The conditions and dynamic changes of the most important indices related with population health in a number of Northern regions of the Russian Federation are under discussion. A conclusion is made that they are predetermined by migration processes, latitude effects and peculiarities of production activity.
The traditional northern Norwegian fish dish "mølje", consisting of boiled cod, cod liver, cod liver oil and hard roe, is still consumed frequently during the winter months January to March. The liver of the cod is rich in lipids and the levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are relatively high. To better understand the short-term consequences of this traditional meal on the plasma levels of PCBs and p,p'-DDE, individual intake of liver and cod liver oil during one meal was measured. Blood samples were collected from 33 participants before the meal, and then 4 h, 12 h and 5 days after it. Lipid-weight and wet-weight levels of 10 PCB congeners and p,p'-DDE were determined in the plasma samples and the food. The plasma levels of p,p'-DDE was found to increase significantly from 0 to 4 h, both when expressed as wet-weight (35% change) and lipid-weight (20% change). The corresponding changes (0-4 h) in wet-weight levels of the most prevalent PCB congeners were non significant. By contrast, PCB congeners with low levels in the food showed a significant drop in lipid-weight levels during the first 4 h. The observed changes were independent of amount consumed. Significant differences in fasting and non-fasting samples were found for most PCBs and p,p'-DDE. For the lipid weight levels of sum PCBs there was a significant decrease of 16% from non-fasting to fasting samples. To obtain reliable data on human levels of POPs it is, on the basis of these findings, recommended that blood samples should be collected from fasting individuals and both wet-weight and lipid-weight levels should be reported.
Nanotechnologies find wide application in industry and medicine. The Russian market of nanotechnologies is at the very beginning of development. Rospotrebnadzor has amassed a wealth of experience in the creation of efficacious systems for estimation and sanitary-epidemiological control of the safety of goods and foodstuffs. The assessment of the safety of nanoparticles and nanomaterials has been carried out since 2007. In 2008-2009, a survey was initiated with a view to developing safety criteria for nanoproducts, nanomaterials, and nanotechnologies. In 2010, research institutions of Rospotrebnadzor were engaged in investigations aimed to develop relevant regulatory and procedural documentation. Studies are underway to work out new highly sensitive methods for the detection, identification and qualitative determination of nanomaterials in the environment, food-staffs, and biological media.
Classes B and C medical waste is of particular concern since it is an epidemiological and toxicological hazard. Predisinfection of Class B medical waste with the chemicals that have different toxicity levels, as well as further burial in the urban landfill were a reason for defining its hazard classes by biotesting in order to establish the possibility of additional environmental pollution. Class B (epidemiologically hazardous) medical waste was ascertained to be little dangerous and indangerous to the environment. The findings show it necessary to develop an integral waste hazard index that would reflect the whole spectrum of its negative impact on the environment and human health.
Faculté de Médecine, CRCHUM (Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal), Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
To examine the combined influence of poverty and dangerousness of the neighborhood on active transportation (AT) to school among a cohort of children followed throughout the early school years.
Growth curve modeling was used to identify determinants of AT to school among 710 children participating in the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development from 2003 through 2006. Parent-reported dangerousness and pedestrian-vehicle collision data were merged with travel mode and health data.
At age 6 years, insufficient household income, having an older sibling, and living in a neighborhood that is not excellent for raising children, or characterized with high decay were predictive of greater likelihood of using AT and remained unchanged as children progressed from kindergarten through grade 2.
A public health concern is children experiencing environmental injustice. Since AT is most likely to be adopted by those living in poverty and because it is also associated with unsafe environments, some children are experiencing environmental injustice in relation to AT. Interventions may be implemented to reduce environmental injustice through improvements in road safety.
Climate change is the primary threat to public health in the 21st century. There is a huge need for creation of new knowledge on how most effectively and efficiently to respond to the negative effects on health. Participatory research and development projects may be essential in creation and dissemination of new knowledge. Theoretically underpinned interventions and implementation strategies are necessary to ensure that knowledge is translated into action. Universities and health care organisations have a central role in preparing future health professionals by giving them the skills and knowledge needed.
