SEGH Articles

# 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.

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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## 34th SEGH International Conference: Geochemistry for Sustainable Development

Victoria Falls, Zambia

02 July 2018

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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.