especially heavy metals. We aimed to investigate the relationship between ALS density and the concentration [...] Read more.
The etiopathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is still largely unknown, but likely depends on gene–environment interactions. Among the putative sources of environmental exposure are air pollutants and especially heavy metals. We aimed to investigate the relationship between ALS density and the concentration of air pollution heavy metals in Ferrara, northern Italy. An ecological study was designed to correlate the map of ALS distribution and that of air pollutants. All ALS cases diagnosed between 2000 and 2017 (Ferrara University Hospital administrative data) were plotted by residency in 100 sub-areas, and grouped in 4 sectors: urban, rural, northwestern and along the motorway. The concentrations of silver, aluminium, cadmium, chrome, copper, iron, manganese, lead, and selenium in moss and lichens were measured and monitored in 2006 and 2011. Based on 62 ALS patients, a strong and direct correlation of ALS density was observed only with copper concentrations in all sectors and in both sexes (Pearson coefficient (ρ) = 0.758; p = 0.000002). The correlation was higher in the urban sector (ρ = 0.767; p = 0.000128), in women for the overall population (ρ = 0.782, p = 0.000028) and in the urban (ρ = 0.872, p = 0.000047) population, and for the older cohort of diagnosed patients (2000–2009) the assessment correlated with the first assessment of air pollutants in 2006 (ρ = 0.724, p = 0.008). Our data is, in part, consistent with a hypothesis linking copper pollution to ALS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health and Epidemiology)
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18 pages, 1541 KiB  
Article
The Use of Pb Isotope Ratios to Determine Environmental Sources of High Blood Pb Concentrations in Children: A Feasibility Study in Georgia
by Adam Laycock, Simon Chenery, Elizabeth Marchant, Helen Crabbe, Ayoub Saei, Ekaterine Ruadze, Michael Watts, Giovanni S. Leonardi and Tim Marczylo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(22), 15007; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192215007 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1399
Abstract
The incidence of lead (Pb) poisoning in children in Georgia has been identified as a major health concern, with a recent national survey identifying that 41% of children aged 2–7 years had blood lead concentrations (BLCs) greater than the blood lead reference value [...] Read more.
The incidence of lead (Pb) poisoning in children in Georgia has been identified as a major health concern, with a recent national survey identifying that 41% of children aged 2–7 years had blood lead concentrations (BLCs) greater than the blood lead reference value (BLRV) of ≥5 µg dL−1. This study collected samples of blood, spices, paint, soil, dust, flour, tea, toys, milk, and water from 36 households in Georgia where a child had previously been identified as having a BLC > BLRV. The Pb concentrations of these samples were determined and compared to Georgian reference values. Samples from 3 households were analysed for their Pb isotope composition. The Pb isotope composition of the environmental and blood samples were compared to identify the most likely source(s) of Pb exposure. This approach identified that some spice and dust samples were the likely sources of Pb in the blood in these cases. Importantly, some soil, paint, and dust sources with high Pb concentrations could be discounted as contributing to blood Pb based on their distinct isotope composition. The data presented demonstrate the significant contribution that Pb surveillance and Pb isotope ratio analyses can make to managing Pb exposure in regions where high BLCs are identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health and Epidemiology)
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22 pages, 2180 KiB  
Article
Risk Factors for Lung Cancer in the Province of Lecce: Results from the PROTOS Case–Control Study in Salento (Southern Italy)
by Fabrizio Minichilli, Francesca Gorini, Giovanni De Filippis, Elisa Bustaffa, Anna Maria Raho, Anna Melcarne, Fabrizio Quarta, Giuseppe Maggiore, Adele Idolo, Francesca Serio, Tiziana Grassi, Francesco Bagordo, Idelberto Francesco Castorini, Giovanni Imbriani, Fabrizio Bianchi and Prisco Piscitelli
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8775; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148775 - 19 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1550
Abstract
In the province of Lecce (southern Italy), a higher incidence of lung cancer (LC) among men compared to regional and national data was reported. In a sub-area in the center of the province (cluster area), the incidence and mortality for LC was even [...] Read more.
In the province of Lecce (southern Italy), a higher incidence of lung cancer (LC) among men compared to regional and national data was reported. In a sub-area in the center of the province (cluster area), the incidence and mortality for LC was even higher. PROTOS is a case–control study aimed at investigating possible risk factors for LC in the province area. A total of 442 patients with LC and 1326 controls matched by sex and age living in the province of Lecce for at least 10 years were enrolled and georeferenced; they filled in a questionnaire with their personal information and exposures. For each risk factor, an Odds Ratio adjusted for all the other variables was calculated. The risk of LC increased with excessive use of alcohol in women, for those subjects with a family cancer history, for each increase in pack/year of cigarettes, for men more exposed considering the industrial district in the cluster area, and for those using pesticides in agriculture without wearing personal protective equipment. The higher incidence of adenocarcinoma in both sexes suggests that, in addition to cigarette smoking, concurrent exposures to other environmental, occupational, and life-style factors may play a role in increased cancer risk and should be more deeply explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health and Epidemiology)
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11 pages, 943 KiB  
Article
Development and Validation of the Mexican Public Open Spaces Tool (MexPOS)
by Catalina Medina, Annel Hernández, Maria E. Hermosillo-Gallardo, Célida I. Gómez Gámez, Eugen Resendiz, Maricruz Morales, Claudia Nieto, Mildred Moreno and Simón Barquera
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 8198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19138198 - 05 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2376
Abstract
Public open spaces (POS) are “publicly owned spaces such as parks, green areas, squares, marketplaces, streets and highways which are of public access”. Some attributes could increase or decrease participants’ attendance. Thus, reliable and valid audit tools are needed in order to measure [...] Read more.
