SEGH Articles

Brick Kilns and Fish: a Symbiotic Relationship?

08 April 2014
During the 1st two weeks in March Dr Andy Marriott and Dr Simon Chenery visited India to foster ties between India and UK environmental scientists.

Back to the Future: Brian E Davies (Past President)

08 April 2014
Should we reduce our emphasis on the toxic elements? Is it time to go back to the future?

Diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT): An emerging technique for bioavailability assessment of chemicals in the environment

08 April 2014
As a rapidly developing passive sampling method for the labile forms of chemicals in waters, sediments and soils, the diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) technique has significant advantages over conventional methods: in situ measurement, time averaged concentrations and high spatial resolution.

SEGH 2014

06 February 2014
Dr Jane Entwistle is Head of Department of Geography at Northumbria University and is organising the 2014 SEGH conference. Here she gives some insight into the host organisation and city.

SEGH membership

05 February 2014
A hidden opportunity: Collaborative Development of teaching and learning in Environmental Geochemistry and Health at the Department of Geology, University of Calabar, Nigeria

The Future is Africa

05 February 2014
In early January Dr Michael Watts visited Zimbabwe and Zambia with a colleague from the University of Nottingham. They were funded from a Royal Society-DFID grant to foster science networks in Africa and to help strengthen scientific capacity. Here Michael tells us about his trip

An historical reconstruction of atmospheric heavy metals deposition from a peat bog record on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary, Quebec

01 October 2013
Peat bogs were used to reconstruct the history of atmospheric heavy metal deposition along the St. Lawrence Valley. Results from one of the study sites were presented at the 29th SEGH held in July 2013, Toulouse.

The new SEGH President: Andrew Hursthouse

08 September 2013
Professor Andrew Hursthouse formally took over the position of President of SEGH in August 2013 following election by the SEGH board.

Environmental Geochemistry and Health

07 September 2013
Environmental Geochemistry and Health Impact Factor is 2.076 for 2012.

Trace Metal inputs in French Pyrenees: a spatial and temporal case study in the Upper valley of the Vicdessos

02 May 2013
A human-environment observatory aims to monitor the evolution of human-environment interactions within the Upper Vicdessos valley. The aim is to collect data and integrate them to conduct a transdisciplinary research in a changing environment.

Measuring the Bioaccessibility of Potentially Harmful Elements in Soil

01 May 2013
Mark Cave provides some background for bioaccessibility testing and insight into the contribution it has made to the risk assessment industry.

Reducing human exposure to arsenic and simultaneously increasing selenium and zinc intake, by substituting non-aromatic rice with aromatic rice in the diet

01 May 2013
A team of scientists led by Dr Parvez Haris is carrying out research to identify ways of reducing human exposure to arsenic through diet

Tellus Border: Initial findings of a geo-environmental survey of the border region of Ireland

01 March 2013
The Tellus Border project is an EU INTERREG IVA-funded mapping project that involved baseline geochemical and geophysical surveys in the border region of Ireland, and the integration of data from these with existing data collected in Northern Ireland.

In Malawi "simple is not easy"

01 March 2013
Effectiveness of sanitation, hygiene practices, and water supply interventions serving Malawi and the surrounding countries.

Otoliths: The little “White” box recorders of the fish world

01 February 2013
The use of fish otolith (ear bone) microchemistry has enabled scientists understand better fish migratory patterns and stock identification

Is it possible to remove polymeric nanoparticles from aqueous paints during the activated sludge treatment?

01 January 2013
It is well established that polymeric nanoparticles are biocompatible at macroscopic scale, but is their behaviour the same at nanoscale?

Studying the effects on soil organic matter of wildfires in central Portugal

01 January 2013
The main objective of this study is testing the efficacy of pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py–GC/MS) as a fast analytical technique to detect wildfire-induced molecular alterations of the SOM in Mediterranean Leptosols.

Sedimentary geochemistry of platinum in intertidal salt marsh sediments of the Tagus River Estuary, Lisbon, Portugal

03 December 2012
Studies of platinum in intertidal sediments have highlighted a number of features of Pt dynamics in saltmarsh environments.

