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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 13, Issue 11 (November 2016)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Work and Wellbeing in the 21st Century
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1065; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111065
Received: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 31 October 2016
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Abstract The nature of work and the way it is conceptualised has been evolving since the dawn of humankind.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Stress, Human Health and Wellbeing)
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Open AccessEditorial Environmental Justice Research: Contemporary Issues and Emerging Topics
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1072; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111072
Received: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 29 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
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Abstract
Environmental justice (EJ) research seeks to document and redress the disproportionate environmental burdens and benefits associated with social inequalities. Although its initial focus was on disparities in exposure to anthropogenic pollution, the scope of EJ research has expanded. In the context of intensifying
[...] Read more.
Environmental justice (EJ) research seeks to document and redress the disproportionate environmental burdens and benefits associated with social inequalities. Although its initial focus was on disparities in exposure to anthropogenic pollution, the scope of EJ research has expanded. In the context of intensifying social inequalities and environmental problems, there is a need to further strengthen the EJ research framework and diversify its application. This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) incorporates 19 articles that broaden EJ research by considering emerging topics such as energy, food, drinking water, flooding, sustainability, and gender dynamics, including issues in Canada, the UK, and Eastern Europe. Additionally, the articles contribute to three research themes: (1) documenting connections between unjust environmental exposures and health impacts by examining unsafe infrastructure, substance use, and children’s obesity and academic performance; (2) promoting and achieving EJ by implementing interventions to improve environmental knowledge and health, identifying avenues for sustainable community change, and incorporating EJ metrics in government programs; and (3) clarifying stakeholder perceptions of EJ issues to extend research beyond the documentation of unjust conditions and processes. Collectively, the articles highlight potentially compounding injustices and an array of approaches being employed to achieve EJ. Full article
Open AccessEditorial Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants: An Editorial Reflection of Articles in the IJERPH Special Issue Entitled, “Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants”
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1117; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111117
Received: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
Children are at increased vulnerability to many environmental contaminants compared to adults due to their unique behavior patterns, increased contaminant intake per body weight, and developing biological systems. Depending upon their age, young children may crawl on the floor and may practice increased
[...] Read more.
Children are at increased vulnerability to many environmental contaminants compared to adults due to their unique behavior patterns, increased contaminant intake per body weight, and developing biological systems. Depending upon their age, young children may crawl on the floor and may practice increased hand to mouth activity that may increase their dose-intake of specific contaminants that accumulate in dust and other matrices. Children are also smaller in size than adults, resulting in a greater body burden for a given contaminant dose. Because children undergo rapid transitions through particular developmental stages they are also especially vulnerable during certain growth-related time windows. A Special Issue was organized focused on the latest findings in the field of children’s environmental exposure for these reasons. This editorial introduces articles in this Special Issue and emphasizes their main findings in advancing the field. From the many articles submitted to this Special Issue from around the world, 23 were accepted and published. They focus on a variety of research areas such as children’s activity patterns, improved risk assessment methods to estimate exposures, and exposures in various contexts and to various contaminants. The future health of a nation relies on protecting the children from adverse exposures and understanding the etiology of childhood diseases. The field of children’s environmental exposures must consider improved and comprehensive research methods aimed at introducing mitigation strategies locally, nationally, and globally. We are happy to introduce a Special Issue focused on children’s environmental exposure and children’s health and hope that it contributes towards improved health of children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessEditorial Putting the Barker Theory into the Future: Time to Act on Preventing Pediatric Obesity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1151; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111151
Received: 26 October 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
Growth and development are key characteristics of childhood and sensitive markers of health and adequate nutrition. The first 1000 days of life—conception through 24 months of age—represent a fundamental period for development and thus the prevention of childhood obesity and its adverse consequences
[...] Read more.
Growth and development are key characteristics of childhood and sensitive markers of health and adequate nutrition. The first 1000 days of life—conception through 24 months of age—represent a fundamental period for development and thus the prevention of childhood obesity and its adverse consequences is mandatory. There are many growth drivers during this complex phase of life, such as nutrition, genetic and epigenetic factors, and hormonal regulation. The challenge thus involves maximizing the potential for normal growth without increasing the risk of associated disorders. The Mediterranean Nutrition Group (MeNu Group), a group of researchers of the Mediterranean Region, in this Special Issue titled “Prevent Obesity in the First 1000 Days”, presented results that advanced the science of obesity risk factors in early life, coming both from animal model studies and studies in humans. In the future, early-life intervention designs for the prevention of pediatric obesity will need to look at different strategies, and the MeNu Group is available for guidance regarding an appropriate conceptual framework to accomplish either prevention or treatment strategies to tackle pediatric obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Prevent Obesity in the First 1000 Days)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle The Effects of a Skill-Based Intervention for Victims of Bullying in Brazil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1042; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111042
Received: 28 July 2016 / Revised: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
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Abstract
This study’s objective was to verify whether improved social and emotional skills would reduce victimization among Brazilian 6th grade student victims of bullying. The targets of this intervention were victimized students; a total of 78 victims participated. A cognitive-behavioral intervention based on social
[...] Read more.
This study’s objective was to verify whether improved social and emotional skills would reduce victimization among Brazilian 6th grade student victims of bullying. The targets of this intervention were victimized students; a total of 78 victims participated. A cognitive-behavioral intervention based on social and emotional skills was held in eight weekly sessions. The sessions focused on civility, the ability to make friends, self-control, emotional expressiveness, empathy, assertiveness, and interpersonal problem-solving capacity. Data were analyzed through Poisson regression models with random effects. Pre- and post-analyses reveal that intervention and comparison groups presented significant reduced victimization by bullying. No significant improvement was found in regard to difficulties in practicing social skills. Victimization reduction cannot be attributed to the program. This study contributes to the incipient literature addressing anti-bullying interventions conducted in developing countries and highlights the need for approaches that do not exclusively focus on the students’ individual aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Psychology and Crime)
Open AccessArticle Crash Frequency Analysis Using Hurdle Models with Random Effects Considering Short-Term Panel Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1043; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111043
Received: 21 August 2016 / Revised: 13 October 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
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Abstract
Random effect panel data hurdle models are established to research the daily crash frequency on a mountainous section of highway I-70 in Colorado. Road Weather Information System (RWIS) real-time traffic and weather and road surface conditions are merged into the models incorporating road
[...] Read more.
Random effect panel data hurdle models are established to research the daily crash frequency on a mountainous section of highway I-70 in Colorado. Road Weather Information System (RWIS) real-time traffic and weather and road surface conditions are merged into the models incorporating road characteristics. The random effect hurdle negative binomial (REHNB) model is developed to study the daily crash frequency along with three other competing models. The proposed model considers the serial correlation of observations, the unbalanced panel-data structure, and dominating zeroes. Based on several statistical tests, the REHNB model is identified as the most appropriate one among four candidate models for a typical mountainous highway. The results show that: (1) the presence of over-dispersion in the short-term crash frequency data is due to both excess zeros and unobserved heterogeneity in the crash data; and (2) the REHNB model is suitable for this type of data. Moreover, time-varying variables including weather conditions, road surface conditions and traffic conditions are found to play importation roles in crash frequency. Besides the methodological advancements, the proposed technology bears great potential for engineering applications to develop short-term crash frequency models by utilizing detailed data from field monitoring data such as RWIS, which is becoming more accessible around the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic Safety and Injury Prevention)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Socioeconomic Factors, Gender and Indigenous Status on Smoking in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1044; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111044
Received: 28 April 2016 / Revised: 25 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
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Abstract
The indigenous Austronesian minority of Taiwan is heavily affected by health disparities which may include suffering from a greater burden of the tobacco epidemic. While a lack of representative data has historically precluded an investigation of the differences in smoking between Taiwanese ethnicities,
[...] Read more.
The indigenous Austronesian minority of Taiwan is heavily affected by health disparities which may include suffering from a greater burden of the tobacco epidemic. While a lack of representative data has historically precluded an investigation of the differences in smoking between Taiwanese ethnicities, these data have recently become available through an annual population-based telephone survey conducted by the Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare (previously known as the Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP), Department of Health). We used the BHP monitoring data to observe the prevalence of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke exposure among indigenous and non-indigenous Taiwanese surrounding a tobacco welfare tax increase in 2006, investigate ethnic differences in smoking prevalence and environmental tobacco smoke exposure each year between 2005 and 2008, and perform multiple logistic regression to estimate measures of association between potential risk factors and smoking status. Despite significant ethnic and gender differences in smoking prevalence, smoking status was not found to be significantly associated with ethnicity after controlling for socioeconomic and demographic factors. Full article
Open AccessArticle DALY-Based Health Risk Assessment of Construction Noise in Beijing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1045; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111045
Received: 20 July 2016 / Revised: 9 October 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
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Abstract
Noise produced by construction activities has become the second most serious acoustic polluting element in China. To provide industry practitioners with a better understanding of the health risks of construction noise and to aid in creating environmentally friendly construction plans during early construction
[...] Read more.
Noise produced by construction activities has become the second most serious acoustic polluting element in China. To provide industry practitioners with a better understanding of the health risks of construction noise and to aid in creating environmentally friendly construction plans during early construction stages, we developed a quantitative model to assess the health impairment risks (HIA) associated with construction noise for individuals living adjacent to construction sites. This model classifies noise-induced health impairments into four categories: cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance, and annoyance, and uses disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) as an indicator of damage. Furthermore, the value of a statistical life (VSL) is used to transform DALYs into a monetary value based on the affected demographic characteristics, thereby offering policy makers a reliable theoretical foundation for establishing reasonable standards to compensate residents suffering from construction noise. A practical earthwork project in Beijing is used as a case study to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed model. The results indicate that construction noise could bring significant health risks to the neighboring resident community, with an estimated 34.51 DALYs of health damage and 20.47 million yuan in social costs. In particular, people aged 45–54 are most vulnerable to construction noise, with the greatest health risks being caused by sleep disturbance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cytotoxicity of Odorous Compounds from Poultry Manure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1046; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111046
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
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Abstract
Long-term exposure and inhalation of odorous compounds from poultry manure can be harmful to farm workers and the surrounding residents as well as animals. The aim of the present study was to determine the cytotoxicity and IC50 values of common odorous compounds
[...] Read more.