The literature on the association between health and weather in the temperate to semi-arid cities of the Eastern Mediterranean is scarce. The quantification of the relationship between temperature and daily mortality can be useful for developing policy interventions such as heat-warning systems. A time-series analysis of total daily mortality and weather data for the city of Beirut was carried out. The study covered the period between 1997 and 1999. Poisson auto-regressive models were constructed, with mean daily temperature and mean daily humidity as explanatory variables. Delayed effects, up to 2 weeks, were accounted for. The regression models were used next to assess the effect of an average increase in temperature on yearly mortality. The association between temperature and mortality was found to be significant. A relatively high minimum-mortality temperature (TMM) of 27.5 degrees C was calculated. A 1 degrees C rise in temperature yielded a 12.3% increase (95% confidence interval: 5.7-19.4%) and 2.9% decrease (95% confidence interval: 2-3.7%) in mortality, above and below TMM, respectively. Lag temperature variables were found to be significant below TMM but not above it. Where the temperature change was less than 0.5 degrees C, annual above-TMM losses were offset by below-TMM gains, within a 95% confidence interval. TMM for Beirut fell within the range usually associated with warm climates. However, the mild below-TMM and steep above-TMM slopes were more typical of cities with temperate to cold climates. Our findings suggest that heat-related mortality at moderately high temperatures can be a significant public health issue in countries with warm climates. Moreover, at the projected climate change over the next 50 years, heat-related losses are unlikely to be offset by cold-related gains.
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of sewage sludge management in a Danish municipality (Aalborg), with 160,000 inhabitants using alternative methods for aggregation of environmental impacts was performed. The purpose is to demonstrate the use of SEA in relation to sludge management and to improve SEA methodology. Six different scenarios for management of sewage sludge within the Aalborg municipality involving thermal treatment, composting and landfilling of sludge were evaluated. Environmental impact categories considered were global warming, non-renewable resources (nutrients and fossil fuels) and land use. Impact categories human health, ecotoxicity and soil quality were excluded as methodology for their assessment is not yet fully developed. Thermal sludge treatment with energy utilisation was shown to be a promising option for sewage sludge management in Aalborg. Sensitivity of the relative environmental impacts with respect to calculation methodology and input parameter values were evaluated to identify important parameters and calculation methods. The analysis showed that aggregation procedures, sludge biogas potential and sludge production were very important whereas sludge transport was not.
A method for retrospectively assessing the average radon concentration in a dwelling, for a period as long as 40 years or more, is described. It is based on the free penetration of radon gas into bulky spongy materials called volume traps, and subsequent trapping of radon decay products inside them. This leads to a build-up of 210Pb, a radon decay product with a half life of 22.3 years, which reaches an equilibrium with the alpha emitter 210Po, indicative of the average radon concentration over the exposure period. The stuffing of mattresses, chairs, cushions, etc. can be considered a good volume trap. A chemical separation procedure is described, transforming the volume trap into a 210Po alpha source, whose activity is determined through alpha spectroscopy. The technique has been applied in over 300 samples, retrieved from dwellings in Serbia, Germany, Norway and Sweden. The technique has proven to be very robust and reproducible. In cases where radon data were available during the exposure period of the volume trap, a remarkable agreement was found. The best volume traps appeared to be polyester sponges found in many stuffings. The major drawback is the destructive nature of the method, its major advantage is the direct relationship between the radon gas and the 210Po signal. The technique can be useful in epidemiological studies of the lung cancer risk from indoor radon, for assessing the long term radon exposure.
