| March 2016
Estimates suggest that more than 2 billion people could be suffering from micronutrient deficiencies. continue reading...
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| March 2016
Given the fact that by 2050 more than 80% of the European population will be living in cities (United Nations, 2014), the quality of the urban environment is becoming an important issue in the 21st century. continue reading...
04 July 2016
14 August 2016
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Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) isomers and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) metabolites were analyzed in sediments of three different depths (0–10, 10–20 and 20–30 cm) collected from Kabul River, Pakistan, in February 2014. The occurrence levels, enantiomer fractions and potential ecological risk of these organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) were evaluated. The total concentrations of ∑HCHs and ∑DDTs in surface sediments ranged from 4.9–23.9 ng g−1 and from 6.4–18.8 ng g−1 (dry weight basis), respectively. The vertical contamination profile of DDTs was found in order of 20–30 cm >10–20 cm >0–10 cm, indicated that the residue levels of DDTs gradually decreased after it was banned. The ratios of β-HCH/HCHs ranged from 0.04 to 0.73 (69 % of samples below 0.5) suggesting the fresh input of HCHs, while isomeric ratios of α-HCH/γ-HCH (ranged from 0.02 to 7.94), with 76 % of samples less than 3, indicating the cocktail use of technical grade HCH and lindane in the study area. The ratio of (DDE + DDD)/DDTs (ranged from 0.42 to 0.90) indicated long-term biodegradation of parent DDT. The enantiomer of α-HCH was generally racemic or close to racemic for most of the samples, with enantiomeric fraction (EF) value <0.5 for some of the samples indicated the preferential biodegradation of (+)-α-HCH enantiomer, while for o,p′-DDT the EF values >0.5 indicated the depletion of (-)-o,p′-DDT enantiomer in most of the samples. According to sediment quality guidelines (SQGs), HCH contamination is the main concern for ecotoxicological risk in Kabul River.
Elemental concentrations and bioaccessibility were determined in background soils collected in Canada as part of the North American Geochemical Landscapes Project. The concentrations of As, Cr, Cu, Co, Ni and Zn were higher in the C-horizon (parent material) compared to 0–5 cm (surface soil), and this observation along with the regional distribution suggested that most of the variability in concentrations of these elements were governed by the bedrock characteristics. Unlike the above-stated elements, Pb and Cd concentrations were higher in the surface layer reflecting the potential effects of anthropogenic deposition. Elemental bioaccessibility was variable decreasing in the order Cd > Pb > Cu > Zn > Ni > Co > As > Cr for the surface soils. With the exception of As, bioaccessibility was generally higher in the C-horizon soils compared to the 0–5 cm soils. The differences in metal bioaccessibility between the 0–5 cm and the C-horizon and among the provinces may reflect geological processes and speciation. The mean, median or 95th percentile bioaccessibility for As, Cr, Cu, Co, Ni and Pb were all below 100 %, suggesting that the use of site-specific bioaccessibility results for these elements will yield more accurate estimation of the risk associated with oral bioavailability for sites where soil ingestion is the major contributor of human health risk.
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and particle-number concentrations (PNC) were monitored in train carriages on seven routes of the mass transit railway in Hong Kong between March and May 2014, using real-time monitoring instruments. The 8-h average PM2.5 levels in carriages on the seven routes ranged from 24.1 to 49.8 µg/m3, higher than levels in Finland and similar to those in New York, and in most cases exceeding the standard set by the World Health Organisation (25 µg/m3). The CO2 concentration ranged from 714 to 1801 ppm on four of the routes, generally exceeding indoor air quality guidelines (1000 ppm over 8 h) and reaching levels as high as those in Beijing. PNC ranged from 1506 to 11,570 particles/cm3, lower than readings in Sydney and higher than readings in Taipei. Correlation analysis indicated that the number of passengers in a given carriage did not affect the PM2.5 concentration or PNC in the carriage. However, a significant positive correlation (p < 0.001, R 2 = 0.834) was observed between passenger numbers and CO2 levels, with each passenger contributing approximately 7.7–9.8 ppm of CO2. The real-time measurements of PM2.5 and PNC varied considerably, rising when carriage doors opened on arrival at a station and when passengers inside the carriage were more active. This suggests that air pollutants outside the train and passenger movements may contribute to PM2.5 levels and PNC. Assessment of the risk associated with PM2.5 exposure revealed that children are most severely affected by PM2.5 pollution, followed in order by juveniles, adults and the elderly. In addition, females were found to be more vulnerable to PM2.5 pollution than males (p < 0.001), and different subway lines were associated with different levels of risk.