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SEGH 2015 Conference Report

24 September 2015
Bratislava welcomed over 100 delegates from over 25 countries to SEGH 2015.

The Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health (SEGH) in collaboration with The State Geological Institute of Dionýz Štúr, Bratislava and the project team of GEOHEALTH organised the 31st International SEGH Conference in Bratislava, June 22-26th 2015. The conference was organised under the auspices of Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic and supported by financial instrument Life+.

Bratislava welcomed over 100 delegates from over 25 countries to SEGH 2015.

The main conference topic was the link between environment and health.

More than 80 contributions presented at SEGH 2015 as oral presentations or posters were specialized across the three main thematic groups:

1.         Effects of contamination of the geological environment on human health

2.         Effect of the deficit or excess of chemical elements in the geological environment on human health

3.         Linking of geochemical and medical data.

The first two topics have received global attention for decades. The third thematic group is relatively new. Investigating the influences of the geological environment on human health is a challenging task and linking geochemical and medical data could be an effective approach.

Topic 1 attracted the majority of speakers who presented their studies on aspects of contamination of the geological environment including water, soil, stream sediments, air, food-chain, and the urban environment. Keynote lectures were given by: Stanislav Rapant (opening lecture), Andrew Hursthouse (urban environment), Andy Cundy (contaminated sites and wastes) and Taicheng An (risk assessment and analytical procedures). Special afternoon session by Chinese delegates brought innovative views on the analytical methods and procedures used for risk assessment.

Topics 2 and 3 were opened by 3 keynote speakers. František Koíšek and Alex Stewart brought us an overview of current knowledge within the topic “Deficit and/or excess of chemicals in the geological environment and their health effects on humans”. Mark Cave approached this issue by linking geochemical and health data through the use of health deprivation indices.

This year a student prize was given to Daniela Zuzolo from Italy for her poster
"Assessment of th environmental conditions of the Calore river basin (South Italy): a stream sediment approach". Congratulations.

The scientific programme of SEGH 2015 was built up from highly diversified keynote, plenary and poster lectures from various fields of research on relationship between environment and health and brought us a various views on the issue of the impact of contaminated geological environment on human health.

All conference details, photos and book of abstracts are available downloading on the conference website www.geology.sk/geohealth/segh-conference-2015.

During SEGH 2015 board a transfer of the post of SEGH President happened. We would like to thank ex-president Andrew Hursthouse for his leading of SEGH as well as we wish success to Chaosheng Zhang as new SEGH president.

The scientific programme was accompanied by social events including sightseeing tour by historical city train through the main historical sights of Bratislava city and conference dinner with local music that took place in a very pleasant restaurant in Holiday Inn Bratislava. All delegates participated on these events have enjoyed these social events. 

The second part of the excursion was the visit of open-air mining museum in Banská Štiavnica – the most significant historical mining town in the Slovak Republic, innscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Surface as well as undeground exhibition offered to delegates an overview of mediavel historical times of mining of silver and gold in this region.

A special visit of SEGH chairman´s summer cottage in beautiful mountainous area of Banská Štiavnica region was a top end of the day.

Finally, we would like to thank all delegates coming from over the 20 countries for their participation in SEGH 2015 and their support to us as organizers. We hope you have enjyoed Bratislava and you are warmly welcome to return to our country.

We hope we can all meet in Brussels for SEGH 2016. See www.segh.net for details.

 

by Katarína Fajčíková and Stanislav Rapant

(SEGH 2015 organisers)

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

  • Assessment of the toxicity of silicon nanooxide in relation to various components of the agroecosystem under the conditions of the model experiment 2018-08-18

