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

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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.