SEGH Articles

Putting the Health in SEGH

18 November 2015
Dr Alex Stewart, recently retired from Public Health England, has been an active member of the SEGH International board over many years and a major driving force in bringing the health community together with environmental scientists to promote inter-disciplinary research.

32nd International SEGH conference, Brussels 2016

17 November 2015
32nd International SEGH conference, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, 4th-8th July, 2016.

Remedial Solutions for polluted soils: developing research collaboration between UK and China

17 November 2015
Hunan University of Science & Technology (HNUST), Xiangtan, PR, China. The School of Civil Engineering houses a Key Library for Shale Gas extraction and has undertaken work to assess resources and their low impact extraction.

Assessment of the environmental conditions of the Calore river basin (south Italy): a stream sediment approach

23 October 2015
Daniela Zuzolo from the University of Sannio won the Hemphill prize for best student presentation at SEGH 2015 in Bratislava. She provides a follow-up on her presentation.

SEGH 2015: a PhD researchers perspective

15 October 2015
Dan Middleton, a PhD student from the University of Manchester, based at the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry at the British Geological Survey, shares his account of the conference proceedings.

Environmental Geochemistry in Greece: Opportunities and obstacles to development

28 September 2015
What are the opportunities and obstacles to development in the field of environmental geochemistry and health in Greece nowadays?

The new SEGH President: Chaosheng Zhang

24 September 2015
Dr Chaosheng Zhang formally took over the position of President of SEGH in June at SEGH 2015 in Bratislava.

SEGH 2015 Conference Report

24 September 2015
Bratislava welcomed over 100 delegates from over 25 countries to SEGH 2015.

Working together to combat environmental pollution and inform agricultural strategies

10 July 2015
Environmental scientists give an account of their experience from a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship in the UK.

SEGH Urban Soils and Metal Contamination Conference, March 2015 University of Texas-Arlington

07 July 2015
The United States Section of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health (SEGH), along with the University of Texas-Arlington (UTA) sponsored a conference on Urban Soils and Metal Contamination: Issues & Remedies, March 30th to April 1, 2015 on the campus of UTA.

Is there an environmental link to esophageal cancer in Tanzania?

07 July 2015
Scientists from the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry are helping health organisations understand why esophageal cancer is localised within specific areas of the African Rift Valley. Whilst various causal factors are now under investigation, such as high-strength kill-me-quick alcohol consumption or hot tea drinking, it is difficult to fully explain the localised nature of the burden. Here Dr Michael Watts outlines why soil around Mount Kilimanjaro could unearth some answers.

SEGH 2015 Bratislava

09 December 2014
The local organising institution of the 31st International Conference of the SEGH in 2015 was established in 1940 and performs the tasks of the State Geological Survey of the Slovak Republic.

Arsenic Biogeochemistry and Health

04 November 2014
The success of the 29th SEGH conference produced a special issue of papers presenting recent advances in various aspects of environmental and health impacts of contaminants, published in Environmental Geochemistry and Health

Global dispersion of trace metals in South America

04 November 2014
Pre-Hispanic metallurgical activities released enough metals to be transported throughout the entire South American continent.

The Joy's of PhD research in two countries

06 October 2014
Edwards project aim is to improve the accuracy and spatial resolution of dietary mineral supply estimates in Malawi and to investigate the potential of agricultural solutions to mitigate dietary mineral deficiencies. He has been conducting fieldwork in Malawi during 2012-14.

Dust Deposition in snow from NorthEast Antarctica: mineralogical, morphological and chemical characterization

05 October 2014
Aubry Vanderstraeten is a PhD student and won the runner-up prize for best student poster at SEGH 2014.

Modeling global Iodine in Global Atmosphere and its Deposition

08 September 2014
Tomas Sherwen is an Atmospheric Chemistry PhD Student and won the SEGH 2014 student prize for best poster.

Arsenic hazard in rice from Kandal Province, Cambodia

08 September 2014
Peter Gilbert won the student prize at SEGH 2014 for best oral presentation.

SEGH 2014 Conference Report

08 September 2014
Northumbria University welcomed over 120 delegates from over 25 countries to SEGH 2014.

SEGH Journal Impact Factor News

03 August 2014
The Society's journal Environmental Geochemistry & Health (EGAH), received good news recently with the announcement of a significant increase in its impact factor, now reaching 2.573.

Environmental Geochemistry and Consultancy in Amazonia: from my archive

24 July 2014
The problem: mercury losses from informal gold mining and health risks to the miners (garimpeiros), gold traders and local riverine communities, by Past President Iain Thornton.

