SEGH Articles

The SEGH 2016 conference was a great success!!

26 January 2017
SEGH Brussels
110 delegates from 22 countries attended the meeting. Amongst them, 34 students actively participated, whom 5 received an EAG grant (covering the registration fee). 114 abstracts were reviewed by the scientific committee and accepted after potential corrections. The scientific programme was intense, including 59 talks and 55 posters. 
Four keynote speakers were invited: Prof. Reto Gieré from University of Pennsylvania (USA) , Prof. Montserrat Filella from Université de Genève (Switzerland), Prof. Elijah Petersen from NIST (USA), Prof. Vincent Balter from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (France) covering a large range of subjects like : Assessment of environmental and health impacts of airborne particulate matter;Nanoparticle reference materials; Criticity of trace elements in the current and future environments; Cancer-driven (Cu, Zn) isotopic fractionation.
A field-trip organized in the Liège's area ended the conference: the visit of the peat bogs from the Hautes-Fagnes - precious archives of the atmospheric deposits through the Holocene, was followed by the visit of the slag heaps surrounding Liège, which record a strong fingerprint of the metallurgical industries but currently develop a natural new ecosystem with specific metal-tolerant plants.
Three awards were distributed at the end of the event to: 
- Sebastiaan van de Velde (SEGH Best Oral)
- Alice Jarosikova (SEGH Best Poster)
- T. Gabriel Enge (Malcolm Brown Award for outstanding young scientist)
See the SEGH website for more details and articles on the works performed by the SEGH 2016 young scientist medalists.
The city of Brussels was extremely welcoming with a sunny weather and the conference venue was a convivial open space where delegates have deeply appreciated to lunch, discover Belgian beers, and overall initiate lively scientific discussions. 
In summary, the SEGH 2016 conference in Brussels has reached its initial objectives and even exceeded them; this annual conference provided a real scientific platform of high-quality for exchanges between complementary environment and health related disciplines: geochemistry, ecotoxicology, earth sciences, medicine, epidemiology, laboratory technologies and methodologies.
This would not have been possible without the organisation team from ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and the precious contributions from all the participants. Thank you very much to all delegates!
Looking forward to seeing you in China in 2017.
Nadine Mattielli.
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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


    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


    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


    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.