Long-term exposure and inhalation of odorous compounds from poultry manure can be harmful to farm workers and the surrounding residents as well as animals. The aim of the present study was to determine the cytotoxicity and IC50 values of common odorous compounds such as ammonium, dimethylamine, trimethylamine, butyric acid, phenol, and indole in the chick liver hepatocellular carcinoma cell line LMH (Leghorn Male Hepatoma), in vitro, using MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazolyl-2)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) and PrestoBlue cytotoxicity assays. The cells were microscopically examined for any morphological changes post treatment. Dimethylamine exhibited the strongest cytotoxic effect on LMH cells with an IC50 value of 0.06% and 0.04% after an exposure of 24 h and 48 h, respectively. Both ammonium and trimethylamine had comparable cytotoxicity and their IC50 values were 0.08% and 0.04% after 24 h and 48 h, respectively. Of note, indole had the lowest cytotoxicity as the majority of cells were viable even after 72 h exposure. Thus, the IC50 for indole was not calculated. Results achieved from both MTT and PrestoBlue assays were comparable. Moreover, the morphological changes induced by the tested odours in LMH cells resulted in monolayer destruction, cytoplasm vacuolisation, chromatin condensation, and changes in nucleus and cell shape. Our study showed harmful effects of odorous compounds in chick tissues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Smoke-Free Rules and Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Vehicles among U.S. Adults—National Adult Tobacco Survey, 2009–2010 and 2013–2014
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1048; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111048
Received: 18 July 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
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Abstract
In the United States (U.S.), secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes more than 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults annually. Adoption of smoke-free laws in public areas has increased, but private settings such as vehicles remain a source of SHS exposure. This study assessed change
[...] Read more.
In the United States (U.S.), secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes more than 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults annually. Adoption of smoke-free laws in public areas has increased, but private settings such as vehicles remain a source of SHS exposure. This study assessed change in voluntary smoke-free vehicle rules and SHS exposure in personal vehicles among U.S. adults between two periods, 2009–2010 and 2013–2014, using data from the National Adult Tobacco Survey (NATS). NATS is a national landline and cellular telephone survey of non-institutionalized adults aged ≥18 years in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. We assessed percentage change in the prevalence of smoke-free vehicle rules among all adults and SHS exposure in vehicles among nonsmoking adults, overall, by sociodemographic factors (sex, age, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, annual household income, U.S. region), and by cigarette smoking status. During 2009–2010 to 2013–2014, the percentage of adults with a 100% smoke-free vehicle rule increased from 73.6% to 79.5% (% change = +8.0%; p < 0.05). Among nonsmokers, SHS exposure in vehicles in the previous 7 days decreased from 9.2% to 8.2% (% change = −10.9%; p < 0.05). Smoke-free rules in private settings such as vehicles, in coordination with comprehensive smoke-free policies in indoor public settings, can help reduce SHS exposure and promote smoke-free norms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exposure and Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke)
Open AccessArticle Psychological Predictors of Seeking Help from Mental Health Practitioners among a Large Sample of Polish Young Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1049; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111049
Received: 13 July 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
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Abstract
Although the corresponding literature contains a substantial number of studies on the relationship between psychological factors and attitude towards seeking professional psychological help, the role of some determinants remains unexplored, especially among Polish young adults. The present study investigated diversity among a large
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Although the corresponding literature contains a substantial number of studies on the relationship between psychological factors and attitude towards seeking professional psychological help, the role of some determinants remains unexplored, especially among Polish young adults. The present study investigated diversity among a large cohort of Polish university students related to attitudes towards help-seeking and the regulative roles of gender, level of university education, health locus of control and sense of coherence. The total sample comprised 1706 participants who completed the following measures: Attitude Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale-SF, Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and Orientation to Life Questionnaire (SOC-29). They were recruited from various university faculties and courses by means of random selection. The findings revealed that, among socio-demographic variables, female gender moderately and graduate of university study strongly predict attitude towards seeking help. Internal locus of control and all domains of sense of coherence are significantly correlated with the scores related to the help-seeking attitude. Attitudes toward psychological help-seeking are significantly related to female gender, graduate university education, internal health locus of control and sense of coherence. Further research must be performed in Poland in order to validate these results in different age and social groups. Full article
Open AccessArticle Identification of Vape Shops in Two North Carolina Counties: An Approach for States without Retailer Licensing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1050; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111050
Received: 10 September 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 27 October 2016
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Abstract
Stores that sell electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) as their primary product are a new phenomenon and often termed “vape shops”. While vape shops are now regulated by state and federal agencies, not all states maintain lists of vape shops in operation. Standard
[...] Read more.
Stores that sell electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) as their primary product are a new phenomenon and often termed “vape shops”. While vape shops are now regulated by state and federal agencies, not all states maintain lists of vape shops in operation. Standard ways of identifying tobacco retailers through off-premise alcohol permits and business listing services may not identify vape shops. We used four online business listing services (i.e., Google Maps, ReferenceUSA, YellowPages.com, Yelp) to identify vape shops in two counties in North Carolina (NC). In one county, we also assessed four vaping web sites. We drove primary and secondary roads to physically validate the identified stores and attempt to identify stores not listed online. To assess the accuracy of the online searches, we calculated sensitivity and positive predictive values (PPVs). This research was conducted in spring and summer 2016 and identified 28 vape shops online. We confirmed 16 vape shops (seven in Pitt County, NC, USA, and nine in Durham County, NC, USA). Online searches ranged in sensitivity, 62.5%–81.3%, and PPVs ranged from 73.3% to 92.3%. Because of the range of sensitivity found among the business listing services, state policymakers should consider uniform licensing requirements for vape and tobacco retailers to more easily track retailers and ensure compliance with regulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-Cigarettes: Epidemiology, Policy and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Lung Cancer Mortality Trends in China from 1988 to 2013: New Challenges and Opportunities for the Government
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1052; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111052
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 29 August 2016 / Accepted: 18 September 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
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Abstract
Background: As lung cancer has shown a continuously increasing trend in many countries, it is essential to stay abreast of lung cancer mortality information and take informed actions with a theoretical basis derived from appropriate and practical statistical methods. Methods: Age-specific
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Background: As lung cancer has shown a continuously increasing trend in many countries, it is essential to stay abreast of lung cancer mortality information and take informed actions with a theoretical basis derived from appropriate and practical statistical methods. Methods: Age-specific rates were collected by gender and region (urban/rural) and analysed with descriptive methods and age-period-cohort models to estimate the trends in lung cancer mortality in China from 1988 to 2013. Results: Descriptive analysis revealed that the age-specific mortality rates of lung cancer in rural residents increased markedly over the last three decades, and there was no obvious increase in urban residents. APC analysis showed that the lung cancer mortality rates significantly increased with age (20–84), rose slightly with the time period, and decreased with the cohort, except for the rural cohorts born during the early years (1909–1928). The trends in the patterns of the period and cohort effects showed marked disparities between the urban and rural residents. Conclusions: Lung cancer mortality remains serious and is likely to continue to rise in China. Some known measures are suggested to be decisive factors in mitigating lung cancer, such as environmental conservation, medical security, and tobacco control, which should be implemented more vigorously over the long term in China, especially in rural areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Comparative Study on the Rapid Decolorization of Azo, Anthraquinone and Triphenylmethane Dyes by Anaerobic Sludge
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1053; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111053
Received: 20 August 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
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Abstract
An anaerobic sludge (AS), capable of decolorizing a variety of synthetic dyes, was acclimated and is reported here. The sludge presented a much better dye decolorizing ability than that of different individual strains. A broad spectrum of dyes could be decolorized by the
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An anaerobic sludge (AS), capable of decolorizing a variety of synthetic dyes, was acclimated and is reported here. The sludge presented a much better dye decolorizing ability than that of different individual strains. A broad spectrum of dyes could be decolorized by the sludge. Continuous decolorization tests showed that the sludge exhibited the ability to decolorize repeated additions of dye. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal rate of the dye wastewater reached 52% after 12 h of incubation. Polymerase chain reaction and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) profiles revealed that the microbial community changed as a result of varying initial concentrations of dyes. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that microbial populations in the sludge belonged to the phyla Acidobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi and Proteobacteria. The degradation products of the three types of dye were identified. For azo dyes, the anaerobic sludge converted Methyl Orange to N,N-dimethylbenzene-1,4-diamine and 4-aminobenzenesulfonic acid; for triphenylmethane dyes, after Malachite Green was decolorized, the analyzed products were found to be a mixture of N,N-dimethylbenzenamine, 3-dimethyl-aminophenol and 4-dimethylaminobenzophenone; for anthraquinone dyes, two products (acetophenone and 2-methylbenzoic acid) were observed after Reactive Blue 19 decolorization. Together, these results suggest that the anaerobic sludge has promising potential for use in the treatment of industrial wastewater containing various types of dyes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Drinking and Driving among Recent Latino Immigrants: The Impact of Neighborhoods and Social Support
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1055; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111055
Received: 18 September 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
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Abstract
Latinos are disproportionately impacted by drinking and driving arrests and alcohol-related fatal crashes. Why, and how, these disparities occur remains unclear. The neighborhood environments that recent Latino immigrants encounter in their host communities can potentially influence health behaviors over time, including the propensity
[...] Read more.
Latinos are disproportionately impacted by drinking and driving arrests and alcohol-related fatal crashes. Why, and how, these disparities occur remains unclear. The neighborhood environments that recent Latino immigrants encounter in their host communities can potentially influence health behaviors over time, including the propensity to engage in drinking and driving. This cross-sectional study utilizes a sample of 467 documented and undocumented adult recent Latino immigrants in the United States to answer the following research questions: (a) How do neighborhood-level factors, combined with social support, impact drinking and driving risk behaviors?; and (b) Does acculturative stress moderate the effects of those associations? Results indicate neighborhood-level factors (informal social control and social capital) have protective effects against drinking and driving risk behaviors via the mediating mechanism of social support. Acculturative stress moderated associations between neighborhood informal social control and social support, whereby the protective effects of informal social control on social support were not present for those immigrants with higher levels of acculturative stress. Our findings contribute to the limited knowledge of drinking and driving among Latino immigrants early in the immigration process and suggest that, in the process of developing prevention programs tailored to Latino immigrants, greater attention must be paid to neighborhood-level factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Determinants of HIV, Substance Abuse and Addiction)
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Open AccessArticle Noise Annoyance in Urban Children: A Cross-Sectional Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1056; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111056
Received: 9 July 2016 / Revised: 29 September 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
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Abstract
Acoustical and non-acoustical factors influencing noise annoyance in adults have been well-documented in recent years; however, similar knowledge is lacking in children. The aim of this study was to quantify the annoyance caused by chronic ambient noise at home in children and to
[...] Read more.