Centre for Environmental Geochemistry

15 June 2014
The Centre's research will focus on building established collaborations between the University of Nottingham and the British Geological Survey (across Departments, Schools and Faculties).

Is the Indian Sundarban and adjacent regions polluted by mercury? A case study and cross sectional view

05 June 2014
The Indian Sundarban and its adjacent regions are experiencing huge population loads in terms of domestic and industrial effluents from upstream highly urbanized Calcutta and surroundings

Urban soil of Athens, Greece: Local geology beats human pollution on trace elements

04 June 2014
Bearing in mind the historical absence of heavy industry within the Greater Athens and Piraeus area, the tested hypotheses was that local geology is important in controlling the distribution of potentially harmful trace elements in urban soil.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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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Science in the News

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Influence of clay minerals on sorption and bioreduction of arsenic under anoxic conditions 2015-12-01


    Adsorption of As(V) on various clay minerals including kaolinite (KGa-1), montmorillonite (SWy-1) and nontronites (NAU-1 and NAU-2), and subsequent bioreduction of sorbed As(V) to As(III) by bacterium Shewanella putrefaciens strain CN-32 were investigated. Nontronites showed relatively higher sorption capacity for As(V) primarily due to higher iron oxide content. Freundlich equation well described the sorption of As(V) on NAU-1, NAU-2 and SWy-1, while As(V) sorption isotherm with KGa-1 fitted well in the Langmuir model. The bacterium rapidly reduced 50 % of dissolved As(V) to As(III) in 2 h, followed by its complete reduction (>ca. 98 %) within 12 h. In contrast, sorption of As(V) to the mineral surfaces interferes with the activity of bacterium, resulting in low bioreduction of As(V) by 27 % for 5 days of incubation. S. putrefaciens also promoted the reduction of Fe(III) present in the clay mineral to Fe(II). This study indicates that the sorption and subsequent bioreduction of As(V) on clay minerals can significantly influence the mobility of As(V) in subsurface environment.

  • Determination of biomarkers for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) toxicity to earthworm ( Eisenia fetida ) 2015-12-01


    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds are persistent, carcinogenic, and mutagenic. When PAHs enter agricultural soils through sewage sludge, they pose an environmental risk to soil organisms, including earthworms. Therefore, we aimed to determine the toxic effects of PAHs on earthworms. Five PAHs were used: fluorene, anthracene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene. Only fluorene and phenanthrene exhibited toxicity (LC50 values 394.09 and 114.02 g L−1, respectively) against the earthworm Eisenia fetida. None of the other PAHs tested in this study enhanced the mortality of adult earthworm until the concentrations reached to 1000 g L−1. After exposure to PAHs, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in E. fetida decreased in a concentration-dependent manner, and phenanthrene exhibited the strongest inhibitory effect on AChE, followed by fluorene. Activity of a representative detoxifying enzyme, carboxylesterase, was dramatically reduced in E. fetida exposed to all tested PAHs in comparison with that observed in the control test. The remaining glutathione S-transferase activity significantly decreased in E. fetida after exposure to PAHs. To profile small proteins <20 kDa, SELDI-TOF MS with Q10 ProteinChips was used, and 54 proteins were identified as being significantly different from the control (p = 0.05). Among them, the expressions of three proteins at 4501.8, 4712.4, and 4747.9 m/z were only enhanced in E. fetida exposed to anthracene and pyrene. One protein with 16,174 m/z was selectively expressed in E. fetida exposed to fluorene, phenanthrene, and fluoranthene. These proteins may be potential biomarkers for the five PAHs tested in E. fetida.

  • Can abundance of methanogen be a good indicator for CH 4 flux in soil ecosystems? 2015-12-01


    Methane, which is produced by methanogenic archaea, is the second most abundant carbon compound in the atmosphere. Due to its strong radiative forcing, many studies have been conducted to determine its sources, budget, and dynamics. However, a mechanistic model of methane flux has not been developed thus far. In this study, we attempt to examine the relevance of the abundance of methanogen as a biological indicator of methane flux in three different types of soil ecosystems: permafrost, rice paddy, and mountainous wetland. We measured the annual average methane flux and abundance of methanogen in the soil ecosystems in situ. The correlation between methane flux and the abundance of methanogen exists only under a specific biogeochemical conditions such as SOM of higher than 60 %, pH of 5.6–6.4, and water-saturated. Except for these conditions, significant correlations were absent. Therefore, microbial abundance information can be applied to a methane flux model selectively depending on the biogeochemical properties of the soil ecosystem.