The relationship between heavy metals and sedimentary organic matter in the Oxford Clay (Jurassic) of the southern UK

03 December 2012
Pin Ru is studying for a PhD in sedimentary organic matter and its interaction with waste in landfill sites

Spatial distribution of Pb, Cd and Cr concentrations in moss transplants from urban recreational areas in Lisbon, Portugal

03 December 2012
Metal concentrations in moss were used to assess the contribution of atmospheric pollution to the geochemistry of soil and ground-level dust, and discriminate urban pollution sources.

Urban sediments: Geochemistry and mineralogy towards improved risk assessments

07 November 2012
Raquel was a joint oral presentation winner at the ISEG meeting in Aveiro in July 2012. The main aim of Raquel’s present research is to characterize the presence of PHE in soils and urban sediments, exploring the spatial, geochemical and mineralogical linkages within and between these media.

Report 9th ISEG, Aveiro, Portugal

07 November 2012
SEGH members were delighted to attend and participate in the 9th International Symposium on Environmental Geochemistry organised by staff from the University of Aveiro held during 15th - 22nd of July, 2012.

Notes from Malawi

07 November 2012
Plant and crop selenium concentration shows strong geochemical control, and our data suggests widespread high prevalence of dietary Se deficiency across Malawi, primarily due to the low pH of the predominant soil types causing Se to be held in an unavailable form.

SESEH Promotes Collaborations with China in Environment and Health

01 October 2012
The 2012 Sino-European Symposium on Environment and Health (SESEH 2012) was successfully held at the National University of Ireland, Galway during August 20 - 25, 2012.

Emerging Contaminants in the environment – is there a risk to health?

12 August 2012
In Europe and North America, there has been a gradual decrease in common environmental contaminants (heavy metals such as lead, cadmium; persistent organic pollutants such as DDT, Dioxin, PAH’s) in the environment. Common environmental contaminants, however, remain a public health concern in developing countries and newly industrialised countries.

How useful are on-site measurements in environmental geochemistry?

12 August 2012
How reliable are on-site measurements? Can sound decisions be made using them, or should we stick to measurements made in the remote lab?

Depositional and ecological environments of the Bay of Bengal coast of northeast India

01 May 2012
Dr. Asok Kumar Bhattacharya summarises his work at the University of Calcutta on the Sundarban wetlands in India, including work on coastal sedimentology, impact of anthropogenic pollution and coastal zone management.

The nano way to cleaner water

04 April 2012
Nanomaterials provide potential for waste water remediation and metal removal and recycling. We envisage that this composite can cheaply and effectively be incorporated into a variety of configurations to improve water treatment.

Untreated Wastewater Irrigation to Vegetable Crops in Pakistan

03 March 2012
Wastewater has been widely used for irrigation of agricultural crops as the nutrients contained in the wastewater are considered beneficial to plant growth

The Indian Sundarban Mangrove wetland: an ecological perspective

01 February 2012
Dr Sarkar has carried out research on the changes in the ecological and pollution status of the Indian Sundarban mangrove wetlands, as a result of intense anthropological pressures affecting the biotic and abiotic compartments of this fragile ecosystem.

Exposure to Arsenic And Other Toxic Elements Through Eating Earth

01 February 2012
The practice of deliberately eating earth, known as geophagy has been common in many cultures across the world. Unfortunately, very little scientific research is being conducted in this area and its impact on human health.

Environmental Geochemistry Health: on-line access

01 January 2012
Environmental Geochemistry and Health is now available to via on-line access to members (Full and Student). Log in through www.segh.net to access the Springer back catalogue of EGH.

Waste glass as a substrate for As removal from drinking waters in Bangladesh: a laboratory and field-based study

03 December 2011
This research project examines the application of recycled glass and waste stainless steel fragments as a practical medium for As removal at a household scale.

Ozone as a remediation technique for the treatment of hydrocarbons in post industrial sites in Glasgow

01 November 2011
Andrew Robson was a runner up for the Springer / Hemphill Best student Oral presentation at SEGH 2011.

Environmental Public Health Tracking Proof of Concept Study: hazard tracking in private drinking water supplies

01 October 2011
The Health Protection Agency undertook a proof of concept study to appraise the chemical quality of private drinking water supplies in East Cornwall and map their metal and mineral content relative to geological formation.

