Special Issue "Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Luigi Vimercati
Website
Guest Editor
1 Chief Division of Occupational Medicine, University Hospital Policlinico of Bari, 70124 Bari, Italy
2 Head Section of Occupational Medicine "B.Ramazzini", Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 70124 Bari, Italy
Interests: occupational medicine; toxicology; environmental science; biomarkers, public health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The effects on human health due to air pollution exposure are an important global health issue: the increased occurrence of mortality and morbidity, as well as shortened life expectancy, have been related to exposure to ambient air pollution. Particulate matter also increases the risk of respiratory, allergic and oncological diseases in both exposed workers and the general population. Pathogenic pathways are likely related to some of the compounds contained in particulate matter, e.g., PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), gases (nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, ozone), heavy metals (chromium, arsenic, lead, manganese, mercury), asbestos and microorganisms. These pollutants are able to penetrate the lower airways due to their small sizes, where they can cause damage to the bronchial epithelium, inducing inflammation or neoplastic degeneration, or can be carried into the pulmonary blood and spread throughout the body.

This Special Issue aims to showcase the variety and relevance of recent developments in the field of exposure to air pollutants and health effects.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following: environmental and occupational exposure to air pollutants and effects on human health (e.g. allergic, pulmonary and oncological diseases); environmental monitoring and unknown contaminant source characterization; application of regional-scale management methodologies to polluted sites; improving the remediation of pollution using new technologies and case studies related to environmental management; the importance and role of biomarkers of exposure, their effects and susceptibility; biomonitoring of occupational exposure; the use of biomarkers to assess environmental and occupational exposure; asbestos-related diseases, methodological and ethical issues. All submitted manuscripts will go through a rigorous peer review process.

Dr. Luigi Vimercati
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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 pollution
  • Public health
  • Environmental exposure
  • Occupational exposure
  • Allergic diseases
  • Pulmonary diseases
  • Oncological diseases
  • Asbestos
  • Heavy metals
  • PAHs

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Illness, Self-Rated Health and Access to Medical Care among Waste Pickers in Landfill Sites in Johannesburg, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2252; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072252 (registering DOI) - 27 Mar 2020
Abstract
Waste pickers are exposed to various environmental health hazards, and self-rated health (SRH) could influence their medical care access. This study investigated the association between illness, clinic visits and SRH, and assessed if SRH can increase clinic visits. A cross-sectional study was conducted. [...] Read more.
Waste pickers are exposed to various environmental health hazards, and self-rated health (SRH) could influence their medical care access. This study investigated the association between illness, clinic visits and SRH, and assessed if SRH can increase clinic visits. A cross-sectional study was conducted. SRH was defined as “very good”, “good”, “fair”, and “poor”. The illnesses were mental health, infectious, and chronic diseases. Medical care access included clinic visits in the previous 12 months. An ordinal logistic regression model was fitted to assess the association. There were 361 participants, 265 (73.41%) were males. Median age was 31 years, (interquartile range (IQR): 27–39). SRH: poor (29.89%), fair (15.92%), good (43.30%) very good (10.89%). Ever smoked (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 1.72; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11–2.66), mental health (AOR: 1.87; 95% CI: 1.22–2.84), chronic (AOR: 2.34; 95% CI:1.47–3.68) and infectious (AOR: 2.07; 95% CI: 1.77–3.63) diseases were significantly associated with increased odds of reporting poor health. Clinic visit was not associated with SRH. From 99 (31%) individuals who rated their health as poor and ill, 40% visited a clinic (p = 0.0606). Acute and chronic illnesses were associated with poor SRH but this did not increase clinic visits. Provision of mobile clinic services at the landfill sites could increase access to medical care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
Environmental Monitoring of PAHs Exposure, Biomarkers and Vital Status in Coke Oven Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072199 (registering DOI) - 25 Mar 2020
Abstract
A follow-up study of a cohort of workers from a coke plant compared with a control group from the same industrial area was conducted in 2019. The recruitment and environmental and biomarker measurements were performed during 1993/1994. The environmental concentrations of polycyclic aromatic [...] Read more.