Acoustical and non-acoustical factors influencing noise annoyance in adults have been well-documented in recent years; however, similar knowledge is lacking in children. The aim of this study was to quantify the annoyance caused by chronic ambient noise at home in children and to assess the relationship between these children′s noise annoyance level and individual and contextual factors in the surrounding urban area. A cross sectional population-based study was conducted including 517 children attending primary school in a European city. Noise annoyance was measured using a self-report questionnaire adapted for children. Six noise exposure level indicators were built at different locations at increasing distances from the child′s bedroom window using a validated strategic noise map. Multilevel logistic models were constructed to investigate factors associated with noise annoyance in children. Noise indicators in front of the child′s bedroom (p ≤ 0.01), family residential satisfaction (p ≤ 0.03) and socioeconomic characteristics of the individuals and their neighbourhood (p ≤ 0.05) remained associated with child annoyance. These findings illustrate the complex relationships between our environment, how we may perceive it, social factors and health. Better understanding of these relationships will undoubtedly allow us to more effectively quantify the actual effect of noise on human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Place and Health Equity)
Open AccessArticle Ferritin Level Is Positively Associated with Chronic Kidney Disease in Korean Men, Based on the 2010–2012 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1058; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111058
Received: 28 August 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
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Abstract
(1) Background: Oxidative stress and inflammation are associated with higher risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Serum ferritin concentrations correlate with total iron levels and systemic inflammation. (2) Methods: This study was cross-sectionally designed, based on the 2010–2012 Korean National Health and Nutrition
[...] Read more.
(1) Background: Oxidative stress and inflammation are associated with higher risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Serum ferritin concentrations correlate with total iron levels and systemic inflammation. (2) Methods: This study was cross-sectionally designed, based on the 2010–2012 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). According to ferritin values, 13,462 participants (6082 men and 7380 women) were categorized into the normal- and high-ferritin groups (cut-off points: 200 ng/mL in men, 150 ng/mL in women). (3) Results: The mean ages of men and women were 44.5 and 48.4 years, respectively. The percentage of participants categorized into the high-ferritin group was 15.1% for men and 3.6% for women. The estimated glomerular filtration rate levels in the normal- and high-ferritin groups were 93.2 and 93.8 mL/min/1.73 m2 for men and 97.1 and 87.7 mL/min/1.73 m2 for women, respectively. The prevalence of CKD in the normal- and high-ferritin groups was 2.6% and 3.9% for men and 3.2% and 8.1% for women, respectively. Compared with the normal-ferritin group, the odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for CKD of the high-ferritin group were 1.573 (1.014–2.441) in men and 1.061 (0.381–2.955) in women, after adjustments for age and other covariates. (4) Conclusions: High ferritin levels were associated with a higher risk of CKD in men but not in women. Full article
Open AccessArticle System Dynamics Model and Simulation of Employee Work-Family Conflict in the Construction Industry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1059; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111059
Received: 21 September 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
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Abstract
The construction industry is a demanding work environment where employees’ work-family conflict is particularly prominent. This conflict has a significant impact on job and family satisfaction and performance of employees. In order to analyze the dynamic evolution of construction industry employee’s work-family conflict
[...] Read more.
The construction industry is a demanding work environment where employees’ work-family conflict is particularly prominent. This conflict has a significant impact on job and family satisfaction and performance of employees. In order to analyze the dynamic evolution of construction industry employee’s work-family conflict between work and family domains, this paper constructs a bi-directional dynamic model framework of work-family conflict by referring to the relevant literature. Consequently, a system dynamics model of employee’s work-family conflict in the construction industry is established, and a simulation is conducted. The simulation results indicate that construction industry employees experience work interference with family conflict (WIFC) levels which are significantly greater than the family interference with work conflict (FIWC) levels. This study also revealed that improving work flexibility and organizational support can have a positive impact on the satisfaction and performance of construction industry employees from a work and family perspective. Furthermore, improving family support can only significantly improve employee job satisfaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effecting a Safe and Healthy Environment in Construction)
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Open AccessArticle Patterns of Smoking Behaviour in Low-Income Pregnant Women: A Cohort Study of Differential Effects on Infant Birth Weight
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1060; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111060
Received: 4 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
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Abstract
Maternal smoking accounts for 20%–30% of low birth weight (BW). Second-Hand Smoke (SHS) also negatively affects BW. This cohort study explored the differential effect of smoking patterns during pregnancy on infant BW. Smoking status for 652 self-reported smokers attending public ante-natal clinics was
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Maternal smoking accounts for 20%–30% of low birth weight (BW). Second-Hand Smoke (SHS) also negatively affects BW. This cohort study explored the differential effect of smoking patterns during pregnancy on infant BW. Smoking status for 652 self-reported smokers attending public ante-natal clinics was assessed at baseline (V1 first ante-natal visit), 28–32 weeks (V2) and one week after birth (V3). Multivariable generalised linear regression models tested smoking patterns (continuing to smoke, sustained quitting, partial quitting) on BW adjusting for household smoking and other co-variates. Total quitting showed a median increase of 288 g in BW (95% CI (confidence intervals): 153.1–423 g, p < 0.001), compared to partial quitting (147 g, (95% CI: 50–244 g), p < 0.003). In partial quitters, increased BW was observed only in females 218 g, (95% CI: 81–355 g), p = 0.002). Household SHS showed a specific negative influence on pre-term but not term BW. This study suggests that, for low-income women, quitting or partial quitting during pregnancy both have a positive influence on infant BW. Whether others in the household smoke is also important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
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Open AccessArticle Using Virtual Street Audits to Understand the Walkability of Older Adults’ Route Choices by Gender and Age
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1061; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111061
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 3 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
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Abstract
Walking for physical activity can bring important health benefits to older adults. In this population, walking has been related to various urban design features and street characteristics. To gain new insights into the microscale environmental details that might influence seniors’ walking, details which
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Walking for physical activity can bring important health benefits to older adults. In this population, walking has been related to various urban design features and street characteristics. To gain new insights into the microscale environmental details that might influence seniors’ walking, details which might be more amenable to change than neighbourhood level factors, we employed a reliable streetscape audit tool, in combination with Google Street View, to evaluate the ‘walkability’ of where older adults choose to walk. Analysis of the routes selected by a purposive sample of independently mobile adults aged 65 years and over living in Edinburgh, UK, revealed a preference to walk in more walkable environments, alongside a willingness to walk in less supportive settings. At times, factors commonly considered important for walking, including wayfinding and legibility, user conflict, kerb paving quality, and lighting appeared to have little impact on older adults’ decisions about where to walk. The implications for policy, practice, and the emerging technique of virtual auditing are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
Open AccessArticle Construction of a Seasonal Difference-Geographically and Temporally Weighted Regression (SD-GTWR) Model and Comparative Analysis with GWR-Based Models for Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS) in Hubei Province (China)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1062; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111062
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 8 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
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Abstract
Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is considered a globally distributed infectious disease which results in many deaths annually in Hubei Province, China. In order to conduct a better analysis and accurately predict HFRS incidence in Hubei Province, a new model named Seasonal
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Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is considered a globally distributed infectious disease which results in many deaths annually in Hubei Province, China. In order to conduct a better analysis and accurately predict HFRS incidence in Hubei Province, a new model named Seasonal Difference-Geographically and Temporally Weighted Regression (SD-GTWR) was constructed. The SD-GTWR model, which integrates the analysis and relationship of seasonal difference, spatial and temporal characteristics of HFRS (HFRS was characterized by spatiotemporal heterogeneity and it is seasonally distributed), was designed to illustrate the latent relationships between the spatio-temporal pattern of the HFRS epidemic and its influencing factors. Experiments from the study demonstrated that SD-GTWR model is superior to traditional models such as GWR- based models in terms of the efficiency and the ability of providing influencing factor analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Preventive Effects of Safety Helmets on Traumatic Brain Injury after Work-Related Falls
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1063; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111063
Received: 12 September 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
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Abstract
Introduction: Work-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by falls is a catastrophic event that leads to disabilities and high socio-medical costs. This study aimed to measure the magnitude of the preventive effect of safety helmets on clinical outcomes and to compare the effect
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Introduction: Work-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by falls is a catastrophic event that leads to disabilities and high socio-medical costs. This study aimed to measure the magnitude of the preventive effect of safety helmets on clinical outcomes and to compare the effect across different heights of fall. Methods: We collected a nationwide, prospective database of work-related injury patients who visited the 10 emergency departments between July 2010 and October 2012. All of the adult patients who experienced work-related fall injuries were eligible, excluding cases with unknown safety helmet use and height of fall. Primary and secondary endpoints were intracranial injury and in-hospital mortality. We calculated adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of safety helmet use and height of fall for study outcomes, and adjusted for any potential confounders. Results: A total of 1298 patients who suffered from work-related fall injuries were enrolled. The industrial or construction area was the most common place of fall injury occurrence, and 45.0% were wearing safety helmets at the time of fall injuries. The safety helmet group was less likely to have intracranial injury comparing with the no safety helmet group (the adjusted odds ratios (ORs) (95% confidence interval (CI)): 0.42 (0.24–0.73)), however, there was no statistical difference of in-hospital mortality between two groups (the adjusted ORs (95% CI): 0.83 (0.34–2.03). In the interaction analysis, preventive effects of safety helmet on intracranial injury were significant within 4 m height of fall. Conclusions: A safety helmet is associated with prevention of intracranial injury resulting from work-related fall and the effect is preserved within 4 m height of fall. Therefore, wearing a safety helmet can be an intervention for protecting fall-related intracranial injury in the workplace. Full article
Open AccessArticle Air Pollution Exposure in Relation to the Commute to School: A Bradford UK Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1064; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111064
Received: 17 August 2016 / Revised: 9 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
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Abstract
Walking School Buses (WSBs) provide a safe alternative to being driven to school. Children benefit from the contribution the exercise provides towards their daily exercise target, it gives children practical experience with respect to road safety and it helps to relieve traffic congestion