Carbon and Contaminant Trace Metal Biogeochemistry in Surficial Organic-rich Terrestrial Systems

01 September 2011
David Blair was the runnner up for the Springer / Hemphill Best Oral presentation at SEGH 2011.

Cadmium (Cd) contamination of paddy fields in Mao Tao, Western Thailand

01 September 2011
Peerapat Kosolsaksakul is a 2nd year PhD student who was winner of the Springer / Hemphill Best Poster presentation at SEGH 2011.

Flux Based Management of a Groundwater Pollution: from Mass Flux Measurements to Regulatory Decisions

01 August 2011
Goedele Verrydt won the Springer / Hemphill Prize for Student Oral Presentation at SEGH 2011 in Ormskirk, UK.

Multiproxy climate reconstruction from raised bog deposits along the West Coast of the British Isles

01 August 2011
Anke Kuttner was Runner up for the Springer / Hemphill Prize for Student Poster presentation at SEGH 2011 in Ormskirk, UK.

Application of geochemical signatures of shale in environmental pollution and human health assessment in South East Nigeria

15 June 2011
Therese Ntonzi Nganje describes her experience through a Commonwealth Scholarship scheme on connecting Nigerian and UK scientists.

"Chernobyl: now open to tourists" - Risk communication or public engagement

15 June 2011
The Ukraine government is not only to lift restrictions on access to the restricted zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, but also plan for redevelopment and repopulation.

Soil: an important part of a healthy diet?

20 May 2011
Iodine is essential for healthy human life, and is taken up by crops from the soil. However, current research shows that the soil itself has an important part to play in determining how much iodine reaches our food.

Ecosystem services to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition in Sub Saharan Africa

20 May 2011
Ecosystem Services concepts have great potential for linking biogeochemistry, health and policy formulation for poverty alleviation.

Beyond mapping: new applications of GIS in environmental geochemistry and health

21 April 2011
GIS has been widely used to produce professional maps. However, the potential applications of GIS are far beyond mapping.

Journey from PhD student to employment: difficult but rewarding

21 April 2011
Dr Mark Button has a few words of comfort for students nearing the job market and searching for their future employment

Student led remediation study of Manitoban Gold mine

21 March 2011
Jill Maxwell was the joint winner of the Hemphill prize for best oral presentation at Galway SEGH 2010. She describes her work on the remediation of arsenic contamination by a natural wetland at New Britiannia Mine, Manitoba.

Nutrient export coefficients and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency river nitrate data

21 March 2011
Judith Watson was the joint winner of the Hemphill prize for best oral presentation at Galway SEGH 2010.
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Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Cattle egrets as a biosentinels of persistent organic pollutants exposure 2014-06-01

    Abstract

    We investigated selected chlorinated pollutants (β-HCH, γ-HCH, DDDs, DDEs, o,p′-DDT, p,p′-DDT, heptachlor, aldrin, dieldrin, and endrin) in the Lahore and the Sialkot districts of Pakistan, using eggs of cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) collected during May and June 2007. The pollutant with highest level and frequency was ΣDDT, followed by β-HCH, γ-HCH, heptachlor, aldrin, dieldrin, and endrin in descending order. The concentration(s) were significantly higher in Sialkot heronry for all the pollutants (except p,p′-DDT) than in Lahore. The values for DDTs, β-HCH, γ-HCH, and heptachlor were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the egg(s) than in sediment(s) and in the chicks’ diet, due to biomagnification. Among DDTs analogues, p,p′-DDD was the major contaminant with >60 % of total DDT burden, reflecting the widespread aged as well as recent use of DDT as well as anaerobic degradation (DDD/DDE > 1 in many cases) in the nearby paddy soils. In few samples, p,p′-DDT/(DDD + DDE) > 0.5 suggested the recent emission patterns from surrounding contaminated areas of demolished DDT units and obsolete pesticide stores. The higher levels of HCHs (i.e., β-HCH) in the samples collected from Sialkot indicate exposure from long-term agricultural use. Overall, concentrations of all studied POPs were less than the threshold levels known to affect reproduction. Nevertheless, total DDTs and/or HCHs burdens in some eggs contained concentrations of greater than what would educe adverse effects on birds. This is among few studies on OCPs exposure to avian species, which provide the evidence of Pakistan’s contribution toward the Global POPs emission.

