SEGH Articles

2012 PBC-SEGH Joint Symposium on Environmental and Public Health Sciences

01 March 2013
2012 PBC-SEGH Joint Symposium on Environmental and Public Health perspectives: a brief description of abstracts is given.

The 2012 PBC (Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health)-SEGH Joint Symposium was successfully held at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) in Korea on 10-12 April 2012. This jointly ventured symposium was hosted by Professor Kyoung-Woong Kim (Member of SEGH Executive Board) and brought a new audience to the SEGH. It gave our members an opportunity to exchange ideas on new interesting perspectives, such as environmental and public health sciences. The selected articles were published in a special issue of ‘Reviews on Environmental Health’ from the symposiumA Brief description is given for each abstract, follow the link to read more.

Special issue: The 14th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health

Special vulnerability of children to environmental exposures

Sly, J. Leith / Carpenter, David O.

The environment in which fetal and childhood development occurs is very important. Unfortunately, poverty is a major risk factor for both exposures and childhood and later-life disease resulting from exposures to both environmental chemicals and infectious agents.

Improving access to adequate water and basic sanitation services in Indonesia

Haryanto, Budi / Sutomo, Sumengen

The development of water and basic sanitation services in Indonesia does not indicate any significant progress in the last two decades. The prevalence of water-borne diseases tends to increase yearly, which poses a risk for a population of over a million people. Therefore, it is not realistic to achieve the Millennium Development Goals target by 2015. Redefining approaches like providing integrated programs and action in water and sanitation services must be a priority to protect human health in Indonesia.

A framework for assessing and predicting the environmental health impact of infectious diseases: a case study of leptospirosis

Lau, Colleen / Jagals, Paul

The application of an integrated environmental health impact assessment (IEHIA) methodology to assess the health impact of an infectious disease was shown to enhance the ability to quantify associations between a disease agent and its health impact by taking into account the environmental drivers of transmission, human behaviour, socioeconomic factors, and the multiple pathways through which exposure and infection could occur.

Nanoparticles in the environment: stability and toxicity

Kim, Hyun-A / Choi, Yoo Jin / Kim, Kyoung-Woong / Lee, Byung-Tae / Ranville, James F.

This review presents a brief overview of the fate, behavior, and ecotoxicity of nanoparticles (NPs) in the environment. The fate and transport of NPs, which can be affected by various environmental conditions like light, pH, ionic strength, and type and concentration of cations, are important for the examination of the life cycle of NPs.

Nature’s cure for cleanup of contaminated environment – a review of bioremediation strategies

Prasad, Majeti Narasimha Vara / Prasad, Rajendra

Bioremediation technologies resting upon the vast potential of biodiversity for the monitoring and abatement of environmental pollution have been briefly reviewed.

Arsenic and human health: epidemiologic progress and public health implications

Argos, Maria / Ahsan, Habibul / Graziano, Joseph H.

Herein, we emphasize the role of recent genetic and molecular epidemiologic investigations of arsenic toxicity. Additionally, we discuss considerations for the public health impacts of arsenic exposure through drinking water with respect to primary and secondary prevention efforts.

Direct potable reuse of reclaimed wastewater: it is time for a rational discussion

Arnold, Robert G. / Sáez, Avelino E. / Snyder, Shane / Maeng, Sung Kyu / Lee, Changha / Woods, Gwendolyn J. / Li, Xiangdong / Choi, Heechul

Engineered solutions to relieve water stress are frequently based on the use of water of impaired initial quality. Chief among these impaired waters is reclaimed wastewater. For the most part, however, the breadth of both acceptable uses and use-dependent degree of treatment for reclaimed wastewater remain to be established.

Persistent toxic substances: sources, fates and effects

Wong, Ming H. / Armour, Margaret-Ann / Naidu, Ravi / Man, Ming

This article is an attempt to review the current status of Persistently Toxic Substances (PTS) in our environment, citing case studies in China and North America, and whether our existing drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment processes are adequate in removing them from water. Some management issues of these emerging chemicals of concern are also discussed.


