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.

All conference details, photos and book of abstracts are available downloading on the conference website

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 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

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  • Integration of remote sensing data and in situ measurements to monitor the water quality of the Ismailia Canal, Nile Delta, Egypt 2019-12-10


    The Ismailia Canal is one of the most important tributaries of the River Nile in Egypt. It is threatened by extinction from several sources of pollution, in addition to the intersection and nearness of the canal path with the Bilbayes drain and the effluent from the two largest conventional wastewater treatment plants in Greater Cairo. In this study, the integration of remote sensing and geospatial information system techniques is carried out to enhance the contribution of satellite data in water quality management in the Ismailia Canal. A Landsat-8 operational land imager image dated 2018 was used to detect the land use and land cover changes in the area of study, in addition to retrieving various spectral band ratios. Statistical correlations were applied among the extracted band ratios and the measured in situ water quality parameters. The most appropriate spectral band ratios were extracted from the NIR band (near infrared/blue), which showed a significant correlation with eight water quality metrics (CO3, BOD5, COD, TSS, TDS, Cl, NH4, and fecal coliform bacteria). A linear regression model was then established to predict information about these important water quality parameters along Ismailia Canal. The developed models, using linear regression equations for this study, give a set of powerful decision support frameworks with statistical tools to provide comprehensive, integrated views of surface water quality information under similar circumstances.

  • Geophagy among East African Chimpanzees: consumed soils provide protection from plant secondary compounds and bioavailable iron 2019-12-01


    Geophagy, the intentional consumption of earth materials, has been recorded in humans and other animals. It has been hypothesized that geophagy is an adaptive behavior, and that clay minerals commonly found in eaten soil can provide protection from toxins and/or supplement micronutrients. To test these hypotheses, we monitored chimpanzee geophagy using camera traps in four permanent sites at the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda, from October 2015–October 2016. We also collected plants, and soil chimpanzees were observed eating. We analyzed 10 plant and 45 soil samples to characterize geophagic behavior and geophagic soil and determine (1) whether micronutrients are available from the soil under physiological conditions and if iron is bioavailable, (2) the concentration of phenolic compounds in plants, and (3) if consumed soils are able to adsorb these phenolics. Chimpanzees ate soil and drank clay-infused water containing 1:1 and 2:1 clay minerals and > 30% sand. Under physiological conditions, the soils released calcium, iron, and magnesium. In vitro Caco-2 experiments found that five times more iron was bioavailable from three of four soil samples found at the base of trees. Plant samples contained approximately 60 μg/mg gallic acid equivalent. Soil from one site contained 10 times more 2:1 clay minerals, which were better at removing phenolics present in their diet. We suggest that geophagy may provide bioavailable iron and protection from phenolics, which have increased in plants over the last 20 years. In summary, geophagy within the Sonso community is multifunctional and may be an important self-medicative behavior.