SEGH Articles

# Health Protection: Principles and practice

14 October 2016
Do you struggle with understanding how to respond to the human health implications of environmental contamination? Dr Alex Stewart, a medical board member of SEGH, is an editor and contributing author of a new text covering the public health response.
Do you struggle with understanding how to respond to the human health implications of environmental contamination? Dr Alex Stewart, a medical board member of SEGH, is an editor and contributing author of a new text covering the public health response (known as health protection) to such situations, as well as to emergencies and incidents of infectious diseases.

• The text comprehensively covers health protection with relevance to practitioners working in every area of the field, whether in public health or environmental sciences or other professions.
• There are detailed descriptions with practical examples of how to respond to rapidly changing emergencies and complex and chronic environmental hazards and situations.
• Guidance is provided on the practice of health protection through case studies and scenarios; each one is a realistic insight into health protection situations.
• Uniquely, the book includes quick reference checklists (SIMCARDs) which provide a hands-on way of dealing with and providing public health advice on different health protection situations (acute & chronic), through concise, practically-focussed crib sheets of essential information and tasks covering a broad range of health protection topics: ideal for use in the field or even exam revision.
• The textbook is relevant for non-specialists such as environmental scientists, as well as public health and health protection specialists. For non-specialists, and those without a medical background, the first four chapters give the grounding necessary to use the remainder of the book in a practical way.

Health Protection: Principles and practice is the first textbook in health protection to address all three domains within the field — environmental public health; emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR); and communicable disease control — in a comprehensive and integrated manner. Written by leading practitioners in the field, the book is rooted in a practice-led, all-hazards approach, which allows for easy real-world application of the topics discussed.

The chapters are arranged in six sections:
1 In-depth introduction to the principles of health protection
Case studies and scenarios to describe common and important issues in the practice of health protection:
2 Infectious disease
3 Emergency preparedness, resilience and response
4 Environmental public health
5 Health protection tools (epidemiology, statistics, infection control, immunisation, disease surveillance, audit and service improvement)
6 Evidence about new and emerging issues, including environmental issues and disasters.

The book includes more than 100 checklists (SIMCARDs), covering the three domains of health protection. Written from first-hand experience of managing such issues, these provide practical, stand-alone quick reference guides for use in many, if not most, situations, likely or unlikely, that can and will be faced in this continually evolving field.

Both the topical content of Health Protection: Principles and practice, and the clearly described health protection principles the book provides, make it a highly relevant resource for professionals within and without public health and health protection.

Health Protection: Principles and practice. Edited by Samuel Ghebrehewet, Alex G. Stewart, David Baxter, Paul Shears, David Conrad, Merav Kliner. Oxford: OUP, 2016. Pp480
ISBN-10: 0198745478  ISBN-13: 978-0198745471

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

• Distribution of metal(loid)s in particle size fraction in urban soil and street dust: influence of population density 2020-01-18

### Abstract

Assessment of street dust is an invaluable approach for monitoring atmospheric pollution. Little information is available on the size distribution of contaminants in street dusts and urban soils, and it is not known how the population density would influence them. This research was carried out to assess the size distribution of trace metal(loid)s in street dust and urban soil, and to understand how population density might influence the size-resolved concentration of metal(loid)s. Three urban areas with a high, medium and low population density and a natural area were selected and urban soil and street dust sampled. They were fractionated into 8 size fractions: 2000–850, 850–180, 180–106, 106–50, 50–20, 20–10, 10–2, and < 2 µm. The concentration of Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, Cr, Ni, As, and Fe was determined, and enrichment factor and grain size fraction loadings were computed. The results indicated that the concentration of Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, and Cr was highly size dependent, particularly for particles < 100 µm, especially for street dust. Low concentrations of Ni and As in street dust and urban soil were size and population density independent. Higher size dependency of the metals concentration and the higher degree of elemental enrichment in the street dust fractions than the urban soils indicate higher contribution of human-induced pollution to the dust. Findings also confirm the inevitability of size fractionation when soils or dusts are environmentally assessed, particularly in moderately to highly polluted areas. Otherwise, higher concentrations of certain pollutants in fine-sized particles might be overlooked leading to inappropriate decisions for environmental remediation.

• Soil–plant system and potential human health risk of Chinese cabbage and oregano growing in soils from Mn- and Fe-abandoned mines: microcosm assay 2020-01-17

### Abstract

In Portugal, many abandoned mines are often close to agricultural areas and might be used for plant food cultivation. Soils in the vicinity of two Mn- and Fe-abandoned mines (Ferragudo and Rosalgar, SW of Portugal) were collected to cultivate two different food species (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis (Lour.) Hanelt and Origanum vulgare L.). Chemical characterization of the soil–plant system and potential risk of adverse effects for human health posed by plants associated with soil contamination, based on the estimation of hazard quotient (HQ), were assessed in a microcosm assay under greenhouse conditions. In both soils, the average total concentrations of Fe and Mn were above the normal values for soils in the region and their concentration in shoots of both species was very high. Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis grew better in Ferragudo than in Rosalgar soils, and it behaved as an excluder of Cu, Mn, Fe, S and Zn in both soils. The HQ for Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn in the studied species grown on both soils was lower than unit indicating that its consumption is safe. The high Mn tolerance found in both species might be due in part to the high contents of Fe in the soil available fraction that might contribute to an antagonism effect in the uptake and translocation of Mn. The obtained results emphasize the need of further studies with different food crops before cultivation in the studied soils to assess health risks associated with high metal intake.

• Concentration, fractionation, and ecological risk assessment of heavy metals and phosphorus in surface sediments from lakes in N. Greece 2020-01-13

### Abstract

The presence of phosphorus (P) and heavy metals (HMs) in surface sediments originating from lakes Volvi, Kerkini, and Doirani (N. Greece), as well as their fractionation patterns, were investigated. No statistically significant differences in total P content were observed among the studied lakes, but notable differences were observed among sampling periods. HM contents in all lakes presented a consistent trend, i.e., Mn > Cr > Zn > Pb > Ni > Cu > Cd, while the highest concentrations were recorded in Lake Kerkini. Most of the HMs exceeded probable effect level value indicating a probable biological effect, while Ni in many cases even exceeded threshold effects level, suggesting severe toxic effects. P was dominantly bound to metal oxides, while a significant shift toward the labile fractions was observed during the spring period. The sum of potentially bioavailable HM fractions followed a downward trend of Mn > Cr > Pb > Zn > Cu > Ni > Cd for most lakes. The geoaccumulation index Igeo values of Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, and Zn in all lakes characterized the sediments as “unpolluted,” while many sediments in lakes Volvi and Kerkini were characterized as “moderately to heavily polluted” with regard to Cd. The descending order of potential ecological risk $$E_{\text{r}}^{i}$$ was Cd > Pb > Cu > Ni > Cr > Zn > Mn for all the studied lakes. Ni and Cr presented the highest toxic risk index values in all lake sediments. Finally, the role of mineralogical divergences among lake sediments on the contamination degree was signified.