30 June 2014
This website provides a platform for SEGH members to communicate their latest research and discussion topics with the rest of the SEGH community. Authors of articles could highlight their latest research in peer reviewed publications, conferences and events, it provides an opportunity for research students to write about their latest work and a platform for general discussions within the SEGH community.
Some notes: articles should be targeted at a general scientific audience owing to the multidisciplinary nature of SEGH, no more than 500 words in length, include JPEG photographs. Feel free to include links to research groups or peer reviewed papers.
Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
Over the past decade, ambient air particulate matter (PM) has been clearly associated with adverse health effects. In Brazil, small and poor communities are exposed to indoor dust derived from both natural sources, identified as blowing soil dust, and anthropogenic particles from mining activities. This study investigates the physicochemical and mineralogical composition of indoor PM10 dust samples collected in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and evaluates its cytotoxicity and inflammatory potential. The mean PM10 mass concentration was 206 μg/m3. The high dust concentration in the interior of the residences is strongly related to blowing soil dust. The chemical and mineralogical compositions were determined by ICP-OES and XRD, and the most prominent minerals were clays, Fe-oxide, quartz, feldspars, Al(hydr)oxides, zeolites, and anatase, containing the transition metals Fe, Cr, V, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ti, and Mn as well as the metalloid As. The indoor dust samples presented a low water solubility of about 6 %. In vitro experiments were carried out with human lung alveolar carcinoma cells (A549) to study the toxicological effects. The influence of the PM10 dust samples on cell viability, intracellular formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and release of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-8 was analysed. The indoor dust showed little effects on alamarBlue reduction indicating unaltered mitochondrial activity. However, significant cell membrane damage, ROS production, and IL-8 release were detected in dependence of dose and time. This study will support the implementation of mitigation actions in the investigated area in Brazil.
The history of uranium mining in Portugal during almost one century has followed international demand peaks of both radium and uranium, which in turn were driven by medical, military, and civil applications. Nowadays, following price drop in the 1980s, mining activities decreased and ceased in 2001. The current challenge is to deal with environmental legacies left by old uranium mines, mainly located in Viseu and Guarda districts. In 2001, based on several radiological surveys carried out, the Portuguese government assumed the remediation costs of abandoned mine areas for environmental safety and public health protection. Detailed environmental and public health risk assessments were performed under the scope of studies both requested by the government and by funded research projects. It was found that the existing risks, due to radiological and chemical exposures to metals and radionuclide’s, were particularly high at the old milling facilities and mines where in situ and heap leaching of low-grade ore occurred. The different studies, involving both humans and non-human species from different trophic levels, demonstrated the existence of effects at different levels of biological organization (molecular, cellular, tissues, individuals, and populations) and on ecosystem services. To mitigate the risks, the environmental rehabilitation works at the Urgeiriça mine complex are almost complete, while at Cunha Baixa mine, they are presently in progress. These works and environmental improvements achieved and expected are described herein.