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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

  • Biochar-based constructed wetlands to treat reverse osmosis rejected concentrates in chronic kidney disease endemic areas in Sri Lanka 2017-12-01

    Abstract

    The objectives were to investigate the potential remedial measures for reverse osmosis (RO) rejected water through constructed wetlands (CWs) with low-cost materials in the media established in chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) prevalent area in Sri Lanka. A pilot-scale surface and subsurface water CWs were established at the Medawachchiya community-based RO water supply unit. Locally available soil, calicut tile and biochar were used in proportions of 81, 16.5 and 2.5% (w/w), respectively, as filter materials in the subsurface. Vetiver grass and Scirpus grossus were selected for subsurface wetland while water lettuce and water hyacinth were chosen for free water surface CWs. Results showed that the CKDu sensitive parameters; total dissolved solids, hardness, total alkalinity and fluoride were reduced considerably (20–85%) and most met desirable levels of stipulated ambient standards. Biochar seemed to play a major role in removing fluoride from the system which may be due to the existing and adsorbed K+, Ca+2, Mg+2, etc. on the biochar surface via chemisorption. The least reduction was observed for alkalinity. This study indicated potential purification of aforesaid ions in water which are considerably present in RO rejection. Therefore, the invented bio-geo constructed wetland can be considered as a sustainable, economical and effective option for reducing high concentrations of CKDu sensitive parameters in RO rejected water before discharging into the inland waters.

  • Medical geology of endemic goiter in Kalutara, Sri Lanka; distribution and possible causes 2017-12-01

    Abstract

    This study assesses the distribution of goiter in the Kalutara District, Sri Lanka in order to find causative factors for the occurrence of goiter even after the salt iodization. A questionnaire survey was conducted at the household level and at the same time iodine and selenium levels of the water sources were analyzed. Questionnaire survey results indicated the highest numbers of goiter patients in the northern part where the lowest were found in the southern sector which may be due to the presence of acid sulfate soils. Females were more susceptible and it even showed a transmittance between generations. Average iodine concentrations in subsurface water of goiter endemic regions are 28.25 ± 15.47 μg/L whereas non-goiter regions show identical values at 24.74 ± 18.29 μg/L. Surface water exhibited relatively high values at 30.87 ± 16.13 μg/L. Endemic goiter was reported in some isolated patches where iodine and selenium concentrations low, latter was <10 μg/L. The formation of acid sulfate soils in the marshy lands in Kalutara district may lead to transformation of biological available iodine oxidation into volatile iodine by humic substances, at the same time organic matter rich peaty soil may have strong held of iodine and selenium which again induced by low pH and high temperature were suggested as the instrumental factors in the endemic goiter in Kalutara district. Hence, geochemical features such as soil pH, organic matter and thick lateritic cap in the Kalutara goiter endemic area play a role in controlling the available selenium and iodine for food chain through plant uptake and in water.

  • Nickel accumulation in paddy rice on serpentine soils containing high geogenic nickel contents in Taiwan 2017-12-01

    Abstract

    We investigated the extractability of nickel (Ni) in serpentine soils collected from rice paddy fields in eastern Taiwan to evaluate the bioavailability of Ni in the soils as well as for demonstrating the health risks of Ni in rice. Total Ni concentrations in the soils ranged were 70.2–2730 mg/kg (mean, 472 mg/kg), greatly exceeding the natural background content and soil control standard in Taiwan. Available Ni concentration only accounts for <10% of total soil Ni content; 0.1 N HCl-extractable Ni was the more suitable index for Ni bioavailability in the soil to rice than was diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA)-extractable Ni. The accumulation ability of rice roots was much higher than that of its shoots; however, compared with those reported previously, our brown and polished rice samples contained much higher Ni concentrations, within the ranges of 1.50–4.53 and 2.45–5.54 mg/kg, respectively. On the basis of the provisional tolerable Ni intake for adults recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), daily consumption of this rice can result in an excessive Ni intake.