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Science in the News

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • A cross-sectional survey based on blood VOCs, hematological parameters and urine indicators in a population in Jilin, Northeast China 2019-01-16

    Abstract

    The objective of this study was to examine whether long-term exposure to low-dose volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will have an effect on the health of non-occupational population. A total of 499 non-occupational participants aged more than 18 that live around Jilin Petrochemical Industrial Zone were chosen by stratified cluster random sampling. Their blood VOCs’ levels, hematological parameters and urine indicators together with detailed questionnaire data were used to find possible relationships using binary logistic regression analysis. The detection rate of benzene in the blood was high in the non-occupational population around the industrial area, and it even reached 82.3% in males but no significant difference was recorded between male and female population. In addition, trichloroethane (male: 33.2% V female: 21.7%; p = 0.002), carbon tetrachloride (males: 20.3% V females: 7.5%; p < 0.001) and trichlorethylene (male: 34.9% V female: 24.7%; p = 0.004) all showed significant differences in gender, and without exception, the prevalence of males was higher in these three VOCs than of females. The changes in red blood cell (RBC), hematocrit (HCT) and basophils are correlated with carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene and chloroform, respectively. And RBC, HCT and basophils are statistically significant in male compared with female of the study population. The increase in trichlorethylene was associated with an increase of 1.723% (95% CI 1.058–2.806) in HCT. The increase in carbon tetrachloride showed a more significant correlation with an increase of 2.638% in RBC count (95% CI 1.169–5.953). And trichloromethane led to a 1.922% (95% CI 1.051–3.513) increase in basophils. The changes in urinary WBC, urine ketone (KET) and urinary bilirubin (BIL) showed significant correlation with benzene, carbon tetrachloride and dibromochloromethane, respectively. The correlation in females is more significant than in males. The increase of benzene in the female population increased urinary leukocyte count by 2.902% (95% CI 1.275–6.601). The effect of carbon tetrachloride on KET was particularly pronounced, resulting in an increase of 7.000% (95% CI 1.608–30.465). Simultaneously, an increase in dibromochloromethane caused an increase of 4.256% (95% CI 1.373–13.192) in BIL. The changes in RBC, HCT and basophils can only serve as an auxiliary indicator for disease diagnosis, so they have no significant clinical significance. However, the alteration of urinary WBC, KET and BIL has great clinical significances, and it is suggested that the monitoring of the above indicators from low-dose long-term exposure be strengthen in this area.

  • Interannual variation in grassland net ecosystem productivity and its coupling relation to climatic factors in China 2019-01-08

    Abstract

    Grassland, as an important part of land cover, plays an important role in the global carbon cycle and carbon balance. Net ecosystem productivity (NEP) is a key indicator of the carbon cycle process and an important factor in assessing ecosystem security and maintaining ecosystem balance. In this paper, Boreal Ecosystem Productivity Simulator (BEPS) combining meteorological data, leaf area index, and land cover type data were used to simulate the grassland NEP of China from 1979 to 2008. This model was also used to analyze the responses to changes in climate factors, interannual variation in carbon conversion efficiency, drought stress coefficient, and water use efficiency of grassland in China. Results showed that from 1979 to 2008, the mean annual grassland NEP was 13.6 g C/m2 with weak carbon sinks. The grassland NEP distribution increased from northwest to southeast across China. Regions with NEP of > 0 (C sink) accounted for 73.1% of the total grassland area of China. The total C sequestration reached 26.6 Tg yearly, and grassland NEP was positive from 1979 to 2008. The annual changing characteristics were analyzed. Grassland NEP was positive with carbon sink from June to September, which was negative with carbon source in the remaining months. The carbon conversion efficiency and water use efficiency of the grassland increased significantly within 30 years. NEP showed positive correlation with precipitation (accounting for 74.2% of the total grassland area was positively correlated) but weakly positive correlation with temperature (50.2% of the case). Furthermore, significant positive correlation was found between grassland NEP and precipitation, especially in northeastern and central Inner Mongolia, northern Tianshan of Xinjiang, southwestern Tibet, and southern Qinghai Lake.

  • The effects of humic water on endothelial cells under hyperglycemic conditions: inflammation-associated parameters 2019-01-04

    Abstract

    Humic waters (HW) are globally unique, deep underground, dark-brown waters containing humic acids, and they present numerous therapeutic activities including anti-inflammatory. In the present study, we use HW from source in Poland. Diabetes has become an epidemic and is a risk factor of cardiovascular diseases. Hyperglycemia in diabetes is responsible for damaging of the endothelium and increases inflammation on the surface of the vascular lining. The inflammatory process in diabetes is associated with the secretion of inflammatory cytokines by endothelial cells, e.g., tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), and with the reduction of cell proliferation. In the study, we used cultures of endothelial cells (HUVEC line—human umbilical vein endothelial cells) with the addition 30 mM/L of glucose in the culture medium which imitated the conditions of uncontrolled diabetes. The addition of HW in the proper volume to the culture medium causes reduction of inflammation by significant decrease in inflammatory cytokines such as TNFα and IL-6 and also leads to enhancement of the cell proliferation. It appears that the adverse effects of hyperglycemia on vascular endothelial cells may be corrected by addition of humic water. The above promising results of in vitro tests provide an opportunity to the possible use of humic water in the supportive treatment of endothelial dysfunction disorders in diabetes. However, this issue requires further clinical research.