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Walking School Buses (WSBs) provide a safe alternative to being driven to school. Children benefit from the contribution the exercise provides towards their daily exercise target, it gives children practical experience with respect to road safety and it helps to relieve traffic congestion around the entrance to their school. Walking routes are designed largely based in road safety considerations, catchment need and the availability of parent support. However, little attention is given to the air pollution exposure experienced by children during their journey to school, despite the commuting microenvironment being an important contributor to a child’s daily air pollution exposure. This study aims to quantify the air pollution exposure experienced by children walking to school and those being driven by car. A school was chosen in Bradford, UK. Three adult participants carried out the journey to and from school, each carrying a P-Trak ultrafine particle (UFP) count monitor. One participant travelled the journey to school by car while the other two walked, each on opposite sides of the road for the majority of the journey. Data collection was carried out over a period of two weeks, for a total of five journeys to school in the morning and five on the way home at the end of the school day. Results of the study suggest that car commuters experience lower levels of air pollution dose due to lower exposure and reduced commute times. The largest reductions in exposure for pedestrians can be achieved by avoiding close proximity to traffic queuing up at intersections, and, where possible, walking on the side of the road opposite the traffic, especially during the morning commuting period. Major intersections should also be avoided as they were associated with peak exposures. Steps to ensure that the phasing of lights is optimised to minimise pedestrian waiting time would also help reduce exposure. If possible, busy roads should be avoided altogether. By the careful design of WSB routes, taking into account air pollution, children will be able to experience the benefits that walking to school brings while minimizing their air pollution exposure during their commute to and from school. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Associations of Breast Cancer Risk Factors with Premenopausal Sex Hormones in Women with Very Low Breast Cancer Risk
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1066; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111066
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 31 October 2016
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Abstract
Breast cancer incidence rates are low but rising in urban Mongolia. We collected reproductive and lifestyle factor information and measured anthropometrics and serum sex steroid concentrations among 314 premenopausal women living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Mean differences in hormone concentrations by these factors were
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Breast cancer incidence rates are low but rising in urban Mongolia. We collected reproductive and lifestyle factor information and measured anthropometrics and serum sex steroid concentrations among 314 premenopausal women living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Mean differences in hormone concentrations by these factors were calculated using age-adjusted quadratic regression splines. Estrone and estradiol in college-educated women were, respectively, 18.2% (p = 0.03) and 23.6% (p = 0.03) lower than in high-school-educated women. Progesterone concentrations appeared 55.8% lower (p = 0.10) in women residing in modern housing compared with women living in traditional housing (gers), although this finding was not statistically significant. Testosterone concentrations were positively associated with adiposity and central fat distribution; 17.1% difference (p = 0.001) for highest vs. lowest quarter for body mass index and 15.1% difference (p = 0.005) for waist-to-height ratio. Estrogens were higher in the follicular phase of women who breastfed each child for shorter durations. A distinct hormonal profile was associated with an urban lifestyle in premenopausal, Mongol women. In particular, heavier, more-educated women living in urban dwellings had higher testosterone and lower estrogen and progesterone levels. Higher breast cancer incidence in urban compared with rural women suggest that the hormonal profile associated with a more traditional lifestyle may be protective among Mongol women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Variation in Breast Cancer Outcomes)
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Open AccessArticle Diabetes and Obesity as Independent Risk Factors for Osteoporosis: Updated Results from the ROIS/EMEROS Registry in a Population of Five Thousand Post-Menopausal Women Living in a Region Characterized by Heavy Environmental Pressure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1067; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111067
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
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Abstract
Objectives: We aimed to analyze bone mineralization and the effect of different risk factors for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Methods: We found 4909 postmenopausal subjects within ≥10,000 records from the ROIS/EMEROS (Ionian and Salento Osteoporosis Registry/Euro Mediterranean Registry of Osteoporosis) registry,
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Objectives: We aimed to analyze bone mineralization and the effect of different risk factors for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Methods: We found 4909 postmenopausal subjects within ≥10,000 records from the ROIS/EMEROS (Ionian and Salento Osteoporosis Registry/Euro Mediterranean Registry of Osteoporosis) registry, a population study carried out in an area characterized by heavy environmental pressure between Brindisi and Taranto from 2009 to 2016. All subjects were assessed via phalangeal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) to evaluate their bone mineralization (assessed via amplitude dependent speed of sound (AD-SoS)) and the association between demineralization and the presence of other conditions or risk factors. Results: Mean age was 64 ± 9.5 years and mean body mass index (BMI) was 28.7 ± 3.5 kg/m2. Pearson correlation analyses revealed a negative association between bone mineralization (AD-SoS) and BMI (p < 0.001). By using multivariate logistic regression analysis, we observed significant values of odds ratios (ORs) of osteoporosis (adjusted for age, physical activity, and the use of drugs known to increase the risk of fractures) in subjects with diabetes and obesity: 1.39 (confidence interval (CI): 1.05–1.83) and 1.46 (CI: 1.20–1.78), respectively. A statistically significant linear trend of higher ORs of osteoporosis was found for increasing values of BMI. Conclusions: Our study confirmed the high impact of obesity and type 1 and type 2 diabetes on osteoporosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Diseases)
Open AccessArticle Benzene Exposure Alters Expression of Enzymes Involved in Fatty Acid β-Oxidation in Male C3H/He Mice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1068; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111068
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 31 October 2016
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Abstract
Benzene is a well-known hematotoxic carcinogen that can cause leukemia and a variety of blood disorders. Our previous study indicated that benzene disturbs levels of metabolites in the fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) pathway, which is crucial for the maintenance and function of hematopoietic
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Benzene is a well-known hematotoxic carcinogen that can cause leukemia and a variety of blood disorders. Our previous study indicated that benzene disturbs levels of metabolites in the fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) pathway, which is crucial for the maintenance and function of hematopoietic and leukemic cells. The present research aims to investigate the effects of benzene on changes in the expression of key enzymes in the FAO pathway in male C3H/He mice. Results showed that benzene exposure caused reduced peripheral white blood cell (WBC), red blood cell (RBC), platelet (Pit) counts, and hemoglobin (Hgb) concentration. Investigation of the effects of benzene on the expression of FA transport- and β-oxidation-related enzymes showed that expression of proteins Cpt1a, Crat, Acaa2, Aldh1l2, Acadvl, Crot, Echs1, and Hadha was significantly increased. The ATP levels and mitochondrial membrane potential decreased in mice exposed to benzene. Meanwhile, reactive oxygen species (ROS), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were significantly increased in the benzene group. Our results indicate that benzene induces increased expression of FA transport and β-oxidation enzymes, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress, which may play a role in benzene-induced hematotoxicity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Childhood Fish Consumption and Learning and Behavioral Disorders
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1069; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111069
Received: 15 July 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract
Fish is a major source of nutrients critical for brain development during early life. The importance of childhood fish consumption is supported by several studies reporting associations of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) supplementation with better behavior and school performance. However, fish
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Fish is a major source of nutrients critical for brain development during early life. The importance of childhood fish consumption is supported by several studies reporting associations of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) supplementation with better behavior and school performance. However, fish may have a different effect than n-3 PUFA alone due to the neurotoxic effects of methylmercury, a frequent contaminant. We investigated associations of childhood fish consumption with learning and behavioral disorders in birth cohort study of the neurotoxic effects of early life exposure to solvent-contaminated drinking water. Childhood (age 7–12 years) fish consumption and learning and behavioral problems were reported in self-administered questionnaires (age 23–41 at questionnaire completion). Fish consumption was not meaningfully associated with repeating a grade, tutoring, attending summer school, special class placement, or low educational attainment. However, participants who ate fish several times a week had an elevated odds of Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (odds ratio: 5.2; 95% confidence interval: 1.5–18) compared to participants who did not eat fish. While these findings generally support the safety of the observed level of fish consumption, the absence of a beneficial effect may be attributed to insufficient fish intake or the choice of relatively low n-3 PUFA fish. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Association between Suicide Ideation and Attempts and Being an Immigrant among Adolescents, and the Role of Socioeconomic Factors and School, Behavior, and Health-Related Difficulties
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1070; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111070
Received: 10 September 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
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Abstract
The risk of suicide behaviors in immigrant adolescents varies across countries and remains partly understood. We conducted a study in France to examine immigrant adolescents’ likelihood of experiencing suicide ideation in the last 12 months (SI) and lifetime suicide attempts (SA) compared with
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The risk of suicide behaviors in immigrant adolescents varies across countries and remains partly understood. We conducted a study in France to examine immigrant adolescents’ likelihood of experiencing suicide ideation in the last 12 months (SI) and lifetime suicide attempts (SA) compared with their native counterparts, and the contribution of socioeconomic factors and school, behavior, and health-related difficulties. Questionnaires were completed by 1559 middle-school adolescents from north-eastern France including various risk factors, SI, SA, and their first occurrence over adolescent’s life course (except SI). Data were analyzed using logistic regression models for SI and Cox regression models for SA (retaining only school, behavior, and health-related difficulties that started before SA). Immigrant adolescents had a two-time higher risk of SI and SA than their native counterparts. Using nested models, the excess SI risk was highly explained by socioeconomic factors (27%) and additional school, behavior, and health-related difficulties (24%) but remained significant. The excess SA risk was more highly explained by these issues (40% and 85%, respectively) and became non-significant. These findings demonstrate the risk patterns of SI and SA and the prominent confounding roles of socioeconomic factors and school, behavior, and health-related difficulties. They may be provided to policy makers, schools, carers, and various organizations interested in immigrant, adolescent, and suicide-behavior problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee Health)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Governing Factors of Variability in Nocturnal Boundary Layer Height Based on Elastic Lidar in Wuhan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1071; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111071
Received: 3 June 2016 / Revised: 13 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
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Abstract
The atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), an atmospheric region near the Earth’s surface, is affected by surface forcing and is important for studying air quality, climate, and weather forecasts. In this study, long-term urban nocturnal boundary layers (NBLs) were estimated by an elastic backscatter
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The atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), an atmospheric region near the Earth’s surface, is affected by surface forcing and is important for studying air quality, climate, and weather forecasts. In this study, long-term urban nocturnal boundary layers (NBLs) were estimated by an elastic backscatter light detection and ranging (LiDAR) with various methods in Wuhan (30.5° N, 114.4° E), a city in Central China. This study aims to explore two ABL research topics: (1) the relationship between NBL height (NBLH) and near-surface parameters (e.g., sensible heat flux, temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity) to elucidate meteorological processes governing NBL variability; and (2) the influence of NBLH variations in surface particulate matter (PM) in Wuhan. We analyzed the nocturnal ABL-dilution/ABL-accumulation effect on surface particle concentration by using a typical case. A long-term analysis was then performed from 5 December 2012–17 June 2016. Results reveal that the seasonal averages of nocturnal (from 20:00 to 05:00 next day, Chinese standard time) NBLHs are 386 ± 161 m in spring, 473 ± 154 m in summer, 383 ± 137 m in autumn, and 309 ± 94 m in winter. The seasonal variations in NBLH, AOD, and PM2.5 display a deep (shallow) seasonal mean NBL, consistent with a small (larger) seasonal mean PM2.5 near the surface. Seasonal variability of NBLH is partly linearly correlated with sensible heat flux at the surface (R = 0.72). Linear regression analyses between NBLH and other parameters show the following: (1) the positive correlation (R = 0.68) between NBLH and surface temperature indicates high (low) NBLH corresponding to warm (cool) conditions; (2) the slight positive correlation (R = 0.52) between NBLH and surface relative humidity in Wuhan; and (3) the weak positive correlation (R = 0.38) between NBLH and wind speed inside the NBL may imply that the latter is not an important direct driver that governs the seasonal variability of NBLH. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impacts of Air Temperature on Accidental Casualties in Beijing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1073; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111073
Received: 16 August 2016 / Revised: 23 October 2016 / Accepted: 23 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract
Emergency room (ER) visits for accidental casualties, according to the International Classification of Deceases 10th Revision Chapters 19 and 20, include injury, poisoning, and external causes (IPEC). Annual distribution of 187,008 ER visits that took place between 2009 and 2011 in Beijing, China
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Emergency room (ER) visits for accidental casualties, according to the International Classification of Deceases 10th Revision Chapters 19 and 20, include injury, poisoning, and external causes (IPEC). Annual distribution of 187,008 ER visits that took place between 2009 and 2011 in Beijing, China displayed regularity rather than random characteristics. The annual cycle from the Fourier series fitting of the number of ER visits was found to explain 63.2% of its total variance. In this study, the possible effect and regulation of meteorological conditions on these ER visits are investigated through the use of correlation analysis, as well as statistical modeling by using the Distributed Lag Non-linear Model and Generalized Additive Model. Correlation analysis indicated that meteorological variables that positively correlated with temperature have a positive relationship with the number of ER visits, and vice versa. The temperature metrics of maximum, minimum, and mean temperatures were found to have similar overall impacts, including both the direct impact on human mental/physical conditions and indirect impact on human behavior. The lag analysis indicated that the overall impacts of temperatures higher than the 50th percentile on ER visits occur immediately, whereas low temperatures show protective effects in the first few days. Accidental casualties happen more frequently on warm days when the mean temperature is higher than 14 °C than on cold days. Mean temperatures of around 26 °C result in the greatest possibility of ER visits for accidental casualties. In addition, males were found to face a higher risk of accidental casualties than females at high temperatures. Therefore, the IPEC-classified ER visits are not pure accidents; instead, they are associated closely with meteorological conditions, especially temperature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Proposal of Environmental Impact Assessment Method for Concrete in South Korea: An Application in LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1074; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111074
Received: 22 August 2016 / Revised: 18 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract
This study aims to develop a system for assessing the impact of the substances discharged from concrete production process on six environmental impact categories, i.e., global warming (GWP), acidification (AP), eutrophication (EP), abiotic depletion (ADP), ozone depletion (ODP), and photochemical oxidant creation (POCP),
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This study aims to develop a system for assessing the impact of the substances discharged from concrete production process on six environmental impact categories, i.e., global warming (GWP), acidification (AP), eutrophication (EP), abiotic depletion (ADP), ozone depletion (ODP), and photochemical oxidant creation (POCP), using the life a cycle assessment (LCA) method. To achieve this, this study proposed an LCA method specifically applicable to the Korean concrete industry by adapting the ISO standards to suit the Korean situations. The proposed LCA method involves a system that performs environmental impact assessment on the basis of input information on concrete mix design, transport distance, and energy consumption in a batch plant. The Concrete Lifecycle Assessment System (CLAS) thus developed provides user-friendly support for environmental impact assessment with specialized database for concrete mix materials and energy sources. In the case analysis using the CLAS, among the substances discharged from the production of 24 MPa concrete, those contributing to GWP, AP, EP, ADP, ODP, and POCP were assessed to amount to 309 kg-CO2 eq/m3, 28.7 kg-SO2 eq/m3, 5.21 kg-PO43− eq/m3, 0.000049 kg-CFC11 eq/m3, 34 kg/m3, and 21 kg-Ethylene eq/m3, respectively. Of these six environmental impact categories selected for the LCA in this study, ordinary Portland cement (OPC) was found to contribute most intensely to GWP and POCP, and aggregates, to AP, EP, ODP, and ADP. It was also found that the mix design with increased prop proportion of recycled aggregate was found to contribute to reducing the impact in all other categories. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Combined and Relative Effect Levels of Perceived Risk, Knowledge, Optimism, Pessimism, and Social Trust on Anxiety among Inhabitants Concerning Living on Heavy Metal Contaminated Soil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1076; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111076
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract
This research aims at combined and relative effect levels on anxiety of: (1) perceived risk, knowledge, optimism, pessimism, and social trust; and (2) four sub-variables of social trust among inhabitants concerning living on heavy metal contaminated soil. On the basis of survey data
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This research aims at combined and relative effect levels on anxiety of: (1) perceived risk, knowledge, optimism, pessimism, and social trust; and (2) four sub-variables of social trust among inhabitants concerning living on heavy metal contaminated soil. On the basis of survey data from 499 Chinese respondents, results suggest that perceived risk, pessimism, optimism, and social trust have individual, significant, and direct effects on anxiety, while knowledge does not. Knowledge has significant, combined, and interactive effects on anxiety together with social trust and pessimism, respectively, but does not with perceived risk and optimism. Social trust, perceived risk, pessimism, knowledge, and optimism have significantly combined effects on anxiety; the five variables as a whole have stronger predictive values than each one individually. Anxiety is influenced firstly by social trust and secondly by perceived risk, pessimism, knowledge, and optimism. Each of four sub-variables of social trust has an individual, significant, and negative effect on anxiety. When introducing four sub-variables into one model, trust in social organizations and in the government have significantly combined effects on anxiety, while trust in experts and in friends and relatives do not; anxiety is influenced firstly by trust in social organization, and secondly by trust in the government. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Gender Differences in the Longitudinal Association between Work-Related Injury and Depression
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1077; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111077
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract
Little is known about gender differences in the association between occupational injury and depression. We investigated the bidirectional association and gender differences between work-related injury and depression using the same cohort in the US Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). In Analysis 1, the
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Little is known about gender differences in the association between occupational injury and depression. We investigated the bidirectional association and gender differences between work-related injury and depression using the same cohort in the US Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). In Analysis 1, the association of occupational injury and subsequent depression was investigated from 35,155 employees without depression. Analysis 2 included 32,355 participants without previous injury and examined the association of depression and work-related injury. The multivariable-adjusted odds ratio was estimated using a discrete time-proportional odds model. Male workers who had experienced workplace injury were more vulnerable to post-injury depression than non-injured male workers (OR = 2.35, 95% CI: 1.52, 3.65). Female workers with depression were more prone to get injured at the workplace than the non-depressed female workers (OR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.96). These results did not hold in the reverse direction for both genders. Workers compensation benefit was positively associated with the risk of post-injury depression among males, whereas anti-depressant medication and duration of depression were related to workplace injury among females. Gender differences in the direction and associated factors of the relationship between occupational injury and depression highlight the need for gender-specific intervention to the vicious cycle of workplace injury and depression. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cellular Mutagenicity and Heavy Metal Concentrations of Leachates Extracted from the Fly and Bottom Ash Derived from Municipal Solid Waste Incineration
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1078; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111078
Received: 14 August 2016 / Revised: 14 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract
Two incinerators in Taiwan have recently attempted to reuse the fly and bottom ash that they produce, but the mutagenicity of these types of ash has not yet been assessed. Therefore, we evaluated the mutagenicity of the ash with the Ames mutagenicity assay
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Two incinerators in Taiwan have recently attempted to reuse the fly and bottom ash that they produce, but the mutagenicity of these types of ash has not yet been assessed. Therefore, we evaluated the mutagenicity of the ash with the Ames mutagenicity assay using the TA98, TA100, and TA1535 bacterial strains. We obtained three leachates from three leachants of varying pH values using the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure test recommended by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency (Taiwan EPA). We then performed the Ames assay on the harvested leachates. To evaluate the possible relationship between the presence of heavy metals and mutagenicity, the concentrations of five heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn) in the leachates were also determined. The concentrations of Cd and Cr in the most acidic leachate from the precipitator fly ash and the Cd concentration in the most acidic leachate from the boiler fly ash exceeded the recommended limits. Notably, none of the nine leachates extracted from the boiler, precipitator, or bottom ashes displayed mutagenic activity. This data partially affirms the safety of the fly and bottom ash produced by certain incinerators. Therefore, the biotoxicity of leachates from recycled ash should be routinely monitored before reusing the ash. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle A Comparative Study of Dog- and Cat-Induced Injury on Incidence and Risk Factors among Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1079; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111079
Received: 12 August 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: Millions of people are bitten by animals each year, with approximately 90% of the injuries being caused by dogs and cats. However, few studies focus on risk factors of dog- and cat-induced injury in China. Therefore, the objective of this study was
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Background: Millions of people are bitten by animals each year, with approximately 90% of the injuries being caused by dogs and cats. However, few studies focus on risk factors of dog- and cat-induced injury in China. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the rate of dog- and cat-induced injury and its potential risk factors. Methods: The data were from a population-based cross-sectional study conducted in 2015, with a sample of 9380 children 6–19 years of age from two cities, Shenzhen (large city) and Shantou (mid-sized city), in southern China. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify the risk factors of injury by dogs and cats. Results: The total rates of dog and cat-induced injury were 15.1% and 8.7% during the lifetime, and 3.4% and 1.7% during the past year, respectively. Dog bites mostly occurred in the dog’s residence (49.4%). Cat scratches were more likely to be inflicted by one’s own cat (47.5%). Children living in suburban and island county had 2.83 times and 2.53 times more dog-related injuries than central urban children, respectively. After stratification by cities, injuries in Shantou were correlated with non-single child families (OR (odds ratios), 1.46; 95% CI (95% confidence interval), 1.09–1.96) and raising cats (OR, 5.34; 95% CI, 3.88–7.35). Those who disliked animals (OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.45–0.88) or had good academic performance (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.35–0.60) had lower risk for injury. Injuries in Shenzhen were related to the mother’s educational level (OR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.11–2.07) and mother being a migrant worker (OR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.12–3.94). Conclusions: Family factors were important to predict dog- and cat-induced injury among children from Shenzhen, and personal factors were closely associated with injury among children form Shantou. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Dietary Patterns in Relation to General and Central Obesity among Adults in Southwest China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1080; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111080
Received: 2 August 2016 / Revised: 13 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
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Abstract
Dietary patterns represent a broader picture of food consumption, and are better correlated with a variety of health outcomes. However, few studies have been conducted to explore the associations between dietary patterns and obesity in Southwest China. Data from the 2010–2012 National Nutrition
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Dietary patterns represent a broader picture of food consumption, and are better correlated with a variety of health outcomes. However, few studies have been conducted to explore the associations between dietary patterns and obesity in Southwest China. Data from the 2010–2012 National Nutrition Survey in the province of Yunnan, Southwest China, were analyzed (n = 1604, aged 18–80 years). Dietary data were collected using the 24 h dietary recall over three consecutive days. Height, weight, and waist circumference were measured following standard methods. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify dietary patterns. Logistic regression was used to explore the association between dietary patterns and obesity. Three distinct dietary patterns were identified, which were labeled as traditional, modern, and tuber according to their key components. With potential confounders adjusted, adults in the highest quartile of the modern pattern were at higher risk of general and central obesity (odds ratio (OR) 1.95, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15–3.48; OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.37–2.93). In contrast, adults in the highest quartile of the tuber pattern were at lower risk of general and central obesity (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.15–0.61; OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.43–0.95) but at higher risk of underweight (OR 2.57, 95% CI 1.20–6.45). No significant association was found between the traditional pattern and obesity. Moreover, dietary pattern differences occurred due to the differences in socio-demographic characteristics. In conclusion, the modern dietary pattern was positively, and the tuber pattern negatively, associated with general and central obesity among adults in Southwest China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Phenanthrene and Pyrene Modify the Composition and Structure of the Cultivable Endophytic Bacterial Community in Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1081; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111081