A follow-up study of a cohort of workers from a coke plant compared with a control group from the same industrial area was conducted in 2019. The recruitment and environmental and biomarker measurements were performed during 1993/1994. The environmental concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), B(a)P, pyrene and nitro-PAH were measured. Personal data were collected via an individual semi-structured questionnaire by a trained physician. All biomarkers were measured after a specific blood drawing for every test. Significant risks (ORs) were observed for nitro-PAH (0.12 µg/m3) [OR = 7.96 (1.01–62.82)], urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHpy) (≥0.99 µmoles/moles of creatinine) [OR = 11.71 (1.47–92.90)], PAH DNA adducts (P32) (≥2.69 adducts/108 nucleotides) [OR = 5.46 (1.17–25.58)], total nitro-PAH hemoglobin adducts (≥161.68 fg/µg of Hb) [OR = 5.92 (1.26–27.86)], sister chromatid exchange (SCE) with TCR (≥377.84 SCE/cell chromosomes) [OR = 13.06 (3.95–93.10)], sister chromatid exchange with T (≥394.72 total SCE) [OR = 13.06 (3.95–93.10)], and sister chromatid exchange with X (≥8.19 mean SCE) [OR = 13.06 (3.95–93.10)]. Significant risk of death for all causes and chromosomal aberrations (48 h) (OR = 7.19 [1.19–43.44]) or micronuclei in culture at 48 h (OR = 3.86 [1.04–14.38]) were also found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Propane-1,3-sultone in Workplace Air for Occupational Exposure Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041414 - 21 Feb 2020
Abstract
Propane-1,3-sultone (PS) is an alkylating substance used in the production of polymers, fungicides, insecticides, dyes, and detergents. It is absorbed into the human body by inhalation, digestion, and through the skin; it is also a possible carcinogen. Occupational exposure to this substance may [...] Read more.
Propane-1,3-sultone (PS) is an alkylating substance used in the production of polymers, fungicides, insecticides, dyes, and detergents. It is absorbed into the human body by inhalation, digestion, and through the skin; it is also a possible carcinogen. Occupational exposure to this substance may occur on industrial or laboratory contact. In Poland, the maximum allowable concentration (MAC) for PS in workplace air is 7 µg/m3. The paper presents a method for determination of PS in workplace air using a gas chromatograph coupled with a mass spectrometer (GC-MS). Air containing PS is passed through a glass tube containing a glass fiber filter and two layers of silica gel. The substance is washed with acetonitrile and the solution obtained analysed using GC-MS. The measuring range for an air sample of 360 L is 0.7 ÷ 14 µg/m3. The limit of detection (LOD) is 13 ng/m3, limit of quantification (LOQ) is 40 ng/m3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Environmental Particulate Matter Levels during 2017 Large Forest Fires and Megafires in the Center Region of Portugal: A Public Health Concern?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17031032 - 06 Feb 2020
Abstract
This work characterizes the dimension and the exceptionality of 2017 large- and mega-fires that occurred in the center region of Portugal through the assessment of their impact on the ambient levels of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), retrieved from local [...] Read more.
This work characterizes the dimension and the exceptionality of 2017 large- and mega-fires that occurred in the center region of Portugal through the assessment of their impact on the ambient levels of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), retrieved from local monitoring stations, and the associated public health risks. PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations were increased during the occurrence of large fires and megafires, with daily concentrations exceeding the European/national guidelines in 7–14 and 1–12 days of 2017 (up to 704 µg/m3 for PM10 and 46 µg/m3 for PM2.5), respectively. PM10 concentrations were correlated with total burned area (0.500 < r < 0.949; p > 0.05) and with monthly total burned area/distance2 (0.500 < r < 0.667; p > 0.05). The forest fires of 2017 took the life of 112 citizens. A total of 474 cases of hospital admissions due to cardiovascular diseases and 3524 cases of asthma incidence symptoms per 100,000 individuals at risk were assessed due to exposure to 2017 forest fires. Real-time and in situ PM methodologies should be combined with protection action plans to reduce public health risks. Portuguese rural stations should monitor other health-relevant pollutants (e.g., carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds) released from wildfires to allow performing more robust and comprehensive measurements that will allow a better assessment of the potential health risks for the exposed populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Exposure to Amosite-Containing Ceiling Boards in a Public School in Switzerland: A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5069; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245069 - 12 Dec 2019
Abstract
The measurement of an airborne concentration in Amosite fibers above 5035 F/m3 in a school prompted a retrospective quantitative health risk assessment. Dose estimates were built using air measurements, laboratory experiments, previous exposure data, and interviews. A dose response model was adapted [...] Read more.
The measurement of an airborne concentration in Amosite fibers above 5035 F/m3 in a school prompted a retrospective quantitative health risk assessment. Dose estimates were built using air measurements, laboratory experiments, previous exposure data, and interviews. A dose response model was adapted for amosite-only exposure and adjusted for the life expectancy and lung cancer incidence in the Swiss population. The average yearly concentrations found were 52–320 F/m3. The high concentration previously observed was not representative of the average exposure in the building. Overall, the risk estimates for the different populations of the school were low and in the range of 2 × 10−6 to 3 × 10−5 for mesothelioma and 4 × 10−7 to 8 × 10−6 for lung cancer. The results evidenced however that children have to be considered at higher risk when exposed to asbestos, and that the current reference method and target values are of limited use for amphibole-only exposures. This study confirmed that quantitative health risk assessments and participatory approaches are powerful tools to support public decisions and build constructive communication between exposed people, experts, and policy-makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Triglycidyl Isocyanurate in Workplace Air
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4455; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224455 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC) is a white solid in powder or granular form. TGIC does not occur naturally in the environment. It is intentionally manufactured and used as a crosslinking agent or hardener to produce polyester powder coatings. TGIC may cause genetic defects. This [...] Read more.
Triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC) is a white solid in powder or granular form. TGIC does not occur naturally in the environment. It is intentionally manufactured and used as a crosslinking agent or hardener to produce polyester powder coatings. TGIC may cause genetic defects. This article presents the method of TGIC determination in workplace air using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with a diode-array detector (DAD). The method is based on the collection of TGIC present in the air on a polypropylene filter, extraction with acetonitrile, and chromatographic analysis of the solution obtained in this way. The determination was carried out in the reverse-phase system (mobile phase: acetonitrile: water) using an Ultra C18 column. The measurement range is 2 to 40 µg/m3 for a 720 liters air sample. Limit of detection (LOD) is 23 ng/m3 and limit of quantification (LOQ): 70 ng/m3. The method can be used for assessing occupational exposure to TGIC and associated risk to workers’ health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Occupational Safety and Hygiene Perception among Afro-Caribbean Hair Salon Operators in Manchester, United Kingdom
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3284; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183284 - 06 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Because of exposure to a number of potential health hazards within the work environment, hairstylists experience occupational diseases that include occupational asthma, skin conditions and musculoskeletal diseases. The paucity of studies assessing occupational safety and hygiene management among Afro-Caribbean hair salon operators in [...] Read more.
Because of exposure to a number of potential health hazards within the work environment, hairstylists experience occupational diseases that include occupational asthma, skin conditions and musculoskeletal diseases. The paucity of studies assessing occupational safety and hygiene management among Afro-Caribbean hair salon operators in the UK promoted the study. QualtricsTM was used to assess the participants’ perception of exposure to hair products and their personal safety and hygiene knowledge, attitudes, awareness, and risk perceptions at work. In five salons, indoor air quality was monitored over one working week for selected environmental pollutants: temperature, humidity, CO, CO2 and Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) using a GrayWolf Direct Sense Indoor Air Quality-IAQ (IQ-610). The use of unflued gas heating to raise the indoor temperature was common among the salons’ operators which explains the high carbon monoxide readings recorded. Itchy eyes and nose (44.4%) shoulder, neck and back pain (39.2%) were frequently reported. Age-stratified analysis of reported occupational ailments showed participants within an age bracket of 31–35 reported allergies (24%) and itchy eyes and nose (19.1%) as the most common of occupational ailments. Respiratory, skin and musculoskeletal symptoms ranked as major occupational ill-health experiences among the study population. The study outcome demonstrated that the type of activity and the hair products used play an important role in the level of pollutants in the working environment. The substitution of the more harmful hair products with safer alternatives is needed, as is the encouragement of health surveillance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health)
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Open AccessReview
Genomics of Particulate Matter Exposure Associated Cardiopulmonary Disease: A Narrative Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4335; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224335 - 07 Nov 2019
Abstract
Particulate matter (PM) exposure is associated with the development of cardiopulmonary disease. Our group has studied the adverse health effects of World Trade Center particulate matter (WTC-PM) exposure on firefighters. To fully understand the complex interplay between exposure, organism, and resultant disease phenotype, [...] Read more.
Particulate matter (PM) exposure is associated with the development of cardiopulmonary disease. Our group has studied the adverse health effects of World Trade Center particulate matter (WTC-PM) exposure on firefighters. To fully understand the complex interplay between exposure, organism, and resultant disease phenotype, it is vital to analyze the underlying role of genomics in mediating this relationship. A PubMed search was performed focused on environmental exposure, genomics, and cardiopulmonary disease. We included original research published within 10 years, on epigenetic modifications and specific genetic or allelic variants. The initial search resulted in 95 studies. We excluded manuscripts that focused on work-related chemicals, heavy metals and tobacco smoke as primary sources of exposure, as well as reviews, prenatal research, and secondary research studies. Seven full-text articles met pre-determined inclusion criteria, and were reviewed. The effects of air pollution were evaluated in terms of methylation (n = 3), oxidative stress (n = 2), and genetic variants (n = 2). There is evidence to suggest that genomics plays a meditating role in the formation of adverse cardiopulmonary symptoms and diseases that surface after exposure events. Genomic modifications and variations affect the association between environmental exposure and cardiopulmonary disease, but additional research is needed to further define this relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution: Occupational Exposure and Public Health)
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