    Abstract

    Investigation of SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) effect on Eisenia fetida showed no toxic effect of the metal at a concentration of 250, 500 and 1000 mg per kg of soil, but conversely, a biomass increase from 23.5 to 29.5% (at the protein level decrease from 60 to 80%). The reaction of the earthworm organism fermentative system was expressed in the decrease in the level of superoxide dismutase (SOD) on the 14th day and in the increase in its activity to 27% on the 28th day. The catalase level (CAT) showed low activity at average element concentrations and increase by 39.4% at a dose of 1000 mg/kg. Depression of malonic dialdehyde (MDA) was established at average concentrations of 11.2% and level increase up to 9.1% at a dose of 1000 mg/kg with the prolongation of the effect up to 87.5% after 28-day exposure. The change in the microbiocenosis of the earthworm intestine was manifested by a decrease in the number of ammonifiers (by 42.01–78.9%), as well as in the number of amylolytic microorganisms (by 31.7–65.8%). When the dose of SiO2 NPs increased from 100 to 1000 mg/kg, the number of Azotobacter increased (by 8.2–22.2%), while the number of cellulose-destroying microorganisms decreased to 71.4% at a maximum dose of 1000 mg/kg. The effect of SiO2 NPs on Triticum aestivum L. was noted in the form of a slight suppression of seed germination (no more than 25%), an increase in the length of roots and aerial organs which generally resulted in an increase in plant biomass. Assessing the soil microorganisms’ complex during introduction of metal into the germination medium of Triticum aestivum L., there was noted a decrease in the ammonifiers number (by 4.7–67.6%) with a maximum value at a dose of 1000 mg/kg. The number of microorganisms using mineral nitrogen decreased by 29.5–69.5% with a simultaneous increase in the number at a dose of 50 mg/kg (+ 20%). Depending on NP dose, there was an inhibition of the microscopic fungi development by 18.1–72.7% and an increase in the number of cellulose-destroying microorganisms. For all variants of the experiment, the activity of soil enzymes of the hydrolase and oxidoreductase classes was decreased.

  • Seasonal characteristics of chemical compositions and sources identification of PM 2.5 in Zhuhai, China 2018-08-16

    Abstract

    Fine particulate matter is associated with adverse health effects, but exactly which characteristics of PM2.5 are responsible for this is still widely debated. We evaluated seasonal dynamics of the composition and chemical characteristics of PM2.5 in Zhuhai, China. PM2.5 characteristics at five selected sites within Zhuhai city were analyzed. Sampling began on January 10, 2015, and was conducted for 1 year. The ambient mass concentration, carbon content (organic and elemental carbon, OC and EC), level of inorganic ions, and major chemical composition of PM2.5 were also determined. Average concentrations of PM2.5 were lower than the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) 24-h average of 65 μg/m3. The daily PM2.5 concentration in Zhuhai city exhibited clear seasonal dynamics, with higher daily PM2.5 concentrations in autumn and winter than in spring and summer. Carbon species (OC and EC) and water-soluble ions were the primary components of the PM2.5 fraction of particles. Apart from OC and EC, chemical species in PM2.5 were mainly composed of NH4+ and SO42−. There was a marked difference between the summer and winter periods: the concentrations of OC and EC in winter were roughly 3.4 and 4.0 times than those in summer, while NH4+, SO42−, NO3, and Na+ were 3.2, 4.5, 28.0, and 5.7 times higher in winter than those in summer, respectively. The results of chemical analysis were consistent with three sources dominating PM2.5: coal combustion, biomass burning, and vehicle exhaust; road dust and construction; and from reaction of HCl and HNO3 with NH3 to form NH4Cl and NH4NO3. However, additional work is needed to improve the mass balance and to obtain the source profiles necessary to use these data for source apportionment.

  • Estimates of potential childhood lead exposure from contaminated soil using the USEPA IEUBK model in Melbourne, Australia 2018-08-14

    Abstract

    Soils in inner city areas internationally and in Australia have been contaminated with lead (Pb) primarily from past emissions of Pb in petrol, deteriorating exterior Pb-based paints and from industry. Children can be exposed to Pb in soil dust through ingestion and inhalation leading to elevated blood lead levels (BLLs). Currently, the contribution of soil Pb to the spatial distribution of children’s BLLs is unknown in the Melbourne metropolitan area. In this study, children’s potential BLLs were estimated from surface soil (0–2 cm) samples collected at 250 locations across the Melbourne metropolitan area using the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic (IEUBK) model. A dataset of 250 surface soil Pb concentrations indicate that soil Pb concentrations are highly variable but are generally elevated in the central and western portions of the Melbourne metropolitan area. The mean, median and geometric soil Pb concentrations were 193, 110 and 108 mg/kg, respectively. Approximately 20 and 4% of the soil samples exceeded the Australian HIL-A residential and HIL-C recreational soil Pb guidelines of 300 and 600 mg/kg, respectively. The IEUBK model predicted a geometric mean BLL of 2.5 ± 2.1 µg/dL (range: 1.3–22.5 µg/dL) in a hypothetical 24-month-old child with BLLs exceeding 5 and 10 µg/dL at 11.6 and 0.8% of the sampling locations, respectively. This study suggests children’s exposure to Pb contaminated surface soil could potentially be associated with low-level BLLs in some locations in the Melbourne metropolitan area.