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Science in the News
Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
- Current status of arsenic exposure and social implication in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia 2015-08-23
To evaluate the current status of arsenic exposure in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia, field interview along with urine sample collection was conducted in the arsenic-affected area of Kandal Province, Cambodia. Urine samples were analyzed for total arsenic concentrations by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. As a result, arsenicosis patients (n = 127) had As in urine (UAs) ranging from 3.76 to 373 µg L−1 (mean = 78.7 ± 69.8 µg L−1; median = 60.2 µg L−1). Asymptomatic villagers (n = 108) had UAs ranging from 5.93 to 312 µg L−1 (mean = 73.0 ± 52.2 µg L−1; median = 60.5 µg L−1). About 24.7 % of all participants had UAs greater than 100 µg L−1 which indicated a recent arsenic exposure. A survey found that females and adults were more likely to be diagnosed with skin sign of arsenicosis than males and children, respectively. Education level, age, gender, groundwater drinking period, residence time in the village and amount of water drunk per day may influence the incidence of skin signs of arsenicosis. This study suggests that residents in Kandal study area are currently at risk of arsenic although some mitigation has been implemented. More commitment should be made to address this public health concern in rural Cambodia.
- Boron and strontium isotope ratios and major/trace elements concentrations in tea leaves at four major tea growing gardens in Taiwan 2015-08-09
Isotopic compositions of B and Sr in rocks and sediments can be used as tracers for plant provincial sources. This study aims to test whether tea leaf origin can be discriminated using 10B/11B and Sr isotopic composition data, along with concentrations of major/trace elements, in tea specimens collected from major plantation gardens in Taiwan. The tea leaves were digested by microwave and analyzed by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS). The data showed significant variations in 87Sr/86Sr ratios (from 0.70482 to 0.71462), which reflect changes in soil, groundwater or irrigation conditions. The most radiogenic tea leaves were found at the Taitung garden and the least radiogenic ones were from the Hualien garden. The δ 11B was found to change appreciably (δ 11B = 0.38–23.73 ‰) which could be due to fertilizers. The maximum δ 11B was also observed in tea samples from the Hualien garden. Principal component analysis combining 87Sr/86Sr, δ 11B and major/trace elements results successfully discriminated different sources of major tea gardens in Taiwan, except the Hualien gardens, and this may be due to rather complicated local geological settings.
- Analysis of the relationship between the blood concentration of several metals, macro- and micronutrients and endocrine disorders associated with male aging 2015-08-09
Beyond 30 years of age, men experience a decline in the production of testosterone, yet only a few develop late-onset hypogonadism. This study was designed to determine the relationship between blood concentrations of metals, macro- and micronutrients and age-related testosterone deficiency and associated hormonal changes in aging men. The research involved 313 men aged 50–75 years. We used ELISA to determine the concentrations of total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (FT), estradiol (E2), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). We calculated free androgen index (FAI). With the use of emission spectrometry in inductively coupled argon plasma, we determined the whole-blood concentrations of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As) and tungsten (W), as well as serum concentrations of magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), calcium (Ca), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn) and molybdenum (Mo). The study showed no relationship between TT and FT and the concentrations of metals. Men with TT deficiency had significantly lower concentrations of Mg and Fe and increased Mn. Men with FT deficiency had higher W and Cr levels and lower Fe. Assessing the correlation between the concentrations of hormones, SHBG and FAI, and the concentration of metals and macro- and microelements in the blood of the men, we found positive correlations between the concentrations of TT-Mg, TT-Fe, TT-Mo, FT-Fe, E2-As, SHBG-Mn, FAI-W, FAI-As, FAI-Zn and FAI-Ca, and negative correlations between the concentrations of TT-Mn, FT-Cd, FT-Cr, E2-Hg, E2-Cr, SHBG-W, SHBG-As, SHBG-Zn, SHBG-Ca, FAI-Pb and FAI-Mn. Positive correlations between As and E2 and between As and FAI may suggest a lack of association between this metal and hypogonadism in people not exposed to excess As levels. Our research indicates a positive relationship between the concentrations of Mg, Fe and Zn and endocrine system in aging men, in contrast to Mn and Cr. Toxic metals (Cd, Pb) seemed to negatively affect the level of bioavailable testosterone. In persons not exposed to As, As does not contribute late-onset hypogonadism. Heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Hg and W) may contribute to a lower concentration of DHEAS. The role of W in men with LOH was found to be ambiguous, as on the one hand its concentration was higher in men with FT deficiency, and on the other hand it positively correlated with FAI, which in turn indirectly indicates testosterone availability. Copper and selenium do not seem to play any significant role in the occurrence of TT deficiency in aging men.