Dr Michael Watts, SEGH Webmaster

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

  • Alterations in antioxidant defense system of workers chronically exposed to arsenic, cadmium and mercury from coal flying ash 2016-02-01


    Humans are exposed to different stress factors that are responsible for over-production of reactive oxygen species. Exposure to heavy metals is one of these factors. The aim of the study was to analyze the effect of chronic exposure to heavy metals through coal flying ash on the efficiency of antioxidative defensive mechanisms, represented by the activity of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and ascorbic acid. Nonessential elements such as arsenic and mercury levels showed a significant increase (p > 0.001) in the power plant workers rather than in the control subjects. There were no significant differences of blood cadmium between power plant workers and control subjects. We found a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) between BAs/SZn (r = 0.211), BAs/BSe (r = 0.287), BCd/SCu (r = 0.32) and BHg/BSe (r = 0.263) in the plant workers. Red blood cell antioxidant enzymes and plasma ascorbic acid were significantly lower in power plants workers than in the control group (p < 0.002). We can conclude that levels of mercury, arsenic and cadmium in blood, despite their concentration within the reference values, significantly affect plasma ascorbic acid concentration, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activity, which are able to increase the risk of oxidative stress.

  • Increase in platinum group elements in Mexico City as revealed from growth rings of Taxodium mucronatum ten 2016-02-01


    Tree rings may be used as indicators of contamination events providing information on the chronology and the elemental composition of the contamination. In this framework, we report PGEs enrichment in growth rings of Taxodium mucronatum ten for trees growing in the central area of Mexico City as compared to trees growing in a non-urban environment. Concentrations of PGE were determined by ICP-MS analysis on microwave-digested tree rings. The element found in higher concentrations was Pd (1.13–87.98 μg kg−1), followed by Rh (0.28–36.81 μg kg−1) and Pt (0.106–7.21 μg kg−1). The concentration trends of PGEs in the tree-ring sequences from the urban area presented significant correlation values when comparing between trees (r between 0.618 and 0.98, P < 0.025) and between elements within individual trees (r between 0.76 and 0.994, P < 0.01). Furthermore, a clear increase was observed for rings after 1997, with enrichment of up to 60 times the mean concentration found for the sequence from the non-urban area and up to 40 times the mean concentration for the pre-1991 period in the urban trees. These results also demonstrate the feasibility of applying T. mucronatum ten to be used as a bioindicator of the increase in PGE in urban environments.

  • Heavy metals and parasitic geohelminths toxicity among geophagous pregnant women: a case study of Nakuru Municipality, Kenya 2016-02-01


    Geophagia is defined as deliberate consumption of earths’ materials, e.g. soil, clay and soft stones. The practice is widespread among pregnant women, and there are conflicting views as to whether it is beneficial to health or not. Geophagic materials may be a source of micronutrients though the materials may bind the micronutrients thus reducing or hindering their bioavailability in the body. Geophagia is closely associated with geohelminthic infections among pregnant women and heavy metal poisoning, which constitute significant public health problem in many developing countries such as Kenya. In our research, the geophagic materials consumed by the pregnant women were studied. A total of 38 geophagic materials in the possession by different pregnant women were analysed. The collected samples were subjected to standard digestion procedures and analysed for zinc, lead and iron by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Results indicated that the geophagic materials contained elevated levels of Fe at mean concentration value of 80.10 ppm, Pb at 3.28 ppm and Zn 1.81 ppm for a 1.00 g sample. An average of 20 g of the geophagic materials was being consumed per day. Based on the average consumption, the pregnant women were exposed to 65.52 ppm Pb per day, 36.2 ppm Zn per day and 1602 ppm Fe per day. Lead exceeded the WHO-lead exposure limits of 25 ppm/day for pregnant women. The materials were also subjected to microscopic examination for Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Taenia Spp., Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale. In conclusion, the women were exposed to heavy metals—iron, zinc and lead, but there was no observable eggs, larvae or adult species of the geohelminths. The key recommendation was that there is need to integrate public health education on geophagia, lead screening and testing with antenatal support care systems. This will enhance maternal and child health, thus reducing infant and maternal morbidity and mortality rates.