SEGH Articles

Geochemistry for Sustainable development: Victoria Falls, Zambia

04 March 2018
Abstracts are now due for 9th March if you would like to be considered for an oral presentation. Please do hurry and submit your abstracts.

34th SEGH International Conference on Geochemistry for Sustainable development

Avani Victoria Falls Resort, Livingstone Zambia 2-7th July 2018.

Abstracts are now due for 9th March if you would like to be considered for an oral presentation.  Please do hurry and submit your abstracts, don't wait until after the deadline!  Consideration for oral and poster presentations will be undertaken by the scientific committee 12-16th March.  However, we will consider poster abstracts until April 13th.

Please view the conference website for details

Preparations for the conference are well underway, some of which were described in the last web article in November SEGH november article. You can find information regarding travel arrangements, accommodation, social events and suggestions for independent activities in the vicinity of Victoria Falls on

We have formulated a comprehensive social programme including the ice-breaker-registration, two poster evenings, each with drinks, food and music and the conference dinner (Boma) which will be held on the banks of the Zambezi in site of the edge of Victoria Falls. A braai (barbecue) will be provided at the Boma along with entertainment including traditional dancing and music. These activities are included within the registration fee with support from sponsors.  So far we have Agilent Technologies, Trace2O-Wagtech and Chemetrix signed up as official sponsors, with others in the process of signing up.


As a reminder, the key themes of the conference are:

Theme 1. Industrial and Urban Development

Theme 2. Agriculture

Theme 3. Health

Theme 4. Technologies

More information around these themes can be found on the conference webpage.


You will find additional information about the conference venue, location, how to get to Livingstone, surrounding town and opportunities for experiencing the natural wonder of Victoria Falls.  In addition, we have posted some information on suggestions for local accommodation for a range of budgets to which we will keep you updated as we confirm discounts with local accommodation via: , twitter on @SocEGH, @segh2018, updates and member emails.  If you have not already viewed the conference website, you will find information for registration and submission of abstracts.  Delegate payments will be handled in two ways.  Zambian nationals and sponsors to pay via the Zambian online shop, international delegates and sponsors to pay via the International online shop which will connect to the SEGH secure payment function using SagePay. Bank transfers can be made on request.

July 3-5th will comprise of conference presentations, whilst the 6th July will be offered to delegates as a free training day.  Details are shown on the conference website, please feel free to suggest other ideas or volunteer to run small working groups. On the 7th July will be a field trip to visit an African cultural centre, Agricultural research station and finish with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi.  We just ask for a contribution to the lunch on the fieldtrip and payment for the cruise, which includes a buffet and drinks.

Training day – tutorials are planned for the 6th July free of charge. Tutorials will include:

Epidemiology & health statistics – Dr Valerie McCormack from the International Agency for Research on Cancer-WHO will lead on a tutorial for epidemiology and health statistics (2 hours).  Dr Alex Stewart (retired) Public Health England will provide a following tutorial on the use of environmental and public health datasets (1 hour).

Stable Isotope tracers – Dr Andi Smith, British Geological Survey (1 hour)

Laboratory Quality Assurance – Dr Michael Watts & Mr Elliott Hamilton, British Geological Survey (1 hour)

Introduction to QGIS (freeware) – Dr Daniel Middleton IARC-WHO & Dr Louise Ander British Geological Survey (3 hours)

Introduction to the R platform for statistics - Professor Murray Lark, University of Nottingham/British Geological Survey (3 hours)


We look forward to seeing you beside the Victoria Falls known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, in Livingstone, Zambia.

