SEGH launches Fellow membership level.

The board of SEGH recently created a new level of membership: Fellow. This is an invitation-only membership level, and reflects the fact that the individual concerned has been very active within SEGH, or within the field which SEGH represents.

In May this year, the board considered and approved twenty-five nominations for the Fellow membership. Many of these have accepted. The membership level will be launched at the conference in July in Manchester, where we hope that many of them will be able to join us.

Some of the Fellows will be joining our team of mentors for the first time. It is nearly a year since our mentee scheme for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) was launched in Africa. We hope that many of the first cohort of Fellows and ECRs will be able to join us again in Manchester, and help to support new members.

Do you know someone who you think should be a Fellow? If so, please write to the board, (seghsecretary@gmail.com) suggesting why you think this should be the case, providing some background to this person. The board will then consider the proposal, and make an invitation to that person, if appropriate.

Watch this space: we will be introducing the Fellows to you on the website.


Our Fellows:

Alex Stewart

Alex Stewart

Alex Stewart is a medical doctor with extensive experience at the interface between health and the environment. He worked in Pakistan for 20 years then in the UK Public Health service until his retirement. He volunteers in his village and tries to fit in some academic writing and preaching.

Gillian Gibson

Gillian Gibson, MSc CEnv FIEMA

Gillian is an Environmental Scientist working in the wider arena of impact assessment and sustainability, both locally in the UK, and internationally. She is a registered environmental auditor, as well as being a highly respected trainer.

Gillian has run her own consultancy and training company for eighteen years, following thirty years work in the public and private sectors, as well as the education sector.

Shu Tao

Dr. Shu Tao

Dr. Shu Tao is a professor in College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University. He is a member of Chinese Academy of Science and a member of National Steering Committee on Environmental Protection. He serves as Associate Editor of Environmental Science & Technology. His current research interests include global emission inventories of various air pollutants, atmospheric transport and population exposure modeling, and household air quality. He has more than 200 papers published in peer-reviewed international journals with total citation over 16,000 and H-index (Web of Science) of 70.


Paula Marinho Reis

Paula Marinho Reis is Assistant Professor of Environmental Geology at the University of Minho, Braga, Portugal. Her main subjects of interest are environmental geochemistry and health, human exposure, health risk assessment, human biomonitoring, and urban geochemistry. Her latest research is on indoor dust and potential exposure to potentially toxic elements.


Professor Ming Hung Wong

Professor Ming Hung Wong is Editor-in-Chief of EGAH. He has been awarded a DSc Degree each, by University of Durham and University of Strathclyde in 1992 and 2004, respectively. He is one of the 3160 highly cited researchers (all disciplines) around the world, with H-index>100 (Ranking Web of Universities). http://www.webometrics.info/en/hlargerthan100


Anthea Brown, BA, BSc, FGS

SEGH Membership Secretary & Treasurer

I worked at the British Geological Survey from 1989 on the Geochemical Survey Programme in Wales; then I managed BGS Enquiries until retirement. I joined SEGH in 1990 and with my late husband, Malcolm, organised SEGH1994 conference at BGS, Keyworth and we were heavily involved in SEGH1997 along with Pat O’Connor at the Geological Survey of Ireland in Dublin.  I have enjoyed many SEGH conferences since then especially Zambia in 2018.


Michael Watts

Michael Watts is Head of Inorganic Geochemistry at the British Geological Survey and is an Associate Professor with the University of Nottingham through the joint Centre for Environmental Geochemistry. His research interests on geochemistry and ‘health’ interactions employs analytical chemistry for research on pollution pathways via ‘natural’ or anthropogenic geochemical sources and mineral nutrient dynamics in soil-crop-human/animal systems. Increasingly the research is multidisciplinary with greater emphasis towards challenges and partnerships in developing countries. Michael is currently the President for SEGH.



Jane Entwistle

Jane Entwistle is Associate Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) in the Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK, and Professor of Applied Geochemistry and Health. Her involvement in environmental geochemistry has developed over the years with a recent and on-going focus on the bioavailability and bioaccessibility of potentially harmful elements (PHEs) in the urban environment, working to promote evidence-informed policy-making in human health risk assessment. Current projects include research to advance our understanding of the environmental hazards posed by indoor dust (https://www.360dustanalysis.com - a global research initiative to get baseline data on harmful chemicals in regular households).


Dr. Chaosheng Zhang

Dr. Chaosheng Zhang works at National University of Ireland, Galway. His research focuses on spatial analyses of environmental variables, especially metals and nutrients in soils and soil organic carbon, using GIS, geostatistics and other spatial statistical techniques, to identify hotspots and quantify spatial variation, providing scientific bases for environmental management and precision agriculture.


Sanja Potgieter-Vermaak

Sanja Potgieter-Vermaak is a Senior Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, UK. She heads the environmental change research group in the Ecology and Environmental Research Centre at MMU. Her research focus is on the health effects of air pollution (using various in-vitro techniques) and she has expertise in the monitoring and chemical characterisation of airborne particles for different geochemical origins, as well as indoor environments. The emphasis is specifically on the inhalable size fraction (using novel techniques e.g. InSEM-Raman) and source apportionment of transition metals. Dr. Potgieter-Vermaak published 91 papers in prestigious journals for e.g. STOTEN, Atmospheric Environment and Environment International. She has been the lead researcher in air pollution monitoring and characterisation projects in Belgium and produced several reports on the findings.