Received: 24 August 2016 / Revised: 18 October 2016 / Accepted: 29 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
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Abstract
This study provides new insights into the dynamics of bacterial community structure during phytoremediation. The communities of cultivable autochthonous endophytic bacteria in ryegrass exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated with regard to their potential to biodegrade PAHs. Bacterial counts and 16S
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This study provides new insights into the dynamics of bacterial community structure during phytoremediation. The communities of cultivable autochthonous endophytic bacteria in ryegrass exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated with regard to their potential to biodegrade PAHs. Bacterial counts and 16S rRNA gene sequence were used in the microbiological evaluation. A total of 33 endophytic bacterial strains were isolated from ryegrass plants, which represented 15 different genera and eight different classes, respectively. Moreover, PAH contamination modified the composition and structure of the endophytic bacterial community in the plants. Bacillus sp., Pantoea sp., Pseudomonas sp., Arthrobacter sp., Pedobacter sp. and Delftia sp. were only isolated from the seedlings exposed to PAHs. Furthermore, the dominant genera in roots shifted from Enterobacter sp. to Serratia sp., Bacillus sp., Pantoea sp., and Stenotrophomonas sp., which could highly biodegrade phenanthrene (PHE). However, the diversity of endophytic bacterial community was decreased by exposure to the mixture of PAHs, and increased by respective exposure to PHE and pyrene (PYR), while the abundance was increased by PAH exposure. The results clearly indicated that the exposure of plants to PAHs would be beneficial for improving the effectiveness of phytoremediation of PAHs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Exposure and Risk of Cardiovascular Mortality: Adjustment of the Meteorological Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1082; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111082
Received: 16 July 2016 / Revised: 4 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
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Abstract
Few studies have explicitly explored the impacts of the extensive adjustment (with a lag period of more than one week) of temperature and humidity on the association between ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and cardiovascular mortality. In a time stratified case-crossover
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Few studies have explicitly explored the impacts of the extensive adjustment (with a lag period of more than one week) of temperature and humidity on the association between ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and cardiovascular mortality. In a time stratified case-crossover study, we used a distributed lag nonlinear model to assess the impacts of extensive adjustments of temperature and humidity for longer lag periods (for 7, 14, 21, 28 and 40 days) on effects of PM2.5 on total cardiovascular mortality and mortality of cerebrovascular and ischemic heart disease and corresponding exposure-response relationships in Beijing, China, between 2008 and 2011. Compared with results only controlled for temperature and humidity for 2 days, the estimated effects of PM2.5 were smaller and magnitudes of exposure-response curves were decreased when longer lag periods of temperature and relative humidity were included for adjustments, but these changes varied across subpopulation, with marked decreases occurring in males and the elderly who are more susceptible to PM2.5-related mortalities. Our findings suggest that the adjustment of meteorological factors using lag periods shorter than one week may lead to overestimated effects of PM2.5. The associations of PM2.5 with cardiovascular mortality in susceptible populations were more sensitive to further adjustments for temperature and relative humidity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Association between Environmental Factors and Scarlet Fever Incidence in Beijing Region: Using GIS and Spatial Regression Models
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1083; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111083
Received: 3 September 2016 / Revised: 18 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
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Abstract
(1) Background: Evidence regarding scarlet fever and its relationship with meteorological, including air pollution factors, is not very available. This study aimed to examine the relationship between ambient air pollutants and meteorological factors with scarlet fever occurrence in Beijing, China. (2) Methods: A
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(1) Background: Evidence regarding scarlet fever and its relationship with meteorological, including air pollution factors, is not very available. This study aimed to examine the relationship between ambient air pollutants and meteorological factors with scarlet fever occurrence in Beijing, China. (2) Methods: A retrospective ecological study was carried out to distinguish the epidemic characteristics of scarlet fever incidence in Beijing districts from 2013 to 2014. Daily incidence and corresponding air pollutant and meteorological data were used to develop the model. Global Moran’s I statistic and Anselin’s local Moran’s I (LISA) were applied to detect the spatial autocorrelation (spatial dependency) and clusters of scarlet fever incidence. The spatial lag model (SLM) and spatial error model (SEM) including ordinary least squares (OLS) models were then applied to probe the association between scarlet fever incidence and meteorological including air pollution factors. (3) Results: Among the 5491 cases, more than half (62%) were male, and more than one-third (37.8%) were female, with the annual average incidence rate 14.64 per 100,000 population. Spatial autocorrelation analysis exhibited the existence of spatial dependence; therefore, we applied spatial regression models. After comparing the values of R-square, log-likelihood and the Akaike information criterion (AIC) among the three models, the OLS model (R2 = 0.0741, log likelihood = −1819.69, AIC = 3665.38), SLM (R2 = 0.0786, log likelihood = −1819.04, AIC = 3665.08) and SEM (R2 = 0.0743, log likelihood = −1819.67, AIC = 3665.36), identified that the spatial lag model (SLM) was best for model fit for the regression model. There was a positive significant association between nitrogen oxide (p = 0.027), rainfall (p = 0.036) and sunshine hour (p = 0.048), while the relative humidity (p = 0.034) had an adverse association with scarlet fever incidence in SLM. (4) Conclusions: Our findings indicated that meteorological, as well as air pollutant factors may increase the incidence of scarlet fever; these findings may help to guide scarlet fever control programs and targeting the intervention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Prevalence and Occupational and Environmental Risk Factors of Self-Reported Asthma: Evidence from a Cross-Sectional Survey in Seven Chinese Cities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1084; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111084
Received: 6 September 2016 / Revised: 16 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
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Abstract
Objective: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases and associated with significant morbidity and mortality. However, few data on occupational and environmental risk factors of asthma are available, particularly in Asian adults. Based on a national cross-sectional survey, we assessed the
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Objective: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases and associated with significant morbidity and mortality. However, few data on occupational and environmental risk factors of asthma are available, particularly in Asian adults. Based on a national cross-sectional survey, we assessed the prevalence and risk factors of asthma in Chinese adults. Methods: A total of 9974 participants aged 15 years and over in seven Chinese cities were selected using a stratified four-stage random sampling. All participants were interviewed face-to-face in their homes using a standardized self-administered questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were adopted to determine various risk factors for asthma. Results: The prevalence of self-reported lifetime asthma was 2.46% among the entire adult population, 3.02% among males and 1.93% among females. The prevalence varied by age group, ethnicity, marital status, education, and floor space per person (p < 0.05). After adjusting for socio-demographic variables and smoking, we found independent occupational and environmental determinants of asthma, including a clearance-related job (OR = 2.28, 95%CI: 1.07–4.89), occupational exposure to industrial or occupational poisonous gas (OR = 4.21, 95%CI: 2.43–7.30), having large amounts of carpet in the workplace (OR = 2.61, 95%CI: 1.20–5.69) and using coal for cooking (OR = 2.65, 95%CI: 1.26–5.57). Conclusions: Asthma is a serious public health problem in China. Our study provides important updated information on the prevalence of asthma and its associated risk factors, which may help us better understand the epidemiology of asthma and prevent this disorder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Di-(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate on Lipid Metabolism by the JAK/STAT Pathway in Rats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1085; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111085
Received: 15 August 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
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Abstract
The most widely used plasticizer, di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), is known to affect lipid metabolism and adipogenesis. We studied the effects of dietary DEHP exposure on metabolism in rats as well as the role of the JAK/STAT pathway in this process. Eighty rats were
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The most widely used plasticizer, di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), is known to affect lipid metabolism and adipogenesis. We studied the effects of dietary DEHP exposure on metabolism in rats as well as the role of the JAK/STAT pathway in this process. Eighty rats were exposed to DEHP (0, 5, 50 and 500 mg/kg/d) through dietary intake for 4 weeks. We then collected blood samples, liver, and adipose tissues to detect modifications in the levels of serum lipids, leptin, adiponectin and insulin. JAK3, STAT5a and PPARγ expression were detected at both the gene and protein levels. The activation of JAK3 and STAT5a was also detected. The DEHP-exposed rats had increased body weight, serum lipid, insulin, and leptin levels. Moreover, the JAK3/STAT5a pathway was activated in the adipose tissue; however, this pathway was not activated in the liver. The mRNA of SREBP-1c in the liver was increased significantly among each of the groups, in contrast to the levels found in the mature SREBP-1c protein form. Furthermore, the expression of FABP4, Acox and FASn was decreased in the liver, but increased in adipose tissue. Thus, we conclude that exposure to DEHP reduces the hydrolysis of lipid and promotes triglyceride accumulation by oppositely regulating the activation state of JAK/STAT pathway in the liver and adipose tissue, resulting in the disorder of body lipid metabolism and obesity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Psychometric Properties of a 36-Item Version of the “Stress Management Competency Indicator Tool”
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1086; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111086
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
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Abstract
The development of supervisors’ behaviours has been proposed as an innovative approach for the reduction of employees’ work stress. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) developed the “Stress Management Competency Indicator Tool” (SMCIT), designed to be used within a learning and development
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The development of supervisors’ behaviours has been proposed as an innovative approach for the reduction of employees’ work stress. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) developed the “Stress Management Competency Indicator Tool” (SMCIT), designed to be used within a learning and development intervention. However, its psychometric properties have never been evaluated, and the length of the questionnaire (66 items) limits its practical applicability. We developed a brief 36-item version of the questionnaire, assessed its psychometric properties and studied the relationship with the employees’ psychosocial work environment. 353 employees filled in the brief SMCIT and the “Stress Management Indicator Tool”. The latter is a self-report questionnaire developed by the UK HSE, measuring workers’ perceptions of seven dimensions of the psychosocial work environment that if not properly managed can lead to harm. Data were analysed with structural equation modelling and multiple regressions. The results confirmed the factorial structure of the brief SMCIT questionnaire and mainly supported the convergent validity and internal consistency of the scales. Furthermore, with few exceptions, the relations hypothesized between supervisors’ competencies and the psychosocial work environment were confirmed, supporting the criterion validity of the revised questionnaire and the UK HSE framework. We conclude that the brief 36-item version of the SMCIT represents an important step toward the development of interventions directed at supervisors and we discuss the practical implications for work stress prevention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Spatial Hierarchical Analysis of the Temporal Influences of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Weather on Dengue in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1087; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111087
Received: 22 August 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
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Abstract
Dengue is the major public health burden in Sri Lanka. Kalutara is one of the highly affected districts. Understanding the drivers of dengue is vital in controlling and preventing the disease spread. This study focuses on quantifying the influence of weather variability on
