SEGH Articles

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.

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.

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.

In Malawi "simple is not easy"

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

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.

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

"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.

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.

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

  • Outdoor air particle-bound trace metals in four selected communities in Ibadan, Nigeria 2014-08-01

    Abstract

    Trace metal concentrations were determined in particulate matter (PM10) in ambient air of four purposively selected residential areas in Ibadan, Nigeria namely Bodija market (BM), Ojo Park (OP), Oluyole Estate (OE) and University of Ibadan (UI). PM10 was determined in the morning (7–10 a.m.) and afternoon (2–5 p.m.) for 12 weeks in the dry season months of January–March using a volumetric sampler following standard procedures and levels compared with WHO guideline limits. Glass-fibre filter papers exposed to the particulate matter were digested using appropriate acid mixtures, and the digest analysed for trace metals including Ni, Cr, Mn, Zn, and Pb using ICPMS method and levels compared with WHO limits. Data was analysed using ANOVA and Pearson correlation test at 5 % level of significance. The highest mean PM10 concentrations 502.3 ± 39.9 μg/m3 were recorded in the afternoon period at BM, while the lowest concentration 220.6 ± 69.9 μg/m3 was observed in the morning hours at UI. There was a significant difference between the PM10 levels across the various locations (p < 0.05), and all the levels were higher than WHO limit of 50 μg/m3. The highest levels of Ni, Zn and Pb were recorded at BM, which also had the highest PM10 burden. The trend in Pb levels across the locations was BM > UI > OP > OE with the highest level 5.70 μg/m3 in BM nearly fourfolds WHO limits of 1.5 μg/m3. There was a significant correlation between PM10 and Ni (p < 0.05).Urban communities with increased human activities especially motor traffic recorded both higher levels of PM10 and toxic trace metals. There is need to carry out source apportionment to establish the origin of these trace metals in future studies.

  • PAHs in organic film on glass window surfaces from central Shanghai, China: distribution, sources and risk assessment 2014-08-01

    Abstract

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) concentrations were analysed in the organic film on the glass surfaces of different functional areas in central Shanghai. Concentration levels of total PAHs in the organic film ranged from 1,348.5 to 4,007.9 ng m−2. The concentration of PAHs was lowest in parks and green spaces (1,348.5 ng m−2) and highest in traffic zones (4,007.9 ng m−2). A concentration gradient of total PAHs was observed as follows: traffic zones > commercial areas > cultural and educational areas > parks and green spaces. The distribution of PAHs was characterised by 3–4 ring PAHs in the study areas. The most abundant PAHs were phenanthrene (20.5 %), fluorene (16.7 %), pyrene (12.4 %) and chrysene (Chry) (11.2 %). The mass of the bulk film was composed of organic and inorganic compounds and ranged from 246 to 1,288 mg m−2. The bulk film thickness varied from 144 to 757 nm in the different functional areas. The ratios of An/178 and Fl/202 and principal component analysis suggested that PAHs came mainly from the mixed sources of fossil fuel, coal and incomplete combustion of biomass. Benzo[a]anthracene (BaA)/Chry is not suitable for use as a tracer for the transmission process of PAHs because of the rapid depletion of BaA in the organic film by photooxidation during daylight hours. The concentration of benzo[a]pyrene equivalent (BaPeq) varied from 21 to 701 ng g−1, and the major carcinogenic contributors of the 16 PAHs were BaP, DahA, B[b/k]F and InP, accounting for 83 % of BaPeq.

  • Exposure assessment of heavy metals (Cd, Hg, and Pb) by the intake of local foods from Zhejiang, China 2014-08-01

    Abstract

    Considering the environmental pollution, food safety is of great concern to the consumers. The present study was conducted to assess the health risk of cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb) through the dietary intake in Zhejiang, China. Eight hundred and sixty two food samples including aquatic products, meat, vegetables, milk and dairy products, and cereal grains were analyzed. Only 2.44 % (Cd), 1.39 % (Hg), and 1.51 % (Pb) of the samples exceeded the maximum allowable concentration set by Chinese Ministry of Health. The average dietary intakes of Cd, Hg, and Pb were estimated to be 0.26, 0.14, and 0.55 μg/kg bw/day, respectively. Compared with the reference doses, the mean exposure of Cd, Hg, and Pb was all less than the tolerable intake value. Only at the 95th percentile level, Cd and Hg exposure exceeded the values of tolerable intakes by 40 and 277 %, respectively. It indicates that there is low health risk to the dietary exposure of Cd, Hg, and Pb for general people in Zhejiang province, China.