Special Issue "Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Sayed M. Hassan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Senior Research Scientist, Center for Applied Isotope Studies, and Director of the Laboratory for Environmental Analysis, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Tel. +1 (706) 227-7993; Fax: +1 (706) 542-6106
Interests: hyphenation of chromatography and mass spectrometry for trace analysis of organic pollutants and metal speciation; abiotic remediation of halogenated organic contaminants (VOC's, chlorinated solvents, pesticides, PCB's and others) in the environment using mixtures of zero-valent metals and metal sulfides; enhancing bioremediation of contaminated soils using metabolic substrates; artificial wetlands in bio-remediation studies
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Human risk, attributed to environmental pollution, has been a global concern for the last half a century. It has been estimated that a quarter of human diseases are due to chronic exposure to pollution, and that proper waste management is necessary to guard against human health impacts.

The main source of toxic metal contamination, including those of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc are scrap metal smelting and refining industries, as well as burning of waste containing those metals. Human poisoning occurs through inhalation of smoke or ingestion of contaminated soils, water, and/or vegetation. Needless to say that metals are stable and persistent contaminants and, unless excavated, can last for many years.

Non-biodegradable organic contaminants are persistent in the environment and can accumulate in food chains, such as fish and livestock. These chemicals include chlorinated pesticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) all of them are banned under international environmental agreements.

For this Special Issue on “Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk”, I am eager to entertain articles that enhance the reader’s understanding of health impacts of environmental pollution from different aspects. These include computer modeling, case studies for the relation between contaminated sites and disease. Methods for analyses of pollutants in environmental or biological samples as well as reports on studies of food contamination are also welcome.

Dr. Sayed M. Hassan
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Environmental contamination
  • Soil pollution
  • Human risk assessment
  • Environmental analysis

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Short-Term Associations between Air Pollution Concentrations and Respiratory Health—Comparing Primary Health Care Visits, Hospital Admissions, and Emergency Department Visits in a Multi-Municipality Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060587 - 31 May 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
Acute effects of air pollution on respiratory health have traditionally been investigated with data on inpatient admissions, emergency room visits, and mortality. In this study, we aim to describe the total acute effects of air pollution on health care use for respiratory symptoms [...] Read more.
Acute effects of air pollution on respiratory health have traditionally been investigated with data on inpatient admissions, emergency room visits, and mortality. In this study, we aim to describe the total acute effects of air pollution on health care use for respiratory symptoms (ICD10-J00-J99). This will be done by investigating primary health care (PHC) visits, inpatient admissions, and emergency room visits together in five municipalities in southern Sweden, using a case-crossover design. Between 2005 and 2010, there were 81,019 visits to primary health care, 38,217 emergency room visits, and 25,271 inpatient admissions for respiratory symptoms in the study area. There was a 1.85% increase (95% CI: 0.52 to 3.20) in the number of primary health care visits associated with a 10 µg/m3 increase in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in Malmö, but not in the other municipalities. Air pollution levels were generally not associated with emergency room visits or inpatient admissions, with one exception (in Helsingborg there was a 2.52% increase in emergency room visits for respiratory symptoms associated with a 10 µg/m3 increase in PM10). In conclusion, the results give weak support for short-term effects of air pollution on health care use associated with respiratory health symptoms in the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
A qPCR-Based Tool to Diagnose the Presence of Harmful Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Drinking Water Sources
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050547 - 20 May 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Harmful cyanobacteria have been an important concern for drinking water quality for quite some time, as they may produce cyanotoxins and odorants. Microcystis and Cylindrospermopsis are two common harmful cyanobacterial genera detected in freshwater lakes and reservoirs, with microcystins (MCs) and cylindrospermopsin (CYN) [...] Read more.
Harmful cyanobacteria have been an important concern for drinking water quality for quite some time, as they may produce cyanotoxins and odorants. Microcystis and Cylindrospermopsis are two common harmful cyanobacterial genera detected in freshwater lakes and reservoirs, with microcystins (MCs) and cylindrospermopsin (CYN) as their important metabolites, respectively. In this study, two sets of duplex qPCR systems were developed, one for quantifying potentially-toxigenic Microcystis and Microcystis, and the other one for cylindrospermopsin-producing cyanobacteria and Cylindrospermopsis. The duplex qPCR systems were developed and validated in the laboratory by using 338 samples collected from 29 reservoirs in Taiwan and her offshore islands. Results show that cell numbers of Microcystis and Cylindorspermopsis enumerated with microscopy, and MCs and CYN concentrations measured with the enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay method, correlated well with their corresponding gene copies determined with the qPCR systems (range of coefficients of determination R2 = 0.392−0.740). The developed qPCR approach may serve as a useful tool for the water industry to diagnose the presence of harmful cyanobacteria and the potential presence of cyanotoxins in source waters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Risk of Hg Exposure Associated with Rice Consumption in a Typical City (Suzhou) in Eastern China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050525 - 12 May 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Recent studies have revealed that not only fish but also rice consumption may significantly contribute to human exposure to mercury (Hg) in Asian countries. It is therefore essential to assess dietary exposure to Hg in rice and its associated health risk. However, risk [...] Read more.