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Dengue is the major public health burden in Sri Lanka. Kalutara is one of the highly affected districts. Understanding the drivers of dengue is vital in controlling and preventing the disease spread. This study focuses on quantifying the influence of weather variability on dengue incidence over 10 Medical Officer of Health (MOH) divisions of Kalutara district. Weekly weather variables and data on dengue notifications, measured at 10 MOH divisions in Kalutara from 2009 to 2013, were retrieved and analysed. Distributed lag non-linear model and hierarchical-analysis was used to estimate division specific and overall relationships between weather and dengue. We incorporated lag times up to 12 weeks and evaluated models based on the Akaike Information Criterion. Consistent exposure-response patterns between different geographical locations were observed for rainfall, showing increasing relative risk of dengue with increasing rainfall from 50 mm per week. The strongest association with dengue risk centred around 6 to 10 weeks following rainfalls of more than 300 mm per week. With increasing temperature, the overall relative risk of dengue increased steadily starting from a lag of 4 weeks. We found similarly a strong link between the Oceanic Niño Index to weather patterns in the district in Sri Lanka and to dengue at a longer latency time confirming these relationships. Part of the influences of rainfall and temperature can be seen as mediator in the causal pathway of the Ocean Niño Index, which may allow a longer lead time for early warning signals. Our findings describe a strong association between weather, El Niño-Southern Oscillation and dengue in Sri Lanka. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Climate Change and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Composition and Function of Human Intestinal Microbiota Exposed to Chlorpyrifos in Oil as Assessed by the SHIME® Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1088; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111088
Received: 8 July 2016 / Revised: 3 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
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Abstract
The presence of pesticide residues in food is a public health problem. Exposure to these substances in daily life could have serious effects on the intestine—the first organ to come into contact with food contaminants. The present study investigated the impact of a
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The presence of pesticide residues in food is a public health problem. Exposure to these substances in daily life could have serious effects on the intestine—the first organ to come into contact with food contaminants. The present study investigated the impact of a low dose (1 mg/day in oil) of the pesticide chlorpyrifos (CPF) on the community structure, diversity and metabolic response of the human gut microbiota using the SHIME® model (six reactors, representing the different parts of the gastrointestinal tract). The last three reactors (representing the colon) were inoculated with a mixture of feces from human adults. Three time points were studied: immediately before the first dose of CPF, and then after 15 and 30 days of CPF-oil administration. By using conventional bacterial culture and molecular biology methods, we showed that CPF in oil can affect the gut microbiota. It had the greatest effects on counts of culturable bacteria (with an increase in Enterobacteria, Bacteroides spp. and clostridia counts, and a decrease in bifidobacterial counts) and fermentative activity, which were colon-segment-dependent. Our results suggest that: (i) CPF in oil treatment affects the gut microbiota (although there was some discordance between the culture-dependent and culture-independent analyses); (ii) the changes are “SHIME®-compartment” specific; and (iii) the changes are associated with minor alterations in the production of short-chain fatty acids and lactate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological and Human-Health Effects of Pesticides in the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Soil-Plant Metal Relations in Panax notoginseng: An Ecosystem Health Risk Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1089; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111089
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 5 November 2016
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Abstract
This study features a survey of the content of heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Cr, As, Hg and Cu) in root and cultivation soils of Panax notoginseng (P. notoginseng), carried out in China’s Yunnan Province. The average contents of Pb, Cd, Cr,
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This study features a survey of the content of heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Cr, As, Hg and Cu) in root and cultivation soils of Panax notoginseng (P. notoginseng), carried out in China’s Yunnan Province. The average contents of Pb, Cd, Cr, As, Hg, and Cu in the soil were 61.6, 0.4, 102.4, 57.1, 0.3, and 35.1 mg·kg−1, respectively. The heavy metals’ pollution indexes can be ranked as follows: As > Cd > Hg > Cu > Cr > Pb. The proportion of soil samples at slight, middle, strong, very strong, and extremely strong levels of potential environmental risk had values of 5.41%, 21.62%, 35.14%, 10.81%, and 27.03%, respectively. The potential environment risk index (RI) showed that 29.73% out of the total sample sites were above the level of strong and extremely strong. The ranges of Pb, Cd, Cr, As, Hg, and Cu content in tuber were 0.04–3.26, 0.04–0.33, 0.22–5.4, 0.10–1.8, 0.00–0.02, and 5.0–20.9 mg·kg−1, respectively. In combination with P. notoginseng consumption data, the estimated heavy metal daily intakes (EDIs) were 0.08–0.23, 0.006–0.019, 0.17–0.52, 0.04–0.12, 0.001–0.002, and 0.59–1.77 μg·kg−1·bw/day. All target hazard quotients (THQs) of individual elements and hazard indexes (HI) were less than one. The present study indicates that most of the P. notoginseng cultivation soil in the province of Yunnan presented slight and moderate ecological risk. Thus, more attention should be given to the heavy metals As, Cd, and Hg when selecting planting areas for the cultivation of P. notoginseng. Health risks associated with the intake of a single element or consumption of the combined metals through P. notoginseng are absent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Polish Version of the Neighbourhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS-Poland)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1090; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111090
Received: 12 August 2016 / Revised: 14 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
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Abstract
The characteristics of built environments are the subject of intense consideration in the search for solutions to promote wellbeing and a higher quality of life among the inhabitants of cities. Walkability, defined as the extent to which the built environment is friendly to
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The characteristics of built environments are the subject of intense consideration in the search for solutions to promote wellbeing and a higher quality of life among the inhabitants of cities. Walkability, defined as the extent to which the built environment is friendly to living and fulfilling the needs of the area, has become an important concept in sustainable urban design, public health and environmental psychology. This study systematically adapted the Neighbourhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) for Poland, and evaluated the construct validity aspects of the adapted version among Polish adults. A total sample of 783 participants from a TriCity (Trójmiasto) agglomeration completed the adapted version of the NEWS. Smaller extracted samples of the participants also completed wellbeing related scales, including self-efficacy, local identity and distance to city centre measures. It was expected that various districts of Gdańsk would differ in terms of walkability. The confirmatory factor analysis showed satisfactory goodness-of-fit statistics and factor loadings corresponding to the proposed original factor structure. According to the predictions, the NEWS subscales correlated with the self-efficacy, local identity and wellbeing related measures. In addition, the comparisons between the neighbourhoods of Gdańsk also showed a predictable pattern of results. Overall, the NEWS demonstrated satisfactory measurement properties, and may be useful in the evaluation of the built environment in Poland. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Arsenic and Heavy Metal Contamination in Soils under Different Land Use in an Estuary in Northern Vietnam
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1091; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111091
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 30 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 5 November 2016
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Abstract
Heavy metal contamination of soil and sediment in estuaries warrants study because a healthy estuarine environment, including healthy soil, is important in order to achieve ecological balance and good aquaculture production. The Ba Lat estuary of the Red River is the largest estuary
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Heavy metal contamination of soil and sediment in estuaries warrants study because a healthy estuarine environment, including healthy soil, is important in order to achieve ecological balance and good aquaculture production. The Ba Lat estuary of the Red River is the largest estuary in northern Vietnam and is employed in various land uses. However, the heavy metal contamination of its soil has not yet been reported. The following research was conducted to clarify contamination levels, supply sources, and the effect of land use on heavy metal concentrations in the estuary. Soil samples were collected from the top soil layer of the estuary, and their arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) concentrations were analyzed, as were other soil properties. Most soils in the estuary were loam, silt loam, or sandy loam. The pH was neutral, and the cation exchange capacity ranged from 3.8 to 20 cmol·kg−1. Manganese and iron concentrations averaged 811 µg·g−1 and 1.79%, respectively. The magnitude of the soil heavy metal concentrations decreased in the order of Zn > Pb > Cr > Cu > As > Cd. The concentrations were higher in the riverbed and mangrove forest than in other land-use areas. Except for As, the mean heavy metal concentrations were lower than the permissible levels for agricultural soils in Vietnam. The principal component analyses suggested that soil As, Pb, Zn, Cd, and Cu were of anthropogenic origin, whereas Cr was of non-anthropogenic origin. The spatial distribution of concentration with land use indicated that mangrove forests play an important role in preventing the spread of heavy metals to other land uses and in maintaining the estuarine environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Investigating Discontinuity of Age Relations in Cognitive Functioning, General Health Status, Activity Participation, and Life Satisfaction between Young-Old and Old-Old Age
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1092; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111092
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 5 November 2016
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Abstract
Health research suggests that findings on young-old adults cannot be generalized to old-old adults and thus that old-old age seems not a simple continuation of young-old age due to qualitative changes that result in a discontinuity in old age. Specifically, it would be
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Health research suggests that findings on young-old adults cannot be generalized to old-old adults and thus that old-old age seems not a simple continuation of young-old age due to qualitative changes that result in a discontinuity in old age. Specifically, it would be of conceptual and methodological importance to inform research regarding estimates around which chronological age the beginning of old-old age could be placed at a population level, and whether this is universal or domain-specific. To derive such criteria, we investigated potential discontinuity of age relations between young-old and old-old age in a large population-based sample considering measures in different domains (processing speed, verbal abilities, general health status, activity participation, and life satisfaction). For processing speed, verbal abilities, general health status, and life satisfaction we observed some very small indication that there might be a discontinuity of age relations at the end of individuals’ eighties, and for activity participation already at the beginning of individuals’ eighties. In conclusion, models conceptualizing aging as a gradual development might not suffice to adequately represent the differences between the stages of young-old and old-old age due to some very small indication that there might be discontinuity in late adulthood. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Arsenic Exposure and Predicted 10-Year Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk Using the Pooled Cohort Equations in U.S. Hypertensive Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1093; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111093
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
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Abstract
This study was to evaluate the association of urine arsenic with predicted 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk in U.S. adults with hypertension. Cross-sectional analysis was conducted in 1570 hypertensive adults aged 40–79 years in the 2003–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
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This study was to evaluate the association of urine arsenic with predicted 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk in U.S. adults with hypertension. Cross-sectional analysis was conducted in 1570 hypertensive adults aged 40–79 years in the 2003–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) with determinations of urine arsenic. Predicted 10-year ASCVD risk was estimated by the Pooled Cohort Equations, developed by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association in 2013. For men, after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, urine dilution, ASCVD risk factors and organic arsenic intake from seafood, participants in the highest quartiles of urine arsenic had higher 10-year predicted ASCVD risk than in the lowest quartiles; the increases were 24% (95% confidence interval (CI): 2%, 53%) for total arsenic, 13% (95% CI: 2%, 25%) for dimethylarsinate and 22% (95% CI: 5%, 40%) for total arsenic minus arsenobetaine separately. For women, the corresponding increases were 5% (95% CI: −15%, 29%), 10% (95% CI: −8%, 30%) and 0% (95% CI: −15%, 19%), respectively. Arsenic exposure, even at low levels, may contribute to increased ASCVD risk in men with hypertension. Furthermore, our findings suggest that particular circumstances need urgently to be considered while elucidating cardiovascular effects of low inorganic arsenic levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Integrated Intervention for Increasing Clinical Nurses’ Knowledge of HIV/AIDS-Related Occupational Safety
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1094; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111094
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: Approximately 35 new HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV) cases and at least 1000 serious infections are transmitted annually to health care workers. In China, HIV prevalence is increasing and nursing personnel are encountering these individuals more than in the past. Contaminated