Public open spaces (POS) are “publicly owned spaces such as parks, green areas, squares, marketplaces, streets and highways which are of public access”. Some attributes could increase or decrease participants’ attendance. Thus, reliable and valid audit tools are needed in order to measure these attributes. This study aimed to develop and validate a tool to assess POS features within the Mexico City context. The Mexican Public Open Spaces Tool (MexPOS) was developed based on (1) two validated POS audit tools, (2) several visits to the POS, (3) pilot testing, and (4) multiple work sessions with a group of specialists. The original tool included 181 items divided into nine sections. Trained personnel visited and evaluated 944 POS in Mexico City. An exploratory factor analysis was performed to examine the construct validity of the items and the relationship between the subscales. The final model resulted in seven factors: (1) Food and Wellness Environment (α = 0.15), (2) Maintenance (α = 0.81), (3) Amenities (α = 0.72), (4) Legibility (α = 0.59), (5) Security (α = 0.48), (6) Perceived Environment (α = 0.65), and (7) Urban Environment (α = 0.58). Our study highlights the relevance of using a validated tool to measure POS characteristics related to participants’ attendance to help assess infrastructure improvements and identify priority areas for changing socio-urban environments for physical activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health and Epidemiology)
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18 pages, 2766 KiB  
Article
Citizen Science Mosquito Surveillance by Ad Hoc Observation Using the iNaturalist Platform
by Larissa Braz Sousa, Stephen Fricker, Cameron E. Webb, Katherine L. Baldock and Craig R. Williams
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6337; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106337 - 23 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3346
Abstract
Citizen science mosquito surveillance has been growing in recent years due to both increasing concern about mosquito-borne disease and the increasing popularity of citizen science projects globally. Health authorities are recognising the potential importance of citizen science to expanding or enhancing traditional surveillance [...] Read more.
Citizen science mosquito surveillance has been growing in recent years due to both increasing concern about mosquito-borne disease and the increasing popularity of citizen science projects globally. Health authorities are recognising the potential importance of citizen science to expanding or enhancing traditional surveillance programs. Different programs have shown success in engaging communities to monitor species of medical importance through low-cost methods. The Mozzie Monitors project was established on iNaturalist—an open citizen science platform that allows participants to upload photos (i.e., observers) and assist identification (i.e., identifiers). This article describes the likelihood of citizen scientists submitting photos of mosquitoes, assesses user submission behaviour, and evaluates public health utility from these citizen science-derived data. From October 2018 to July 2021, the Mozzie Monitors project on iNaturalist received 2118 observations of 57 different species of mosquitoes across Australia. The number of observers in the system increased over time with more than 500 observers and 180 identifiers being active in the project since its establishment. Data showed species bias with large-bodied and colourful mosquitoes being over-represented. Analyses also indicate regional differentiation of mosquito fauna per state, seasonality of activity, and ecological information about mosquitoes. The iNaturalist citizen science platform also allows connectedness, facilitated communication and collaboration between overall users and expert entomologists, of value to medical entomology and mosquito management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health and Epidemiology)
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12 pages, 1835 KiB  
Protocol
Operative Protocol for Testing the Efficacy of Nasal Filters in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2
by Sabrina Semeraro, Anastasia Serena Gaetano, Luisa Zupin, Carlo Poloni, Elvio Merlach, Enrico Greco, Sabina Licen, Francesco Fontana, Silvana Leo, Alessandro Miani, Francesco Broccolo and Pierluigi Barbieri
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(21), 13790; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192113790 - 23 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2112
Abstract
Background: Standardized methods for testing Viral Filtration Efficiency (VFE) of tissues and devices are lacking and few studies are available on aerosolizing, sampling and assessing infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in controlled laboratory settings. NanoAg-coated endonasal filters appear a promising aid for lowering viable virus [...] Read more.
Background: Standardized methods for testing Viral Filtration Efficiency (VFE) of tissues and devices are lacking and few studies are available on aerosolizing, sampling and assessing infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in controlled laboratory settings. NanoAg-coated endonasal filters appear a promising aid for lowering viable virus inhalation in both adult and younger populations (e.g., adolescents). Objective: to provide an adequate method for testing SARS-CoV-2 bioaerosol VFE of bio-gel Ag nanoparticles endonasal filters, by a model system, assessing residual infectivity as cytopathic effect and viral proliferation on in vitro cell cultures. Methods: A SARS-CoV-2 aerosol transmission chamber fed by a BLAM aerosol generator produces challenges (from very high viral loads (105 PFU/mL) to lower ones) for endonasal filters positioned in a Y shape sampling port connected to a Biosampler. An aerosol generator, chamber and sampler are contained in a class II cabinet in a BSL3 facility. Residual infectivity is assessed from aliquots of liquid collecting bioaerosol, sampled without and with endonasal filters. Cytopathic effect as plaque formation and viral proliferation assessed by qRT-PCR on Vero E6 cells are determined up to 7 days post inoculum. Results: Each experimental setting is replicated three times and basic statistics are calculated. Efficiency of aerosolization is determined as difference between viral load in the nebulizer and in the Biosampler at the first day of experiment. Efficiency of virus filtration is calculated as RNA viral load ratio in collected bioaerosol with and without endonasal filters at the day of the experiment. Presence of infectious virus is assessed by plaque forming unit assay and RNA viral load variations. Conclusions: A procedure and apparatus for assessing SARS-CoV-2 VFE for endonasal filters is proposed. The apparatus can be implemented for more sophisticated studies on contaminated aerosols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health and Epidemiology)
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