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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

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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    Seaweed baths containing Fucus serratus Linnaeus are a rich source of iodine which has the potential to increase the urinary iodide concentration (UIC) of the bather. In this study, the range of total iodine concentration in seawater (22–105 µg L−1) and seaweed baths (808–13,734 µg L−1) was measured over 1 year. The seasonal trend shows minimum levels in summer (May–July) and maximum in winter (November–January). The bathwater pH was found to be acidic, average pH 5.9 ± 0.3. An in vivo study with 30 volunteers was undertaken to measure the UIC of 15 bathers immersed in the bath and 15 non-bathers sitting adjacent to the bath. Their UIC was analysed pre- and post-seaweed bath and corrected for creatinine concentration. The corrected UIC of the population shows an increase following the seaweed bath from a pre-treatment median of 76 µg L−1 to a post-treatment median of 95 µg L−1. The pre-treatment UIC for both groups did not indicate significant difference (p = 0.479); however, the post-treatment UIC for both did (p = 0.015) where the median bather test UIC was 86 µg L−1 and the non-bather UIC test was 105 µg L−1. Results indicate the bath has the potential to increase the UIC by a significant amount and that inhalation of volatile iodine is a more significant contributor to UIC than previously documented.