Recent studies have revealed that not only fish but also rice consumption may significantly contribute to human exposure to mercury (Hg) in Asian countries. It is therefore essential to assess dietary exposure to Hg in rice and its associated health risk. However, risk assessments of Hg in rice in non-contaminated areas are generally lacking in Asian countries. In the present study, Hg concentrations were measured in rice samples collected from markets and supermarkets in Suzhou, a typical city in Eastern China. In addition, the rice ingestion rates (IR) were assessed via a questionnaire-based survey of Suzhou residents. The data were then used to assess the risk of Hg exposure associated with rice consumption, by calculating the hazard quotient (HQ). Hg contents in rice samples were well below the national standard (20 μg/kg), ranging from 1.46 to 8.48 ng/g. They were also significantly (p > 0.05) independent of the area of production and place of purchase (markets vs. supermarkets in the different districts). Our results indicate a low risk of Hg exposure from rice in Suzhou (HQ: 0.005–0.05), despite the generally high personal IR (0.05–0.4 kg/day). The risk of Hg associated with rice consumption for Suzhou residents was not significantly affected by the age or sex of the consumer (p > 0.05). Overall, our results provide a study of human exposure to Hg in rice in Chinese cities not known to be contaminated with Hg. Future studies should examine Hg exposure in different areas in China and in potentially vulnerable major food types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Bacterial Pollution in River Waters and Gastrointestinal Diseases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050479 - 04 May 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Currently, one of Mexico’s most severe environmental problems is the high levels of pollution of many of its rivers. The present article focuses on the relationship between total coliform bacteria levels and the increase of human digestive tract diseases in the highly polluted [...] Read more.
Currently, one of Mexico’s most severe environmental problems is the high levels of pollution of many of its rivers. The present article focuses on the relationship between total coliform bacteria levels and the increase of human digestive tract diseases in the highly polluted Atoyac River in the central Mexican states of Puebla and Tlaxcala. Pollution has become a potential health hazard for people living in nearby river communities. Based on data collected from six of the most contaminated riverside municipalities, two environmental models were developed taking into consideration the health of the entire population, not simply that of its individual members. Such models estimate a health-disease function that confirm the link between Atoyac River pollution and the incidence of gastrointestinal diseases. The causal relation between pollution and gastrointestinal disease incentivizes the creation of epidemiological and public health programs aimed at reducing the environmental health impact of the pollution associated with the Atoyac River. The results presented here are the first of their kind of this river and will serve as basis for future research exploring other similarly contaminated riparian communities. As the causes of pollution are directly related to the economic development and population growth of the region, further research should be conducted for prevention of diseases, educational programs, water remediation and conservation programs that will have a positive impact on the quality of life of the population presently at risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Occupational Respiratory Diseases of Miners from Two Gold Mines in Ghana
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030337 - 22 Mar 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
Objective: This study investigated respiratory disorders among gold miners in Ghana, a sub-Saharan African country. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional exploratory design that employed quantitative methods was conducted among 1001 male workers from the Obuasi and Tarkwa mines from December 2015 [...] Read more.
Objective: This study investigated respiratory disorders among gold miners in Ghana, a sub-Saharan African country. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional exploratory design that employed quantitative methods was conducted among 1001 male workers from the Obuasi and Tarkwa mines from December 2015 to April 2016. A total of 1001 workers, consisting of 505 and 496 underground and surface miners, respectively, were involved. The cross-sectional descriptive design was used because data was collected from participants of different experiences by selected participants at a time. Results: The study found significant association between age, educational background, marital status and drinking alcohol on respiratory disorders. The prevalence of asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema were respectively 47.55%, 14.29%, 9.69% and 5.10%. Coughing was the most cited respiratory symptom (35.4%). Conclusions: The study documents important evidence on the level of respiratory disorders among miners in Ghana. Instituting appropriate health education interventions and improving the working environment is critical to improving the overall health and preventing respiratory disorders among miners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring of Selected Health Indicators in Children Living in a Copper Mine Development Area in Northwestern Zambia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030315 - 19 Mar 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
The epidemiology of malaria, anaemia and malnutrition in children is potentially altered in mining development areas. In a copper extraction project in northwestern Zambia, a health impact assessment (HIA) was commissioned to predict, manage and monitor health impacts. Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted: [...] Read more.
