SEGH Articles

SEGH2019 Prize Winners Series: Carly Woods

12 August 2019
Carly Woods, a PhD researcher at the University of the West of Scotland, won the second-best overall ECR presentation prize and shares her experience of SEGH2019 with us!

The 35th International Conference on Geochemistry and Health

From 1st -5th July, the 35th International Conference on Geochemistry and Health was held within the Business School building at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). Delegates from around the world attended and contributions were made in the form of 6 keynote presentations, platform presentations and poster presentations.  These covered a number of interesting themes which highlighted the core SEGH focus of the link between geochemical environment and health in the broad area of environmental chemistry.

 

External of the Business building at MMU, site of the 2019 SEGH conference.

The first sessions of the conference were initiated with interesting keynote talks by Prof. David Manning, Newcastle University (Carbon Capture Gardens: a new function for urban wastelands) and Prof. Ricardo Godoi, Federal University of Parana State (Long-term accumulation of perchlorate aerosol combined with geothermal heat flux may contribute to basal ice lubrication at West Antarctica).  These presentations seamlessly integrated with the day’s platform presentation themes of ‘Urban wastelands: potential for enhancing urban resilience’ and ‘Environmental change: impact on the environment & human health’ respectively.

The topics of New Technologies and Environmental Monitoring were represented by various engaging presentations, including those of the keynote speakers: Dr Kirsty Shaw, MMU (Lab-on-a-chip in the environment) and Prof. Stuart Harrad, University of Birmingham (The Organic Flame Retardant Story: Knowns and Unknowns).

Finally, a keynote address by Sarah Dack, Public Health England (The problem of “Background” in contaminated land assessment) lead presentations into the topic of Environmental Health then Dr Haleh Moravej, MMU (Health awareness and wellbeing in Student Population) introduced presentations on Sustainable Nutrition & Agriculture.  Following this, Dr Moravej with some of the team from MetMUnch (MMU based, student-led enterprise promoting sustainable and nutritious food) encouraged full participation in a hands-on workshop of kimchi making to re-inforce the topical conversation of nutrition and food waste prevention.

 

MetMUnch engagement event, delegates await instruction on food waste tip:  don’t throw away your old food, ferment it to produce long-lasting Korean side dish kimchi.  Image credit: @MetMUnch twitter page.

All presentations evoked interest from delegates of various backgrounds, allowing opportunity for networking and collaborative prospects.  Furthermore, early career researchers were introduced in a specially arranged lunch event.

Additionally to the sessions, the conference had an eventful social programme which included: a welcome mixer; a visit to the much enjoyed Manchester City Football Academy; a formal conference dinner within the luxury Midland Hotel; a pub crawl; and a day trip to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, giving participants the chance to absorb some of the surrounding Mancunian culture. 

 

Delegates outside Etihad Stadium, home of the Manchester City football team, post-tour. 

 

Delegates gathered in front of the Edwardian façade of the prestigious Midland Hotel after enjoying a formal three-course conference dinner. 

At the closing ceremony, it was announced that the 2020 SEGH conferences would be held at two separate events in Kenya and China. 

The closing ceremony initiated with the exciting news that the 2020 SEGH conferences would be held in two separate events in Kenya then in China, whilst Dr Michael Watts (Head of Inorganic Geochemistry at the British Geological Survey) was re-elected as SEGH president with overwhelming support from all delegates.  This session concluded with the prize-giving ceremony and the three Springer prizes were awarded as follows:

  • Tatiana Cocerva (Queen’s University Belfast), Best student oral presentation
  • Carly Woods (University of the West of Scotland), Outstanding student oral presentation
  • Amy Sansby (University of Nottingham), Best student poster presentation
  • Jon Connelly (University of Strathclyde), Outstanding student poster presentation

  

SEGH 2019 prize winners, Tatiana Cocerva (left), Carly Woods (middle), and Amy Sansby, (right) receiving Springer awards from Prof Andrew Hursthouse, UWS.  Image courtesy of SEGH.

To reiterate one of the messages of the conference, SEGH is planning to release a special edition journal following this conference and encourages members to send suggestions for articles to Dr Sanja Potgeiter-Vermaak: s.potgieter@mmu.ac.uk

Special thanks to the conference chair, Dr Sanja Potgieter-Vermaak, co-chair Dr David Megson, the organising committee, and the national and international scientific committee members of SEGH for their hard work in making this event a success.  Additional thanks to MMU for hosting this event.

