SEGH Articles

SEGH 2014 Conference Report

08 September 2014
Northumbria University welcomed over 120 delegates from over 25 countries to SEGH 2014.

 

Northumbria University welcomed over 120 delegates from over 25 countries to SEGH2014. The meeting attracted delegates from across Europe, but also further afield from the USA, Mexico, Canada, Pakistan, Vietnam, Namibia and Nigeria, to hear the 51 papers and 40 posters presented. Human impacts on our atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere were discussed over the five days, with the linkages between human health and the environment a central focus.

In the opening session on ‘Air & Dust Pollution and Human Health’, Professor Frank Kelly (King’s College London), gave a timely and considered overview of the PM (particulate matter) burden to which populations are exposed and recent developments in evidence of how PM2.5 elicit health effects in humans. The subsequent session speakers considered how we detect, assess, model and practically tackle air pollution.

The session on ‘Environmental Iodine and the Deficiency Disorders’ generated a lively and stimulating set of papers and posters covering our current environmental knowledge and health perceptions, and highlighted ‘myths, misunderstandings and deficiencies’ along with further research needs.

As part of a special session on ‘Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and health’ we heard a thought-provoking set of interlinked talks given by Professor Mike Stephenson (British Geological Survey), Professor Fred Worrall (Durham University), and Mr Robie Kamanyire (Public Health England). Current concerns raised in the media about the process of hydraulic fracturing were examined and discussed along with the potential public health impacts of exposures to chemical and radioactive pollutants as a result of shale gas extraction.

The central themes of risk, exposure assessment, bioavailability and bioaccessibility were explored over two days of sessions. Keynotes were given by Dr Frank Swartjes (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands) and Professor Steven Sicilliano (University of Saskatchewan, Canada).  These talks, along with many of the session presenters, explored how the chemical and physical properties of soil influence the movement of pollutants from the environment into our bodies. Arsenic and Pb provided the main focus for a number of speakers, but Cd, Cu, Mg, Hg, V, along with Benzo[a]pyrene and a range of other PHEs, were also considered.   

The Conference Dinner, a Northumbrian-themed evening with local food and local music, took place in the Great Hall at Jesmond Dene House, and was attended by over 60 delegates. Photographs, taken by Ms Rosina Leonard, Geological Survey of Namibia, are available on line at Click here to view SEGH 2014

Thank you Rosina!

Finally, at the end of the week a few hardy (although they didn't realise this at the time!) delegates joined Mr Phil Hartley (Newcastle City Council) and Ms Lesley Dunlop (Northumbria University) to explore of the North-East’s industrial history and cultural heritage. However, after an amazing week of unusually good British ‘summer’ weather (yes sunshine and no rain on every day prior to the fieldtrip) our luck ran out.

Hadrian’s Wall at Cawfields. A stretch of Hadrian's Wall on a steep slope, with turrets and an impressive milecastle, probably built by the Second Legion.

 

 

 

 

But we donned hard hats, wellington boots and head torches to venture into Killhope lead mine. The mine owners hope everyone has now warmed up and dried out again! 


Killhope Lead Mine, Cowshill, Co. Durham

So just a final thank you to all who participated in SEGH 2014, and to the many new society members. Northumbria University looks forward to welcoming you to Newcastle again – but in the meantime we hope to see many of you in Bratislava in June 2015.  See www.segh.net for details.

 

 

by Jane Entwistle

(SEGH Chair 2014)

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

  • Exposure to respirable and fine dust particle over North-Central India: chemical characterization, source interpretation, and health risk analysis 2019-12-10

    Abstract

    This study enhances the understanding of the particulate matters (PM2.5 and PM10) and their physical and chemical behavior over the Taj Mahal, Agra, in North-Central India. The mass concentration was determined, and the shape and size of the particles and chemical characterizations have been carried out using SEM–EDX. The high level and significant variation of PM10 (162.2 µg m−3) and PM2.5 (83.9 µg m−3) were observed. The exceedance factor of the present study region is in critical and moderate condition. Morphological characterization reveals the particles of different shapes and sizes, while elemental analysis shows the presence of Si, Al, Fe, Ca, K, Cl, Mg, Na, Cu, and Zn. The dominance of Si indicated the contribution of natural sources, i.e., soil over this region. Three significant sources, viz. soil/road paved dust/vegetative emissions, vehicular/industrial emissions, and intermingling of dust and combustion particles, have been identified using principal component analysis over North-Central India. Health risk analysis of particulate matter identified carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic metals in the present study, which comes in contact with human beings during inhalation. The non-carcinogenic risk was much higher than the acceptable level. The high carcinogenic risks were found in Zn in PM10 and Cu in PM2.5 for both children and adults.

  • Integration of remote sensing data and in situ measurements to monitor the water quality of the Ismailia Canal, Nile Delta, Egypt 2019-12-10

    Abstract

    The Ismailia Canal is one of the most important tributaries of the River Nile in Egypt. It is threatened by extinction from several sources of pollution, in addition to the intersection and nearness of the canal path with the Bilbayes drain and the effluent from the two largest conventional wastewater treatment plants in Greater Cairo. In this study, the integration of remote sensing and geospatial information system techniques is carried out to enhance the contribution of satellite data in water quality management in the Ismailia Canal. A Landsat-8 operational land imager image dated 2018 was used to detect the land use and land cover changes in the area of study, in addition to retrieving various spectral band ratios. Statistical correlations were applied among the extracted band ratios and the measured in situ water quality parameters. The most appropriate spectral band ratios were extracted from the NIR band (near infrared/blue), which showed a significant correlation with eight water quality metrics (CO3, BOD5, COD, TSS, TDS, Cl, NH4, and fecal coliform bacteria). A linear regression model was then established to predict information about these important water quality parameters along Ismailia Canal. The developed models, using linear regression equations for this study, give a set of powerful decision support frameworks with statistical tools to provide comprehensive, integrated views of surface water quality information under similar circumstances.

  • Geophagy among East African Chimpanzees: consumed soils provide protection from plant secondary compounds and bioavailable iron 2019-12-01

    Abstract

    Geophagy, the intentional consumption of earth materials, has been recorded in humans and other animals. It has been hypothesized that geophagy is an adaptive behavior, and that clay minerals commonly found in eaten soil can provide protection from toxins and/or supplement micronutrients. To test these hypotheses, we monitored chimpanzee geophagy using camera traps in four permanent sites at the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda, from October 2015–October 2016. We also collected plants, and soil chimpanzees were observed eating. We analyzed 10 plant and 45 soil samples to characterize geophagic behavior and geophagic soil and determine (1) whether micronutrients are available from the soil under physiological conditions and if iron is bioavailable, (2) the concentration of phenolic compounds in plants, and (3) if consumed soils are able to adsorb these phenolics. Chimpanzees ate soil and drank clay-infused water containing 1:1 and 2:1 clay minerals and > 30% sand. Under physiological conditions, the soils released calcium, iron, and magnesium. In vitro Caco-2 experiments found that five times more iron was bioavailable from three of four soil samples found at the base of trees. Plant samples contained approximately 60 μg/mg gallic acid equivalent. Soil from one site contained 10 times more 2:1 clay minerals, which were better at removing phenolics present in their diet. We suggest that geophagy may provide bioavailable iron and protection from phenolics, which have increased in plants over the last 20 years. In summary, geophagy within the Sonso community is multifunctional and may be an important self-medicative behavior.