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Science in the News

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Arsenic exposure and perception of health risk due to groundwater contamination in Majuli (river island), Assam, India 2019-07-19


    Island populations are rarely studied for risk of arsenic (As) poisoning. As poisoning, multimetal contamination and people’s perceptions of health risks were assessed on India’s Majuli Island, the largest inhabited river island in the world. This holistic approach illustrated the association of groundwater contamination status with consequent health risk by measuring levels of inorganic arsenic (iAs) in groundwater, borehole sediment and biological samples (hair, nails and urine). Piper and Gibbs’s plots discerned the underlying hydrogeochemical processes in the aquifer. Demographic data and qualitative factors were evaluated to assess the risks and uncertainties of exposure. The results exhibited significant enrichment of groundwater with As, Mn and Fe along with significant body burden. Maximum Hazard Index values indicated severe non-carcinogenic health impacts as well as a significantly elevated risk of cancer for both adults and children. Most (99%) of the locally affected population did not know about the adverse health impacts of metal contamination, and only 15% understood bodily ailments and health issues. Various aspects of the island environment were used to elucidate the status of contamination and future risk of disease. A projection showed adverse health outcomes rising significantly, especially among the young population of Majuli, due to overexposure to not only As but also Ba, Mn and Fe.

  • The contents of the potentially harmful elements in the arable soils of southern Poland, with the assessment of ecological and health risks: a case study 2019-07-19


    Agricultural soil samples were collected from the areas where edible plants had been cultivated in southern Poland. The PHE content decreased in proportion to the median value specified in brackets (mg/kg d.m.) as follows: Zn (192) > Pb (47.1) > Cr (19.6) > Cu (18.8) > Ni (9.91) > As (5.73) > Co (4.63) > Sb (0.85) > Tl (0.04) > Cd (0.03) > Hg (0.001) > Se (< LOQ). No PHE concentrations exceeded the permissible levels defined in the Polish law. The PHE solubility (extracted with CaCl2) in the total concentration ranged in the following order: Fe (3.3%) > Cd (2.50%) > Ni (0.75%) > Zn (0.48%) > Cu (0.19%) > Pb (0.10%) > Cr (0.03%). The soil contamination indices revealed moderate contamination with Zn, ranging from uncontaminated to moderately contaminated with Pb, and, practically, no contamination with other PHEs was identified. The ecological risk indices revealed that soils ranged from uncontaminated to slightly contaminated with Zn, Pb, As, Cu, and Ni. The PCA indicated natural sources of origin of Co, Cu, Hg, Sb, Zn, Cr, and Pb, as well as anthropogenic sources of origin of Cd, Ni, As, and Tl. The human health risk assessment (HHRA) for adults and children decreased in the following order of exposure pathways: ingestion > dermal contact > inhalation of soil particles. The total carcinogenic risk values for both adults and children were at the acceptable level under residential (1.62E−05 and 6.39E−05) and recreational scenario (5.41E−06 and 2.46E−05), respectively, as well as for adults in agricultural scenario (1.45E−05). The total non-carcinogenic risk values for both adults and children under residential scenario (1.63E−01 and 4.55E−01, respectively), under recreational scenario (2.88E−01 and 6.69E−01, respectively) and for adults (1.03E−01) under agricultural scenario indicated that adverse health effects were not likely to be observed. Investigated soils were fully suitable for edible plant cultivation.

  • Using human hair and nails as biomarkers to assess exposure of potentially harmful elements to populations living near mine waste dumps 2019-07-17


    Potentially harmful elements (PHEs) manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) were measured in human hair/nails, staple crops and drinking water to ascertain the level of exposure to dust transference via wind and rain erosion for members of the Mugala community living near a mine waste dump in the Zambian Copperbelt. The mean PHE concentrations of hair in decreasing order were Zn (137 ± 21 mg/kg), Cu (38 ± 7 mg/kg), Mn (16 ± 2 mg/kg), Pb (4.3 ± 1.9 mg/kg), Ni (1.3 ± 0.2 mg/kg) and Cr (1.2 ± 0.2 mg/kg), Co (0.9 ± 0.2 mg/kg) and Cd (0.30 ± 0.02 mg/kg). Whilst for toenails the decreasing order of mean concentrations was Zn (172 ± 27 mg/kg), Cu (30 ± 5 mg/kg), Mn (12 ± 2 mg/kg), Pb (4.8 ± 0.5 mg/kg), Ni (1.7 ± 0.14 mg/kg) and Co (1.0 ± 0.02 mg/kg), Cr (0.6 ± 0.1 mg/kg) and Cd (0.1 ± 0.002 mg/kg). The concentration of these potentially harmful elements (PHEs) varied greatly among different age groups. The results showed that Mn, Co, Pb, Cd and Zn were above the interval values (Biolab in Nutritional and environmental medicine, Hair Mineral Analysis, London, 2012) at 0.2–2.0 mg/kg for Mn, 0.01–0.20 mg/kg for Co, < 2.00 mg/kg for Pb, < 0.10 mg/kg for Cd and 0.2–2.00 mg/kg for Zn, whilst Ni, Cu and Cr concentrations were within the normal range concentrations of < 1.40 mg/kg, 10–100 mg/kg and 0.1–1.5 mg/kg, respectively. Dietary intake of PHEs was assessed from the ingestion of vegetables grown in Mugala village, with estimated PHE intakes expressed on a daily basis calculated for Mn (255), Pb (48), Ni (149) and Cd (33) µg/kg bw/day. For these metals, DI via vegetables was above the proposed limits of the provisional tolerable daily intakes (PTDIs) (WHO in Evaluation of certain food additive and contaminants, Seventy-third report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, 2011) for Mn at 70 µg/kg bw/day, Pb at 3 µg/kg bw/day, Ni and Cd 5 µg/kg bw/day and 1 µg/kg bw/day, respectively. The rest of the PHEs listed were within the PTDIs limits. Therefore, Mugala inhabitants are at imminent health risk due to lead, nickel and cadmium ingestion of vegetables and drinking water at this location.