For further information, including the conference programme and abstracts, please see the MMU SEGH Conference Page.

Image credits: @SocEGH twitter page unless otherwise stated.

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Science in the News

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

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    Abstract

    Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are widely present in multiple environmental media even long after the phaseout, posing a health risk to the general population. Dietary intake is the major exposure route of PCBs; however, information is limited regarding PCBs in food that people directly consume. This study aims to measure personal exposure to indicator PCBs, evaluate the health risks, and identify their sources in a typical metropolitan city in China. Multi-day food samples were collected from 21 subjects in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, in two seasons using the duplicate plate method. Samples were extracted and analyzed for seven indicator PCBs using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Average daily doses (ADDs) of ∑7PCBs were estimated using Monte Carlo analysis with food intake information. Results show that PCB-118 and PCB-180 were the major congeners in food samples with average concentrations of 1.42 and 1.11 ng/g, respectively. The average (± SD) ADD of ∑7PCBs was 26.47 ± 22.10 ng/kg day among adults aged 18–69 years and displayed small variation across age groups. Comparing with the chronic RfD of 7 ng/kg day, 67% of people had their ADDs exceeding this threshold. The median cancer risk was 5.52 × 10−5, and 51% of residents had risks exceeding the action level of 10−4. The principal component analysis identified waste incineration, gasoline engine production, and leakage of #1 PCBs as the major PCBs sources. In conclusion, a large portion of Lanzhou residents has high non-cancer and cancer risks from dietary exposure to PCBs, which warrants control actions targeting these major sources.

  • Comprehensive assessment of heavy metals pollution of farmland soil and crops in Jilin Province 2019-09-18

    Abstract

    As a major agricultural province in China, it is necessary to study the content of heavy metals in farmland soil and crop in Jilin Province and to evaluate the risks to ecology and human health. This study presented the work completed on 79 soil samples, 10 rice samples, 66 maize samples and 15 soybean samples collected from Jilin Province farmland and evaluated six heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd, Hg and As) concentrations. The results showed that the concentrations of the six heavy metals in farmland soil and crop samples from Jilin Province basically met the soil standards and food health standards of China. The agricultural soil pollution spatial distribution was the most serious in the south of Jilin Province and the lightest in the west. The non-carcinogenic risks faced by children eating crops were higher than those of adults, but the carcinogenic risks were lower than those of adults. Both of the two health risks to adults and children from eating crops were very limited. The results would help determine the heavy metals pollution in farmland soil in Jilin Province efficiently and accurately and helped decision makers to achieve a balance between production and environmental regulation.

  • Sustainability of agricultural and wild cereals to aerotechnogenic exposure 2019-09-14

    Abstract

    In recent decades, the problem of the constantly increasin level of anthropogenic load on the environment is becoming more and more acute. Some of the most dangerous pollutants entering the environment from industrial emissions are heavy metals. These pollutants are not susceptible to biodegradation over time, which leads to their accumulation in the environment in dangerous concentrations. The purpose of this work is to study the sustainability of cultivated and wild plants of the Poaceae family to aerotechnogenic pollution in the soil. The content of heavy metals in couch grass (Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski), meadow bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and soft wheat (Triticum aestivum) plants grown in the impact zone of Novocherkassk Power Station has been analyzed. Contamination of cultivated and wild cereals with Pb, Zn, Ni and Cd has been established. It has been shown that the accumulation of heavy metals is individual for each plant species. An average and close correlation have been established between the total HM content and the content of their mobile forms in the soil and their content in plants. For the plants studied, the translocation factor (TF) and the distribution coefficient (DC) of HM have been calculated. The TF is formed by the ratio of the concentration of an element in the root plant dry weight to the content of its mobile compounds in the soil. The DC value makes it possible to estimate the capacity of the aboveground parts of plants to absorb and accumulate elements under soil pollution conditions and is determined as the ratio of the metal content in the aboveground biomass to its concentration in the roots. TF and DC values have shown a significant accumulation of elements by plants from the soil, as well as their translocation from the root system to the aboveground part. It has been revealed that even within the same Poaceae family, cultural species are more sensitive to man-made pollution than wild-growing ones.