SEGH Articles

# SEGH 2015 Bratislava

09 December 2014
The local organising institution of the 31st International Conference of the SEGH in 2015 was established in 1940 and performs the tasks of the State Geological Survey of the Slovak Republic.

State Geological Institute of Dionyz Stur (SGIDS) (http://www.geology.sk/new/en) the local organising institution of the 31st International Conference of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health in 2015 was established in 1940 and performs the tasks of the State Geological Survey of the Slovak Republic. As a state contributory organization it is supervised by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic. Its activities focus mainly on solutions of geological research and exploration projects, creation and application of the information system in geology, registration, collection, evidence and making the results of geological works carried out at the territory of the Slovak Republic available to the public. SGIDS provides independent expertise, lecturing, consulting and advisory activities and compiles the input documents for the state administration. Our organisation successfully organised the SEGH conference as early as in 2006 and has also long-term experience in organizing a number of international meetings and workshops.

Local organising committee consists of a group of junior and senior geochemists working either at the State Geological Institute of Dionyz Stur or Comenius University Bratislava, Faculty of Natural Sciences as well as hygienists and epidemiologists from public health authorities and the World Health Organisation.

The head of the committee is Stanislav Rapant, senior researcher in the field of environmental geology, environmental geochemistry, geological mapping, regional geochemistry, environmental monitoring, geochemical prospection and hydrogeochemistry. He was one of the leading researchers and editors within the programme of Geochemical Atlases of the Slovak Republic carried out in the past. In the last 15 years he has been dealing with the research in the field of medical geology and geochemistry and was in charge of several medical-geochemical projects performed at regional level in the Slovak Republic. Nowadays, he is a project manager of two projects financed under the EU Life+ programme GEOHEALTH (LIFE10 ENV/SK/086, http://www.geology.sk/geohealth /? lang=en) and LIFE FOR KRUPINA (LIFE12 ENV/SK/094, www.geology.sk/lifeforkrupina). Both projects are highly innovative and bring new methodological approaches for analysis of a geological environment and human health relationship.

The 31st SEGH Conference in 2015 will be held in Bratislava, the Slovak Republic also on the occasion of the final implementation of the project GEOHEALTH (LIFE10 ENV/SK/086) that financially supports this event.

Project GEOHEALTH aims to analyse and reduce negative impact of geological environment on the health status of residents of the Slovak Republic. The background project information and presentation of its partial results and outputs is published on the project website http://www.geology.sk/geohealth/?lang=en. So far, project team members have actively presented the project results on the following international forums: Aveiro, Portugal 2012 (ISEG), Toulouse, France (SEGH 2013) and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK (SEGH 2014).

GEOHEALTH project background information

The main project objective is to link the information on the health status of Slovak residents (health indicators) with the data on geochemical background (environmental indicators) in order to analyse a relationship between geological environment and human health in the Slovak Republic. The dataset of health indicators was compiled based on ICD registry, 10th revision and WHO methodology and consists of health indicators characterising various causes of deaths at a municipality level (2,883 municipalities in total). The main emphasis is particularly laid on the most common causes of deaths in our country including cardiovascular and oncological diseases (about 75% of all death causes). Other causes of deaths e.g. diseases of gastrointestinal tract, respiratory diseases and diseases of endocrine system are also subject to our analysis. The dataset of environmental indicators was compiled at the same municipal level and based on all available geochemical data obtained within the environmental-geochemical mapping programme in the Slovak Republic including groundwater and soils. The compiled datasets of health and environmental indicators provide unified information on health status and geochemical background for the whole Slovak territory at a municipality level. We have created a model of more than 5.5 million of Slovak inhabitants in order to analyse the associations between geochemical environment and human health. Except for standard statistical methods of data analysis (linear, Spearman correlations), we have also used a method of artificial intelligence – neural networks. So far, we have not processed all the data but we have achieved some partial results of our study. These results point out to the fact that there are macro-elements (mainly Ca, Mg, Ca+Mg, Na, K) which report the most significant and decisive influence on human health status of residents. The influence of potentially toxic elements such as As, Pb, Hg, Cu, Cd and others is of a much lower significance than we have supposed earlier. The most common causes of deaths – cardiovascular and oncological diseases – are very closely associated with chemical contents of Ca and Mg in groundwater/drinking water as well as in soils. The municipalities with Ca and Mg deficit in geochemical environment (geochemical background – silicate volcanic, granitic and metamorphic rocks) are characterised by higher occurrence of deaths due to cardiovascular and oncological diseases (often more than 50%) on the contrary to  the municipalities with higher contents of both chemical elements in groundwater and soils (geochemical background – carbonates, flysh sediments).  In addition, the mean life expectancy of residents living in carbonate geological environment is significantly higher (about 2 – 4 years) than of those living in silicate geological environment.

Project partial results were published as original scientific papers in international magazines and are available together with the information on project progress at http://www.geology.sk/geohealth/?lang=en.

The presentation of Geohealth project results will take place in the scientific programme of the SEGH conference in 2015, including methodology for compilation of datasets of environmental and health indicators from national databases and registries, neural network analysis of environmental and health data, definition of optimum range of chemical concentrations in groundwater and soils in relation to human health.

The 31st SEGH conference addresses experts in the field of environmental geochemistry and medical geochemistry and similar disciplines to exchange their experience.

The main topic of the conference: The link between environment and health.

The main conference themes include:

Theme 1: Health aspects of contamination of geological environment – waters, soils, sediments, air (risk assessment, risk management, legislative background, analytical procedures, monitoring),

Theme 2: Deficit and/or excess of chemical elements in geological environment and their health effects on humans, human biomonitoring

Theme 3: Linking of geochemical and medical data – datasets, procedures, methods.