By Michael Watts, Moola Mutondo, Kenneth Maseka and Godfrey Sakala

Chair of organising committee

Prof. Kenneth Maseka, Copperbelt University

Organising committee

Dr Michael Watts, British Geological Survey

Dr Moola Mutondo, Copperbelt University

Dr Godfrey Sakala, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute


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    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are amongst the pollutants of major concern in the terrestrial and aquatic habitats. They are mostly characterised by carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic effects. Distribution and potential health risks of sixteen priority PAHs in the water and sediment samples collected between December 2015 and June 2016 from Algoa Bay, South Africa, were evaluated. Water and sediment samples collected were extracted with liquid–liquid and soxhlet extraction methods, respectively, and then cleaned up using glass column loaded with silica gel. Final concentrations of the target PAHs were determined by gas chromatography interfaced with flame ionization detector. Results indicated that individual PAH concentrations in surface water, bottom water and sediment samples ranged from not detected (ND) to 24.66 µg/L, ND to 22.81 µg/L and ND to 5.23 mg/kg correspondingly. Total PAHs concentrations varied as 12.78–78.94 µg/L, 1.20–90.51 µg/L and 1.17–10.47 mg/kg in the three environmental matrices in that order. The non-carcinogenic risk was generally below 1, whereas risk indices (dermal contact) were above the acceptable limit of 1 × 10−4 in the water column, suggesting possible carcinogenic effects to humans, with adults being the most vulnerable. Similarly, highest contributions to TEQs and MEQs in the sediments were made by benzo(a)pyrene and dibenzo(a,h)anthracene, the two most toxic congeners, signifying the possibility of carcinogenicity and mutagenicity in humans. Diagnostic ratios of PAHs reflect a prevailing pyrogenic input all through. The pollution was albeit moderate, yet regular check is recommended to ensure safe and healthy environment for human and aquatic lives.

  • Potential exposure to metals and health risks of metal intake from Tieguanyin tea production in Anxi, China 2018-11-10


    The metal content of Tieguanyin tea from Anxi, Southeast China, was studied. Leaching experiments were designed based on the local tea-drinking habits, and tea infusions were prepared using three types of water and two methods of soaking tea. Twelve metals (Cd, As, Cr, Pb, Se, Sb, Ag, Tl, Cu, Zn, Be, and Ba) were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and a human health risk assessment was performed. The results showed that the quality of water used for steeping tea has a direct effect on the leaching concentrations of metals in the tea infusion and this effect can be reduced by using pure water or commercially available drinking water. Further, the two tea-soaking methods used by local residents can reduce the metal intake. The health risk assessment determined that the carcinogenic risk values of Cr, As, and Pb (Cr > Pb > As) were within an acceptable range (10−7–10−4); therefore, the concentrations of these metals in tea infusions do not pose substantial carcinogenic risk to tea drinkers. The results also indicate that the high concentrations of Tl in the tea infusions pose a substantial noncarcinogenic risk and may result from the dissolution characteristics of Tl and the water quality.

  • Health risk assessment and source apportionment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with PM 10 and road deposited dust in Ahvaz metropolis of Iran 2018-11-09


    The objective of this study was to compare the characteristics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in PM10 and road dust samples, as well as to identify and quantify the contributions of each source profile using the positive matrix factorization (PMF) receptor model. Health risk assessment was carried out using toxic equivalency factors and incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR), which quantitatively estimate the exposure risk for age-specific groups. PM10 samples were collected on PTFE filters in the metropolitan area of Ahvaz. Road dust samples were also collected from all over the urban areas with different land uses. Total PAH concentrations in PM10 and road dust samples were 0.5–25.5 ng/m3 and 49.3–16,645 µg/kg, respectively. Pyrene was the highest PAH in the PM10 profile, whereas fluoranthene became the highest PAH in the road dust. Abundance of benzo[ghi]perylene at PM10 and road dust samples suggested a source indicator for traffic emissions. The results demonstrate that in 36.5% of samples, PM10 concentrations exceed the maximum concentration level recommended by EPA. A multiple linear regression model was used to estimate the influence of meteorological parameters (temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity) on buildup of PAHs. All of PAH species show higher concentrations during the cold and typical days rather than the dust event days and warm periods. PMF analysis showed that vehicular emissions (50.6%) and industrial activities (especially steel industries) (30.4%) were first two sources of PAHs bounded with PM10, followed by diesel emissions (11.6%) and air–soil exchange (7.4%). For road dust samples, three common sources were also identified: vehicular traffic (48%), industrial activities (42.3%), and petrogenic sources (9.7%), in line with that of diagnostic molecular ratios results. According to the results of health risk assessment model, the ILCR of exposure to PAHs associated with PM10 and road-deposited dust was higher than the guidelines of USEPA, indicating high carcinogenic risk.