The epidemiology of malaria, anaemia and malnutrition in children is potentially altered in mining development areas. In a copper extraction project in northwestern Zambia, a health impact assessment (HIA) was commissioned to predict, manage and monitor health impacts. Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted: at baseline prior to project development (2011) and at four years into development (2015). Prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum, anaemia and stunting were assessed in under-five-year-old children, while hookworm infection was assessed in children aged 9–14 years in communities impacted and comparison communities not impacted by the project. P. falciparum prevalence was significantly higher in 2015 compared to 2011 in both impacted and comparison communities (odds ratio (OR) = 2.51 and OR = 6.97, respectively). Stunting was significantly lower in 2015 in impacted communities only (OR = 0.63). Anaemia was slightly lower in 2015 compared to baseline in both impacted and comparison communities. Resettlement due to the project and migration background (i.e., moving into the area within the past five years) were generally associated with better health outcomes in 2015. We conclude that repeated cross-sectional surveys to monitor health in communities impacted by projects should become an integral part of HIA to deepen the understanding of changing patterns of health and support implementation of setting-specific public health measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Google-Earth Based Visualizations for Environmental Flows and Pollutant Dispersion in Urban Areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030247 - 02 Mar 2017
Abstract
In the present study, we address the development and application of an efficient tool for conversion of results obtained by an integrated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and computational reaction dynamics (CRD) approach and their visualization in the Google Earth. We focus on results [...] Read more.
In the present study, we address the development and application of an efficient tool for conversion of results obtained by an integrated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and computational reaction dynamics (CRD) approach and their visualization in the Google Earth. We focus on results typical for environmental fluid mechanics studies at a city scale that include characteristic wind flow patterns and dispersion of reactive scalars. This is achieved by developing a code based on the Java language, which converts the typical four-dimensional structure (spatial and temporal dependency) of data results in the Keyhole Markup Language (KML) format. The visualization techniques most often used are revisited and implemented into the conversion tool. The potential of the tool is demonstrated in a case study of smog formation due to an intense traffic emission in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). It is shown that the Google Earth can provide a computationally efficient and user-friendly means of data representation. This feature can be very useful for visualization of pollution at street levels, which is of great importance for the city residents. Various meteorological and traffic emissions can be easily visualized and analyzed, providing a powerful, user-friendly tool for traffic regulations and urban climate adaptations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Gaseous Air Pollution and the Risk for Stroke Admissions: A Case-Crossover Study in Beijing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020189 - 14 Feb 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
Background: Though increasing evidence supports association between gaseous air pollution and stroke, it remains unclear whether the effects differ in season, sex and age. The aim of this study was to examine the associations of gaseous air pollution with stroke admissions in Beijing, [...] Read more.
Background: Though increasing evidence supports association between gaseous air pollution and stroke, it remains unclear whether the effects differ in season, sex and age. The aim of this study was to examine the associations of gaseous air pollution with stroke admissions in Beijing, 2013–2014 in different subgroups. Methods: Case-crossover design and conditional logistic regression were used to perform the analyses. We examined the exposure-response relationship between air pollution and stroke. Stratified analyses were performed in different seasons, sex, and age groups. Results: There were 147,624 stroke admissions during the study period. In the whole study period, percent changes of stroke admissions were 0.82% (95% CI: 0.52% to 1.13%) and 0.73% (95% CI: 0.44% to 1.03%) per 10 μg/m3 increase in the same day conentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The positive associations were higher in warm seasons and with patients >65 years (p < 0.05). Contrary effects of carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone on stroke admissions were observed in different seasons. Conclusions: NO2 and SO2 were positively associated with stroke admissions, with stronger effects in warm seasons and with patients >65 years. The associations of CO and ozone with stroke admissions differed across seasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Water Quality, Sanitation, and Hygiene Conditions in Schools and Households in Dolakha and Ramechhap Districts, Nepal: Results from A Cross-Sectional Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010089 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 13
Abstract
This study assessed drinking water quality, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions among 708 schoolchildren and 562 households in Dolakha and Ramechhap districts of Nepal. Cross-sectional surveys were carried out in March and June 2015. A Delagua water quality testing kit was employed on [...] Read more.
