SEGH Articles

Health Protection: Principles and practice

14 October 2016
Do you struggle with understanding how to respond to the human health implications of environmental contamination? Dr Alex Stewart, a medical board member of SEGH, is an editor and contributing author of a new text covering the public health response.
Do you struggle with understanding how to respond to the human health implications of environmental contamination? Dr Alex Stewart, a medical board member of SEGH, is an editor and contributing author of a new text covering the public health response (known as health protection) to such situations, as well as to emergencies and incidents of infectious diseases.
  • The text comprehensively covers health protection with relevance to practitioners working in every area of the field, whether in public health or environmental sciences or other professions.
  • There are detailed descriptions with practical examples of how to respond to rapidly changing emergencies and complex and chronic environmental hazards and situations.
  • Guidance is provided on the practice of health protection through case studies and scenarios; each one is a realistic insight into health protection situations.
  • Uniquely, the book includes quick reference checklists (SIMCARDs) which provide a hands-on way of dealing with and providing public health advice on different health protection situations (acute & chronic), through concise, practically-focussed crib sheets of essential information and tasks covering a broad range of health protection topics: ideal for use in the field or even exam revision.
  • The textbook is relevant for non-specialists such as environmental scientists, as well as public health and health protection specialists. For non-specialists, and those without a medical background, the first four chapters give the grounding necessary to use the remainder of the book in a practical way.
Health Protection: Principles and practice is the first textbook in health protection to address all three domains within the field — environmental public health; emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR); and communicable disease control — in a comprehensive and integrated manner. Written by leading practitioners in the field, the book is rooted in a practice-led, all-hazards approach, which allows for easy real-world application of the topics discussed.
The chapters are arranged in six sections:
1 In-depth introduction to the principles of health protection
Case studies and scenarios to describe common and important issues in the practice of health protection:
2 Infectious disease
3 Emergency preparedness, resilience and response
4 Environmental public health
5 Health protection tools (epidemiology, statistics, infection control, immunisation, disease surveillance, audit and service improvement)
6 Evidence about new and emerging issues, including environmental issues and disasters.
The book includes more than 100 checklists (SIMCARDs), covering the three domains of health protection. Written from first-hand experience of managing such issues, these provide practical, stand-alone quick reference guides for use in many, if not most, situations, likely or unlikely, that can and will be faced in this continually evolving field.
Both the topical content of Health Protection: Principles and practice, and the clearly described health protection principles the book provides, make it a highly relevant resource for professionals within and without public health and health protection.
Health Protection: Principles and practice. Edited by Samuel Ghebrehewet, Alex G. Stewart, David Baxter, Paul Shears, David Conrad, Merav Kliner. Oxford: OUP, 2016. Pp480
ISBN-10: 0198745478  ISBN-13: 978-0198745471
Keep up to date

Submit Content

Members can keep in touch with their colleagues through short news and events articles of interest to the SEGH community.

Science in the News

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

  • Date palm waste biochars alter a soil respiration, microbial biomass carbon, and heavy metal mobility in contaminated mined soil 2017-04-19


    A 30-day incubation experiment was conducted using a heavy metal-contaminated mined soil amended with date palm feedstock (FS) and its derivative biochars (BCs) at three pyrolysis temperatures of 300 (BC-300), 500 (BC-500), and 700 °C (BC-700) with different application rates (0.0, 5, 15, and 30 g kg−1) to investigate their short-term effects on soil respiration (CO2–C efflux), microbial biomass carbon (MBC), soil organic carbon (SOC), mobile fraction of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn, Mn, and Fe), pH, and electrical conductivity (EC). The results showed that FS and BC-300 with increasing addition rate significantly reduced soil pH, whereas SOC, CO2–C efflux, and soil MBC were increased compared to the control. On the contrary, BC-500 and BC-700 increased soil pH at early stage of incubation and have small or no effects on SOC, CO2–C efflux, and MBC. Based on the results, the date palm biochars exhibited much lower cumulative CO2–C efflux than feedstock, even with low-temperature biochar, indicating that BCs have C sequestration potential. Applying BC-700 at 15 and 30 g kg−1 significantly reduced cumulative CO2–C efflux by 21.8 and 45.4% compared to the control, respectively. The incorporation of FS into contaminated soil significantly increased the mobile content of Cd and Mn, but decreased the mobile content of Cu. However, BC-300 significantly reduced the mobile content of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn. It could be concluded that low-temperature biochar could be used as a soil amendment for reducing heavy metal mobility in mining contaminated soil in addition to minimize soil CO2–C efflux.

  • Historical record of anthropogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a lake sediment from the southern Tibetan Plateau 2017-04-17


    High-altitude lake sediments can be used as natural archives to reconstruct the history of pollutants. In this work, the temporal distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was determined in a sediment core collected from the southern Tibetan Plateau (TP), which was dated by using the 210Pb dating method and validated with the 137Cs fallout peak. The concentrations of the anthropogenic PAHs (Σ8PAH) in the sediment core ranged from 0.83 to 12 ng/g dw, and the fluxes of the Σ8PAH were in the range of 2.1–27 g/cm2/year. The temporal variations in the concentration and input flux of anthropogenic PAHs were low with little variability before the 1950s, and then gradually increased from the 1950s to the 1980s, and an accelerated increase was observed after the early 1980s. The content of total organic carbon played an insignificant role in affecting the time trends of PAHs in the sediment core. Diagnostic concentration fractions of PAH components indicate PAHs in the lake sediment of the southern TP which are mainly from biomass burning and/or from long-range atmospheric transport.

  • Determination of the potential implementation impact of 2016 ministry of environmental protection generic assessment criteria for potentially contaminated sites in China 2017-04-12


    The Ministry of Environmental Protection of China issued a 3rd draft edition of risk-based Generic Assessment Criteria (the MEP-GAC) in March 2016. Since these will be the first authoritative GAC in China, their implementation is likely to have a significant impact on China’s growing contaminated land management sector. This study aims to determine the potential implementation impact of the MEP-GAC through an in-depth analysis of the management context, land use scenarios, health criteria values adopted and exposure pathways considered. The MEP-GAC have been proposed for two broad categories of land use scenarios for contaminated land risk assessment, and these two categories of land use scenarios need to be further delved, and a MEP-GAC for Chinese cultivated land scenario ought to be developed, to ensure human health protection of Chinese farmers. The MEP-GAC have adopted 10−6 as the acceptable lifetime cancer risk, given the widespread extent and severe level of land contamination in China, consideration should be given to the decision on excess lifetime cancer risk of 10−5. During risk assessment process in practice, it is better to review the 20% TDI against local circumstances to determine their suitability before adopting it. The MEP-GAC are based on a SOM value of 1%, for regions with particularly high SOM, it might be necessary to develop regional GAC, due to SOM’s significant impact on the GAC developed. An authoritative risk assessment model developed based on HJ25.3-2014 would help facilitate the DQRA process in practice. The MEP-GAC could better reflect the likely exposures of China’s citizens due to vapour inhalation by using characteristics of Chinese exposure scenarios, including China-generic building stock, as inputs into the Johnson and Ettinger model as opposed to adoption of the US EPA parameters. The MEP-GAC once implemented will set the trajectory for the development of the investigation, assessment and remediation of land contamination for years.