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Science in the News

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

  • Assessment of Pb, Cd and Hg soil contamination and its potential to cause cytotoxic and genotoxic effects in human cell lines (CaCo-2 and HaCaT) 2018-01-23

    Abstract

    Soil contamination by heavy metals is a serious global environmental problem, especially for developing countries. A large number of industrial plants, which continually pollute the environment, characterize Tuzla Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim of this study was to assess the level of soil pollution by heavy metals and to estimate cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of soil leachates from this area. Lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg) were analyzed by ICP-AES and AAS. Soil contamination was assessed using contamination factor, degree of contamination, geoaccumulation index and pollution load index. To determine the connection of variables and understanding their origin in soils, principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (CA) were used. The results indicate that Cd and Hg originated from natural and anthropogenic activities, while Pb is of anthropogenic origin. For toxicity evaluation, CaCo-2 and HaCaT cells were used. PrestoBlue assay was used for cytotoxicity testing, and γH2A.X for genotoxicity evaluation. Concerning cytotoxicity, Cd and Hg had a positive correlation with cytotoxicity in HaCaT cells, but only Hg induced cytotoxicity in CaCo-2 cells. We also demonstrate that soil leachates contaminated by heavy metals can induce genotoxicity in both used cell lines. According to these results, combining bioassays with standard physicochemical analysis can be useful for evaluating environmental and health risks more accurately. These results are important for developing proper management strategies to decrease pollution. This is one of the first studies from this area and an important indication of soil quality in Southeast Europe.

    Graphical Abstract

  • Magnetic, geochemical characterization and health risk assessment of road dust in Xuanwei and Fuyuan, China 2018-01-19

    Abstract

    As an accumulation of solid organic and inorganic pollutant particles on outdoor ground surfaces, road dust is an important carrier of heavy metal contaminants and can be a valuable medium for characterizing urban environmental quality. Because the dusts can be an important source of atmospheric particles and take impact on human health, the aim of this study described in detail the mineralogical characteristics, morphology, and heavy metal content of road dust from Xuanwei and Fuyuan, locations with high lung cancer incidence. Our results show that the average concentrations of heavy metals in road dust were higher than their background values. Higher concentrations of heavy metals were found in the magnetic fractions (MFs) than in the non-magnetic fractions (NMFs). Magnetic measurements revealed high magnetic susceptibility values in the road dust samples, and the dominant magnetic carrier was magnetite. The magnetic grains were predominantly pseudo-single domain, multi-domain, and coarse-grained stable single domains (coarse SSD) in size. SEM/XRD analysis identified two groups of magnetic particles: spherules and angular/aggregate particles. Hazard index (HI) values for adults exposure to road dust samples, including MF, Bulk, and NMF, in both areas were lower or close to safe levels, while HI values for childhood exposure to magnetic fractions in both areas were very close or higher than safe levels. Cancer risks from road dust exposure in both areas were in the acceptable value range.

  • Lead sorption characteristics of various chicken bone part-derived chars 2018-01-18

    Abstract

    Recycling food waste for beneficial use is becoming increasingly important in resource-limited economy. In this study, waste chicken bones of different parts from restaurant industry were pyrolyzed at 600 °C and evaluated for char physicochemical properties and Pb sorption characteristics. Lead adsorption isotherms by different chicken bone chars were carried out with initial Pb concentration range of 1–1000 mg L−1 at pH 5. The Pb adsorption data were better described by the Langmuir model (R2 = 0.9289–0.9937; ARE = 22.7–29.3%) than the Freundlich model (R2 = 0.8684–0.9544; ARE = 35.4–72.0%). Among the chars derived from different chicken bone parts, the tibia bone char exhibited the highest maximum Pb adsorption capacity of 263 mg g−1 followed by the pelvis (222 mg g−1), ribs (208 mg g−1), clavicle (179 mg g−1), vertebrae (159 mg g−1), and humerus (135 mg g−1). The Pb adsorption capacities were significantly and positively correlated with the surface area, phosphate release amount, and total phosphorus content of chicken bone chars (r ≥ 0.9711). On the other hand, approximately 75–88% of the adsorbed Pb on the chicken bone chars was desorbable with 0.1 M HCl, indicating their recyclability for reuse. Results demonstrated that chicken bone char could be used as an effective adsorbent for Pb removal in wastewater.