This study assessed drinking water quality, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions among 708 schoolchildren and 562 households in Dolakha and Ramechhap districts of Nepal. Cross-sectional surveys were carried out in March and June 2015. A Delagua water quality testing kit was employed on 634 water samples obtained from 16 purposively selected schools, 40 community water sources, and 562 households to examine water quality. A flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer was used to test lead and arsenic content of the same samples. Additionally, a questionnaire survey was conducted to obtain WASH predictors. A total of 75% of school drinking water source samples and 76.9% point-of-use samples (water bottles) at schools, 39.5% water source samples in the community, and 27.4% point-of-use samples at household levels were contaminated with thermo-tolerant coliforms. The values of water samples for pH (6.8–7.6), free and total residual chlorine (0.1–0.5 mg/L), mean lead concentration (0.01 mg/L), and mean arsenic concentration (0.05 mg/L) were within national drinking water quality standards. The presence of domestic animals roaming inside schoolchildren’s homes was significantly associated with drinking water contamination (adjusted odds ratio: 1.64; 95% confidence interval: 1.08–2.50; p = 0.02). Our findings call for an improvement of WASH conditions at the unit of school, households, and communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Distribution Characteristics and Risk Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Momoge Wetland, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010085 - 18 Jan 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
The Momoge Nature Reserve is the research object of this study. Through field sampling, laboratory experiments and analysis, the contents, distribution characteristics, source identification, pollution levels and risk levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in wetland soils were studied. The results show that [...] Read more.
The Momoge Nature Reserve is the research object of this study. Through field sampling, laboratory experiments and analysis, the contents, distribution characteristics, source identification, pollution levels and risk levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in wetland soils were studied. The results show that the sum content of 16 types of PAHs (Σ16 PAH) in the wetland soil was within the range (0.029–0.4152) mg/kg. PAHs in wetland soil are primarily 2–3-rings PAHs. PAHs in the Momoge wetland soil have multiple sources: petroleum, combustion of petroleum and coal, and others, of which petroleum and the sum of combustion of petroleum and coal account for 38.0% and 59.3%, respectively. Research, using the standard index and pollution range methods, shows that the content of the PAH labelled Nap, found in the Momoge wetland soil, is excessive; some sampling sites exhibit a low level of pollution. The result of a biotoxicity assessment shows that there are two sampling sites that occasionally present an ecological toxicity hazard. The result of the organic carbon normalization process shows that an ecological risk exists only at sampling site No. 10. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
High Contributions of Secondary Inorganic Aerosols to PM2.5 under Polluted Levels at a Regional Station in Northern China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1202; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121202 - 15 Dec 2016
Cited by 6
Abstract
Daily PM2.5 samples were collected at Shangdianzi (SDZ) regional site in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region in 2015. Samples were subject to chemical analysis for organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and major water-soluble inorganic ions. The annual average PM2.5 mass concentration was [...] Read more.
Daily PM2.5 samples were collected at Shangdianzi (SDZ) regional site in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region in 2015. Samples were subject to chemical analysis for organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and major water-soluble inorganic ions. The annual average PM2.5 mass concentration was 53 ± 36 μg·m−3 with the highest seasonal average concentration in spring and the lowest in summer. Water-soluble inorganic ions and carbonaceous aerosols accounted for 34% ± 15% and 33% ± 9%, respectively, of PM2.5 mass on annual average. The excellent, good, lightly polluted, moderately polluted, and heavily polluted days based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) of PM2.5 accounted for 40%, 42%, 11%, 4%, and 3%, respectively, of the year. The sum of the average concentration of sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium (SNA) increased from 4.2 ± 2.9 μg·m−3 during excellent days to 85.9 ± 22.4 μg·m−3 during heavily polluted days, and their contributions to PM2.5 increased from 15% ± 8% to 49% ± 10% accordingly. In contrast, the average concentration of carbonaceous aerosols increased from 9.2 ± 2.8 μg·m−3 to 51.2 ± 14.1 μg·m−3, and their contributions to PM2.5 decreased from 34% ± 6% to 29% ± 7%. Potential source contribution function (PSCF) analysis revealed that the major sources for high PM2.5 and its dominant chemical components were within the area mainly covering Shandong, Henan, and Hebei provinces. Regional pollutant transport from Shanxi province and Inner Mongolia autonomous region located in the west direction of SDZ was also important during the heating season. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
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