Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
02 July 2018
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Science in the News
Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
- Iodine deficiency status in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region: a systematic review 2017-02-21
Iodine deficiency is a global public health issue because iodine plays a major role in the thyroid hormone synthesis and is essential for normal neurological development. This review summarizes the publications on iodine status in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) countries. All related studies available in main national and international databases were systematically searched using some specific keywords to find article published between 1909 and 2015. The prevention of iodine deficiency disorders (IDDs) in the WHO EMR countries is currently under control without significant side effects. Mild to severe IDDs exist in some countries of the Middle East, due to lack of effective iodine supplementation program, but the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Bahrain and Tunisia have achieved the goal of universal salt iodization. Overall, despite enormous efforts to control IDDs, still IDD remains a serious public health problem in some countries of the region, requiring urgent control and prevention measures.
- Effect of chemical amendments on remediation of potentially toxic trace elements (PTEs) and soil quality improvement in paddy fields 2017-02-17
Remediation of potentially toxic trace elements (PTEs) in paddy fields is fundamental for crop safety. In situ application of chemical amendments has been widely adapted because of its cost-effectiveness and environmental safety. The main purpose of this research was to (1) evaluate the reduction in dissolved concentrations of cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) with the application of chemical amendments and (2) monitor microbial activity in the soil to determine the remediation efficiency. Three different chemical amendments, lime stone, steel slag, and acid mine drainage sludge, were applied to paddy fields, and rice (Oryza sativa L. Milyang 23) was cultivated. The application of chemical amendments immobilized both Cd and As in soil. Between the two PTEs, As reduction was significant (p < 0.05) with the addition of chemical amendments, whereas no significant reduction was observed for Cd than that for the control. Among six soil-related variables, PTE concentration showed a negative correlation with soil pH (r = −0.70 for As and r = −0.54 for Cd) and soil respiration (SR) (r = −0.88 for As and r = −0.45 for Cd). This result indicated that immobilization of PTEs in soil is dependent on soil pH and reduces PTE toxicity. Overall, the application of chemical amendments could be utilized for decreasing PTE (As and Cd) bioavailability and increasing microbial activity in the soil.
- Monitoring and risk assessment of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in agricultural soil from two industrialized areas 2017-02-14
For monitoring and risk assessment, levels and distributions of Σ29 PCBs in paddy soil samples collected from Gwangyang (10 sites) and Ulsan (20 sites), heavily industrialized cities in Korea, were investigated using high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry. Overall, total concentrations of Σ29 PCBs in Gwangyang (216.4–978.6 pg g−1 dw) and Ulsan (273.8–1824.1 pg g−1 dw) were higher than those (106.6–222.6 pg g−1 dw) in agricultural soil from Anseong in Korea. The TEQ (toxic equivalency) values from Gwangyang (0.06–0.40 ng TEQ kg−1 dw) and Ulsan (0.06–0.22 ng TEQ kg−1 dw) were higher than those (0.04–0.11 ng TEQ kg−1 dw) in Anseong but lower than the WHO threshold level (20 ng TEQ kg−1). However, one of the most toxic congeners, PCB 126, gave the highest concentration, possibly posing a risk to the biota. Seven indicator PCB congeners contributed to 50–80% of the total concentration of Σ29 PCBs, indicating the 7 PCBs can be used as valuable indicators for monitoring. The principal component analysis and cluster analysis for the homologue profiles of PCBs indicated that all the samples from both cities had the similar PCB contamination patterns, and the major sources of the PCB contamination were most likely from the usage of Aroclor 1254 than those of Aroclors 1242 and 1260. These PCB technical mixtures were possibly significantly used by various industries including iron and steel industries in Gwangyang and petrochemical and shipbuilding industries in Ulsan.