  • Ground water contamination with 238U, 234U, 235U, 226Ra and 210Pb from past uranium mining: cove wash, Arizona 2014-06-01

    Abstract

    The objectives of the study are to present a critical review of the 238U, 234U, 235U, 226Ra and 210Pb levels in water samples from the EPA studies (U.S. EPA in Abandoned uranium mines and the Navajo Nation: Red Valley chapter screening assessment report. Region 9 Superfund Program, San Francisco, 2004, Abandoned uranium mines and the Navajo Nation: Northern aum region screening assessment report. Region 9 Superfund Program, San Francisco, 2006, Health and environmental impacts of uranium contamination, 5-year plan. Region 9 Superfund Program, San Franciso, 2008) and the dose assessment for the population due to ingestion of water containing 238U and 234U. The water quality data were taken from Sect. “Data analysis” of the published report, titled Abandoned Uranium Mines Project Arizona, New Mexico, Utah–Navajo Lands 1994–2000, Project Atlas. Total uranium concentration was above the maximum concentration level for drinking water (7.410–1 Bq/L) in 19 % of the water samples, while 238U and 234U concentrations were above in 14 and 17 % of the water samples, respectively. 226Ra and 210Pb concentrations in water samples were in the range of 3.7 × 10−1 to 5.55 × 102 Bq/L and 1.11 to 4.33 × 102 Bq/L, respectively. For only two samples, the 226Ra concentrations exceeded the MCL for total Ra for drinking water (0.185 Bq/L). However, the 210Pb/226Ra ratios varied from 0.11 to 47.00, and ratios above 1.00 were observed in 71 % of the samples. Secular equilibrium of the natural uranium series was not observed in the data record for most of the water samples. Moreover, the 235U/totalU mass ratios ranged from 0.06 to 5.9 %, and the natural mass ratio of 235U to totalU (0.72 %) was observed in only 16 % of the water samples, ratios above or below the natural ratio could not be explained based on data reported by U.S. EPA. In addition, statistical evaluations showed no correlations among the distribution of the radionuclide concentrations in the majority of the water samples, indicating more than one source of contamination could contribute to the sampled sources. The effective doses due to ingestion of the minimum uranium concentrations in water samples exceed the average dose considering inhalation and ingestion of regular diet for other populations around the world (1 μSv/year). The maximum doses due to ingestion of 238U or 234U were above the international limit for effective dose for members of the public (1 mSv/year), except for inhabitants of two chapters. The highest effective dose was estimated for inhabitants of Cove, and it was almost 20 times the international limit for members of the public. These results indicate that ingestion of water from some of the sampled sources poses health risks.

  • Haematological changes in fluorotic adults and children in fluoride endemic regions of Gaya district, Bihar, India 2014-06-01

    Abstract

    Groundwater used for drinking and cooking was analysed for fluoride (F), and health surveys were conducted in Bodh Gaya, Amas and Bankebazaar blocks of the Gaya district, Bihar, India. Amas and Bankebazaar blocks were F endemic areas with mean F = 2.36 ± 0.23 mg/L (N = 27). Bodh Gaya was considered as control area with mean F = 0.59 ± 0.03 mg/L (N = 11). Health survey showed that more than 50 % of adults and more than 55 % of children had complaints of gastro-intestinal (GI) disturbances in the F endemic areas, while less than 20 % of adults and less than 10 % of children complained of GI problems in the control areas. Haematological analyses were conducted on age- and sex-matched fluorotic subjects (N = 93) of F endemic areas, and non-fluorotic subjects (N = 52) of control area showed lowered haemoglobin, haematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular haemoglobin, and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration in the fluorotic subjects, suggesting the occurrence of anaemia in the fluorotic subjects.