Bratislava is the capital city of the Slovak Republic, situated in south-western part of the country (60 kilometres from Vienna), occupying both banks of the Danube River, the left bank of the Morava River and at foothills of Little Carpathians Mts. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries. Bratislava is the political, cultural, and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament, and the Slovak Executive. It is home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other important cultural and educational institutions.

All relevant information about the conference can be found at conference website www.geology.sk/geohealth/segh-conference-2015.  More details also on the SEGH Events page.

The members of organising committee look forward to welcoming you to Bratislava in 2015.

Katarína Fajčíková,
State Geological Institute of Dionyz Stur (ŠGÚDŠ)
Bratislava
Slovak Republic

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## 34th SEGH International Conference: Geochemistry for Sustainable Development

Victoria Falls, Zambia

02 July 2018

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## Science in theNews

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

• Fertilizer usage and cadmium in soils, crops and food 2018-06-23

### Abstract

Phosphate fertilizers were first implicated by Schroeder and Balassa (Science 140(3568):819–820, 1963) for increasing the Cd concentration in cultivated soils and crops. This suggestion has become a part of the accepted paradigm on soil toxicity. Consequently, stringent fertilizer control programs to monitor Cd have been launched. Attempts to link Cd toxicity and fertilizers to chronic diseases, sometimes with good evidence, but mostly on less certain data are frequent. A re-assessment of this “accepted” paradigm is timely, given the larger body of data available today. The data show that both the input and output of Cd per hectare from fertilizers are negligibly small compared to the total amount of Cd/hectare usually present in the soil itself. Calculations based on current agricultural practices are used to show that it will take centuries to double the ambient soil Cd level, even after neglecting leaching and other removal effects. The concern of long-term agriculture should be the depletion of available phosphate fertilizers, rather than the negligible contamination of the soil by trace metals from fertilizer inputs. This conclusion is confirmed by showing that the claimed correlations between fertilizer input and Cd accumulation in crops are not robust. Alternative scenarios that explain the data are presented. Thus, soil acidulation on fertilizer loading and the effect of Mg, Zn and F ions contained in fertilizers are considered using recent $$\hbox {Cd}^{2+}$$ , $$\hbox {Mg}^{2+}$$ and $$\hbox {F}^-$$ ion-association theories. The protective role of ions like Zn, Se, Fe is emphasized, and the question of Cd toxicity in the presence of other ions is considered. These help to clarify difficulties in the standard point of view. This analysis does not modify the accepted views on Cd contamination by airborne delivery, smoking, and industrial activity, or algal blooms caused by phosphates.

• Effects of conversion of mangroves into gei wai ponds on accumulation, speciation and risk of heavy metals in intertidal sediments 2018-06-23

### Abstract

Mangroves are often converted into gei wai ponds for aquaculture, but how such conversion affects the accumulation and behavior of heavy metals in sediments is not clear. The present study aims to quantify the concentration and speciation of heavy metals in sediments in different habitats, including gei wai pond, mangrove marsh dominated by Avicennia marina and bare mudflat, in a mangrove nature reserve in South China. The results showed that gei wai pond acidified the sediment and reduced its electronic conductivity and total organic carbon (TOC) when compared to A. marina marsh and mudflat. The concentrations of Cd, Cu, Zn and Pb at all sediment depths in gei wai pond were lower than the other habitats, indicating gei wai pond reduced the fertility and the ability to retain heavy metals in sediment. Gei wai pond sediment also had a lower heavy metal pollution problem according to multiple evaluation methods, including potential ecological risk coefficient, potential ecological risk index, geo-accumulation index, mean PEL quotients, pollution load index, mean ERM quotients and total toxic unit. Heavy metal speciation analysis showed that gei wai pond increased the transfer of the immobilized fraction of Cd and Cr to the mobilized one. According to the acid-volatile sulfide (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEM) analysis, the conversion of mangroves into gei wai pond reduced values of ([SEM] − [AVS])/f oc , and the role of TOC in alleviating heavy metal toxicity in sediment. This study demonstrated the conversion of mangrove marsh into gei wai pond not only reduced the ecological purification capacity on heavy metal contamination, but also enhanced the transfer of heavy metals from gei wai pond sediment to nearby habitats.

• Cytotoxicity induced by the mixture components of nickel and poly aromatic hydrocarbons 2018-06-22

### Abstract

Although particulate matter (PM) is composed of various chemicals, investigations regarding the toxicity that results from mixing the substances in PM are insufficient. In this study, the effects of low levels of three PAHs (benz[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, and dibenz[a,h]anthracene) on Ni toxicity were investigated to assess the combined effect of Ni–PAHs on the environment. We compared the difference in cell mortality and total glutathione (tGSH) reduction between single Ni and Ni–PAHs co-exposure using A549 (human alveolar carcinoma). In addition, we measured the change in Ni solubility in chloroform that was triggered by PAHs to confirm the existence of cation–π interactions between Ni and PAHs. In the single Ni exposure, the dose–response curve of cell mortality and tGSH reduction were very similar, indicating that cell death was mediated by the oxidative stress. However, 10 μM PAHs induced a depleted tGSH reduction compared to single Ni without a change in cell mortality. The solubility of Ni in chloroform was greatly enhanced by the addition of benz[a]anthracene, which demonstrates the cation–π interactions between Ni and PAHs. Ni–PAH complexes can change the toxicity mechanisms of Ni from oxidative stress to others due to the reduction of Ni2+ bioavailability and the accumulation of Ni–PAH complexes on cell membranes. The abundant PAHs contained in PM have strong potential to interact with metals, which can affect the toxicity of the metal. Therefore, the mixture toxicity and interactions between diverse metals and PAHs in PM should be investigated in the future.