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University of Texas
30 March 2015
22 June 2015
13 December 2015
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Science in the News
Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
- The UK geochemical environment and cardiovascular diseases: magnesium in food and water 2014-12-21
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) contribute approximately one-third to noncommunicable diseases in the UK. The central role of magnesium in CVDs (enzyme activity, cardiac signalling, etc.) is well established. Mortality and morbidity rates for CVDs may be inversely related to water hardness, suggesting a role for environmental magnesium. Published official and quasi-official data sources were evaluated to establish a model magnesium intake for a representative adult: standardised reference individual (SRI), standardised reference male (SRM) or standardised reference female (SRF). For typical dietary constituents, only tap water is probably locally derived and bottled water may not be. Fruits and vegetables are imported from many countries, while meat, dairy and cereal products represent a composite of UK source areas. Alcoholic beverages provide magnesium, there is doubt about its absorptive efficiency, and they are not locally derived. A simple model was devised to examine the effect of varying dietary contributions to total daily intake of magnesium. Omitting tap or bottled water, the combined intake, solid food plus alcoholic beverages, is 10.57 mmol Mg (84.5 % RNI) for the SRM and for the SRF, 8.10 mmol Mg (71.7 % RNI). Consumers drinking water derived from reservoirs or rivers, or supplementing it with the purest bottled water, improve their magnesium intake only slightly compared with water containing no magnesium. Choosing bottled water with high magnesium content when the public supply derives from rivers or reservoirs partially satisfies magnesium needs. Real improvement in SRI magnesium nutrition is seen only where water is hard. However, this conclusion cannot be validated until new measurement technologies for body magnesium become available.
- Pollution profiles and risk assessment of PBDEs and phenolic brominated flame retardants in water environments within a typical electronic waste dismantling region 2014-12-14
The aim of this study was to assess the pollution profiles of various typical brominated flame retardants in water and surface sediment near a typical electronic waste dismantling region in southern China. We found that polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), 2,4,6-tribromophenol (TBP), pentabromophenol (PeBP), tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), and bisphenol A (BPA) were ubiquitous in the water and sediment samples collected in the study region. In water, Σ19PBDEs (sum of all 20 PBDE congeners studied except BDE-209, which was below the detection limit) levels ranged from 0.31 to 8.9 × 102 ng L−1. TBP, PeBP, TBBPA, and BPA concentrations in the water samples ranged from not being detectable (nd—under the detection limit) to 3.2 × 102 (TBP), from nd to 37 (PeBP), from nd to 9.2 × 102 (TBBPA) and from nd–8.6 × 102 ng L−1 (BPA). In sediment, Σ19PBDEs ranged from nd to 5.6 × 103 ng g−1, while BDE-209 was the predominant congener, with a range of nd to 3.5 × 103 ng g−1. Tri- to hepta-BDE concentrations were significantly (p < 0.01) correlated with each other, except for BDE-71 and BDE-183, and octa- to nona-BDEs concentrations were significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with each other, except for BDE-208. BDE-209 was not significantly correlated with tri- to nona-BDEs. Risk assessments indicated that the water and sediment across the sampling sites posed no estrogenic risk. However, different eco-toxicity risk degrees at three trophic levels did exist at most sampling sites.
- Particle size distribution and air pollution patterns in three urban environments in Xi’an, China 2014-12-13
Three urban environments, office, apartment and restaurant, were selected to investigate the indoor and outdoor air quality as an inter-comparison in which CO2, particulate matter (PM) concentration and particle size ranging were concerned. In this investigation, CO2 level in the apartment (623 ppm) was the highest among the indoor environments and indoor levels were always higher than outdoor levels. The PM10 (333 µg/m3), PM2.5 (213 µg/m3), PM1 (148 µg/m3) concentrations in the office were 10–50 % higher than in the restaurant and apartment, and the three indoor PM10 levels all exceeded the China standard of 150 µg/m3. Particles ranging from 0.3 to 0.4 µm, 0.4 to 0.5 µm and 0.5 to 0.65 µm make largest contribution to particle mass in indoor air, and fine particles number concentrations were much higher than outdoor levels. Outdoor air pollution is mainly affected by heavy traffic, while indoor air pollution has various sources. Particularly, office environment was mainly affected by outdoor sources like soil dust and traffic emission; apartment particles were mainly caused by human activities; restaurant indoor air quality was affected by multiple sources among which cooking-generated fine particles and the human steam are main factors.