It has been hypothesized that environmental exposure to synthetic estrogenic chemicals and related endocrine-active compounds may be responsible for a global decrease in sperm counts, decreased male reproductive capacity, and breast cancer in women. Results of recent studies show that there are large demographic variations in sperm counts within countries or regions, and analyses of North American data show that sperm counts have not decreased over the last 60 years. Analyses of records for hypospadias and cryptorchidism also show demographic differences in these disorders before 1985; however, since 1985 rates of hypospadias have not changed and cryptorchidism has actually declined. Temporal changes in sex ratios and fertility are minimal, whereas testicular cancer is increasing in most countries; however, in Scandinavia, the difference between high (Denmark) and low (Finland) incidence areas are not well understood and are unlikely to be correlated with differences in exposure to synthetic industrial chemicals. Results from studies on organochlorine contaminants (DDE/PCB) show that levels were not significantly different in breast cancer patients versus controls. Thus, many of the male and female reproductive tract problems linked to the endocrine-disruptor hypothesis have not increased and are not correlated with synthetic industrial contaminants. This does not exclude an endocrine-etiology for some adverse environmental effects or human problems associated with high exposures to some chemicals.
Comment In: Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Jun;109(6):A250-111445523
This study investigated the public health risk from exposure to infectious microorganisms at Sandvika recreational beaches, Norway and dose-response relationships by combining hydrodynamic modelling with Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA). Meteorological and hydrological data were collected to produce a calibrated hydrodynamic model using Escherichia coli as an indicator of faecal contamination. Based on average concentrations of reference pathogens (norovirus, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Giardia and Cryptosporidium) relative to E. coli in Norwegian sewage from previous studies, the hydrodynamic model was used for simulating the concentrations of pathogens at the local beaches during and after a heavy rainfall event, using three different decay rates. The simulated concentrations were used as input for QMRA and the public health risk was estimated as probability of infection from a single exposure of bathers during the three consecutive days after the rainfall event. The level of risk on the first day after the rainfall event was acceptable for the bacterial and parasitic reference pathogens, but high for the viral reference pathogen at all beaches, and severe at Kalvøya-small and Kalvøya-big beaches, supporting the advice of avoiding swimming in the day(s) after heavy rainfall. The study demonstrates the potential of combining discharge-based hydrodynamic modelling with QMRA in the context of bathing water as a tool to evaluate public health risk and support beach management decisions.
A failure in treatment or in the distribution network of a surface water-works could have serious consequences due to the variable raw water quality in combination with an extended distribution. The aim of this study was to examine the theoretical impact of incidents in the drinking water system on the annual risk of infection in a population served by a large water treatment plant in Sweden. Reported incidents in the system were examined and a microbial risk assessment that included three pathogens, Cryptosporidium parvum, rotavirus and Campylobacter jejuni, was performed. The main risk incidents in water treatment were associated with sub-optimal particle removal or disinfection malfunction. Incidents in the distribution network included cross-connections and microbial pollution of reservoirs and local networks. The majority of the annual infections were likely to be due to pathogens passing treatment during normal operation and not due to failures, thus adding to the endemic rate. Among the model organisms, rotavirus caused the largest number of infections. Decentralised water treatment with membranes was also considered in which failures upstream fine-pored membranes would have little impact as long as the membranes were kept intact.
Effective management of contaminated sediments is important for long-term human and environmental health, but site-management decisions are often made under high uncertainty and without the help of structured decision support tools. Potential trade-offs between remedial costs, environmental effects, human health risks, and societal benefits, as well as fundamental differences in stakeholder priorities, complicate decision making. Formal decision-analytic tools such as multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) move beyond ad hoc decision support to quantitatively and holistically rank management alternatives and add transparency and replicability to the evaluation process. However, even the best decisions made under uncertainty may be found suboptimal in hindsight, once additional scientific, social, economic, or other details become known. Value of information (VoI) analysis extends MCDA by systematically evaluating the impact of uncertainty on a decision. VoI prioritizes future research in terms of expected decision relevance by helping decision makers estimate the likelihood that additional information will improve decision confidence or change their selection of a management plan. In this study, VoI analysis evaluates uncertainty, estimates decision confidence, and prioritizes research to inform selection of a sediment capping strategy for the dibenzo-p-dioxin and -furan contaminated Grenland fjord system in southern Norway. The VoI model extends stochastic MCDA to model decisions with and without simulated new information and compares decision confidence across scenarios with different degrees of remaining uncertainty. Results highlight opportunities for decision makers to benefit from additional information by anticipating the improved decision confidence (or lack thereof) expected from reducing uncertainties for each criterion or combination of criteria. This case study demonstrates the usefulness of VoI analysis for environmental decisions by predicting when decisions can be made confidently, for prioritizing areas of research to pursue to improve decision confidence, and for differentiating between decision-relevant and decision-irrelevant differences in evaluation perspectives, all of which help guide meaningful deliberation toward effective consensus solutions.
Exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) from fish and marine mammal consumption continues to present a public health concern. To date, developmental neurotoxicity is the most sensitive health outcome, forming the basis for health-risk assessments and the derivation of biomonitoring guidance values. This article summarizes existing Health Canada MeHg blood guidance values for general population and expands them to include a harmonized provisional interim blood guidance value of 8 microg/L based on the existing provisional Tolerable Daily Intake for children, pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Associated public health actions, according to age, sex, and level of exposure are recommended.
This paper explores the relation between healthcare expenditures (HCEs) and environmental variables in Ontario, Canada.
The authors used a sequential two stage regression model to control for variables that may influence HCEs and for the possibility of endogenous relations. The analysis relies on cross sectional ecological data from the 49 counties of Ontario.
The results show that, after control for other variables that may influence health expenditures, both total toxic pollution output and per capita municipal environmental expenditures have significant associations with health expenditures. Counties with higher pollution output tend to have higher per capita HCEs, while those that spend more on defending environmental quality have lower expenditures on health care.
The implications of our findings are twofold. Firstly, sound investments in public health and environmental protection have external benefits in the form of reduced HCEs. Combined with the other benefits such as recreational values, investments in environmental protection probably yield net social benefits. Secondly, health policy that excludes consideration of environmental quality may eventually result in increased expenditures. These results suggest a need to broaden the cost containment debate to ensure environmental determinants of health receive attention as potential complements to conventional cost control policies.
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For the solution of ecological problems in the framework of the preparation of the municipal ecological program in the city of Verkhnyaya Pyshma (Sverdlovskaya Oblast) there was peiformed the assessment of the state of population health, the evaluation of carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health risk from chemicals that pollute the air and drinking water Atmospheric air was established to be the main environment cause for carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks. The obtained results served as the basis for the development of technological, sanitary and hygienical measures of the program aimed at optimizing of the population health.
Currently, due to the increase in motorization, the problem of environmental pollution by emissions of objects of auto-road complex is becoming more and more important not only for cities, butfor dynamically developing regional cities. The negative impact is characterized by the increase of the morbidity rate of environmentally-dependent diseases, primarily respiratory diseases, neoplasms. This exposure is most pronounced near the motorways, at the gas station, and also spreads to residential areas, which requires the optimization of protective and preventive measures. Presented article is devoted to the characterization of air pollution of various areas in the city of Surgut due to emission of sources of auto-road complex with the assessment of public health risks.
In the article there are considered the main problems of assessing public health risks of the combined effects of high temperatures and air pollution with the account taken of the consequences of abnormally hot weather observed in summer 2010 in Moscow and without equals in the history of meteorological measurements in the city. The daily average concentrations of fine suspended particles matter (PM10) in the city during peatland fires from 4 to 9 August are emphasized to be within the range of 431-906 µ/m3, being 7.2-15.1 times the Russian maximum permissible concentration (MPCs) (60 µ/m3). The anomalous heat and high levels of air pollution in this period were shown to cause a significant increase in excess mortality among the population of Moscow. There was established the relative gain in mortality from all natural causes per 10 µg/m3 increase in daily average concentrations of PM10 and ozone, which was respectively: 0.47% (95%; CI: 0.31-0.63) and 0.41% (95%; CI: 0.31-1.13). On the base of the statistical analysis of daily mortality rates, meteorological indices, the concentrations of PM10 and ozone there was developed marking scale for the risk assessment of these indices accordingly to 4 gradings--low (permissible), warning, alert, and a hazard level. There has been substantiated the importance of the introduction of the system for the early alert for hazard weather events and the unified rating scale for the hazard of high air temperatures and high levels of air pollution with PM10 and ozone, which allows to take timely measures for the protection of the public health.