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Background: Approximately 35 new HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV) cases and at least 1000 serious infections are transmitted annually to health care workers. In China, HIV prevalence is increasing and nursing personnel are encountering these individuals more than in the past. Contaminated needle-stick injuries represent a significant occupational burden for nurses. Evidence suggests that nurses in China may not fully understand HIV/AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS) and HIV-related occupational safety. At this time, universal protection precautions are not strictly implemented in Chinese hospitals. Lack of training may place nurses at risk for occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens. Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of integrated interventions on nurses’ knowledge improvement about reducing the risk of occupationally acquired HIV infection. Methods: We audited integrated interventions using 300 questionnaires collected from nurses at the Affiliated Hospital of Xiangnan University, a public polyclinic in Hunan Province. The intervention studied was multifaceted and included appropriate and targeted training content for hospital, department and individual levels. After three months of occupational safety integrated interventions, 234 participants who completed the program were assessed. Results: Of the subjects studied, 94.3% (283/300) were injured one or more times by medical sharp instruments or splashed by body fluids in the last year and 95.3% considered their risk of occupational exposure high or very high. After the intervention, awareness of HIV/AIDS-related knowledge improved significantly (χ2 = 86.34, p = 0.00), and correct answers increased from 67.9% to 82.34%. Correct answers regarding risk perception were significantly different between pre-test (54.4%) and post-test (66.6%) (χ2 = 73.2, p = 0.00). When coming into contact with patient body fluids and blood only 24.0% of subjects used gloves regularly. The pre-test knowledge scores on universal precautions were relatively high. Correct answers about universal precautions improved significantly from pre-test (83.71%) to post-test (89.58%; χ2 = 25.00, p = 0.00). After the intervention, nurses’ attitude scores improved significantly from pre-test (3.80 ± 0.79) to post-test (4.06 ± 0.75; t = 3.74, p = 0.00). Conclusions: Integrated educational interventions enhance nurses’ knowledge of risk reduction for occupationally acquired HIV infections and improve the observance of universal precautionary procedures. This enhancement allows nurses to assume a teaching role for prevention and management of HIV/AIDS. Full article
Open AccessArticle Role of Metabolic Genes in Blood Aluminum Concentrations of Jamaican Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1095; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111095
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 1 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
Aluminum is a neurotoxic metal with known health effects in animals and humans. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) genes and enzymes play a major role in detoxification of several heavy metals. Besides a direct relationship with oxidative stress; aluminum decreases GST enzyme activities. Using data from
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Aluminum is a neurotoxic metal with known health effects in animals and humans. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) genes and enzymes play a major role in detoxification of several heavy metals. Besides a direct relationship with oxidative stress; aluminum decreases GST enzyme activities. Using data from 116 Jamaican children; age 2–8 years; with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and 116 sex- and age-matched typically developing (TD) children; we investigated the association of polymorphisms in three GST genes (GSTP1; GSTM1; and GSTT1) with mean blood aluminum concentrations in children with and without ASD. Using log-transformed blood aluminum concentration as the dependent variable in a linear regression model; we assessed the additive and interactive effects of ASD status and polymorphisms in the three aforementioned GST genes in relation to blood aluminum concentrations. Although none of the additive effects were statistically significant (all p > 0.16); we observed a marginally significant interaction between GSTP1 Ile105Val (rs1695) and ASD status (p = 0.07); even after controlling for parental education level and consumption of avocado; root vegetables; and tuna (canned fish). Our findings indicate a significantly lower (p < 0.03) adjusted geometric mean blood aluminum concentration for TD children who had the Val/Val genotype (14.57 µg/L); compared with those with Ile/Ile or Ile/Val genotypes who had an adjusted geometric mean of 23.75 µg/L. However; this difference was not statistically significant among the ASD cases (p = 0.76). Our findings indicate that ASD status may be a potential effect modifier when assessing the association between GSTP1 rs1695 and blood aluminum concentrations among Jamaican children. These findings require replication in other populations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Knowledge, Awareness, and Practices of Portuguese General Practitioners Regarding Multimorbidity and its Management: Qualitative Perspectives from Open-Ended Questions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1097; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111097
Received: 21 August 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
Multimorbidity’s high prevalence and negative impact has made it a subject of worldwide interest. The main aim of this study was to access the Portuguese knowledge, awareness, and practices of general practitioners (GPs) regarding multimorbidity and its management, in order to aid in
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Multimorbidity’s high prevalence and negative impact has made it a subject of worldwide interest. The main aim of this study was to access the Portuguese knowledge, awareness, and practices of general practitioners (GPs) regarding multimorbidity and its management, in order to aid in the development of interventions for improving outcomes in multimorbid patients in primary care. A web-based qualitative descriptive study was carried out in the first trimester of 2016 with primary care physicians working in two districts of the Centre region of Portugal. Open-ended questions were analysed via inductive thematic content analysis. GPs pointed out several difficulties and challenges while managing multimorbidity. Extrinsic factors were associated with the healthcare system logistics’ management (consultation time, organization of care teams, clinical information) and society (media pressure, social/family support). Intrinsic factors related to the GP, patient, and physician-patient relationship were also stated. The most significant conclusion to emerge from this study is that although GPs perceived difficulties and challenges towards multimorbidity, they also have the tools to deal with them: the fundamental characteristics of family medicine. Also, the complex care required by multimorbid patients needs adequate consultation time, multidisciplinary teamwork, and more education/training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Diseases and Multimorbidity in Primary Care)
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Open AccessArticle “He Doesn’t Listen to My Words at All, So I Don’t Tell Him Anything”—A Qualitative Investigation on Exposure to Second Hand Smoke among Pregnant Women, Their Husbands and Family Members from Rural Bangladesh and Urban India
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1098; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111098
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 1 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
Second hand smoke (SHS) exposure during pregnancy is associated with poor pregnancy and fetal outcomes. To design interventions to reduce exposure, an in depth understanding of social and cultural factors of smoking behavior at home is important, especially in South Asia where SHS
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Second hand smoke (SHS) exposure during pregnancy is associated with poor pregnancy and fetal outcomes. To design interventions to reduce exposure, an in depth understanding of social and cultural factors of smoking behavior at home is important, especially in South Asia where SHS exposure is high. This study aimed to explore pregnant women’s, their husbands’ and other family members’ knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding home SHS exposure. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 33 participants in Comilla, Bangladesh and 31 in Bangalore, India (36 pregnant women, 18 husbands, and 10 family members). Data were analyzed using the Framework approach. Husbands smoked in various living areas inside the home, often in the presence of their pregnant wives. Most had never tried to stop smoking at home. Knowledge of the risks was generally poor. Most women had repeatedly asked their husband to smoke outside with little success and only few family members had reprimanded the husbands. Husbands who had stopped did so because of requests from children and their mother. Potential strategies to decrease SHS exposure at home were educating the husband about risks and supporting the pregnant women in negotiation. Interventions must also enlist family support to enhance the woman’s self-efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exposure and Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke)
Open AccessArticle High-Intensity Interval Training for Overweight Adolescents: Program Acceptance of a Media Supported Intervention and Changes in Body Composition
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1099; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111099
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 30 September 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) consists of short intervals of exercise at high intensity intermitted by intervals of lower intensity and is associated with improvement of body composition and metabolic health in adults. Studies in overweight adolescents are scarce. We conducted a randomized controlled
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High-intensity interval training (HIIT) consists of short intervals of exercise at high intensity intermitted by intervals of lower intensity and is associated with improvement of body composition and metabolic health in adults. Studies in overweight adolescents are scarce. We conducted a randomized controlled trial in overweight adolescents to compare acceptance and attendance of HIIT with or without weekly motivational encouragement through text messages and access to a study website. HIIT was offered for six months (including summer vacation) twice a week (60 min/session). Participation rates were continuously assessed and acceptance was measured. Clinical parameters were assessed at baseline and after six months. Twenty-eight adolescents participated in this study (age 15.5 ± 1.4; 54% female). The standard deviation score for body mass index over all participants was 2.33 at baseline and decreased by 0.026 (95% CI −0.048 to 0.10) units, p = 0.49. Waist to height ratio was 0.596 at baseline and decreased by 0.013 (95% CI 0.0025 to 0.024), p = 0.023. Participation within the first two months ranged from 65% to 75%, but fell to 15% within the last three months. Attendance in the intervention group was 14% (95% CI −8 to 37), p = 0.18, higher than the control group. Overall program content was rated as “good” by participants, although high drop-out rates were observed. Summer months constitute a serious problem regarding attendance. The use of media support has to be assessed further in appropriately powered trials. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Multilevel Safety Climate and Safety Performance in the Construction Industry: Development and Validation of a Top-Down Mechanism
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1100; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111100
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
The character of construction projects exposes front-line workers to dangers and accidents. Safety climate has been confirmed to be a predictor of safety performance in the construction industry. This study aims to explore the underlying mechanisms of the relationship between multilevel safety climate
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The character of construction projects exposes front-line workers to dangers and accidents. Safety climate has been confirmed to be a predictor of safety performance in the construction industry. This study aims to explore the underlying mechanisms of the relationship between multilevel safety climate and safety performance. An integrated model was developed to study how particular safety climate factors of one level affect those of other levels, and then affect safety performance from the top down. A questionnaire survey was administered on six construction sites in Vietnam. A total of 1030 valid questionnaires were collected from this survey. Approximately half of the data were used to conduct exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and the remaining data were submitted to structural equation modeling (SEM). Top management commitment (TMC) and supervisors’ expectation (SE) were identified as factors to represent organizational safety climate (OSC) and supervisor safety climate (SSC), respectively, and coworkers’ caring and communication (CCC) and coworkers’ role models (CRM) were identified as factors to denote coworker safety climate (CSC). SEM results show that OSC factor is positively related to SSC factor and CSC factors significantly. SSC factor could partially mediate the relationship between OSC factor and CSC factors, as well as the relationship between OSC factor and safety performance. CSC factors partially mediate the relationship between OSC factor and safety performance, and the relationship between SSC factor and safety performance. The findings imply that a positive safety culture should be established both at the organizational level and the group level. Efforts from all top management, supervisors, and coworkers should be provided to improve safety performance in the construction industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effecting a Safe and Healthy Environment in Construction)
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Open AccessArticle Association between Secondhand Smoke in Hospitality Venues and Urinary 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol Concentrations in Non-Smoking Staff
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1101; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111101
Received: 23 September 2016 / Revised: 29 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between urinary cotinine and total 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL) concentrations in non-smoking staff and the indoor levels of fine particles (PM2.5) in hospitality venues that allow smoking, with respect to demographic and indoor
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The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between urinary cotinine and total 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL) concentrations in non-smoking staff and the indoor levels of fine particles (PM2.5) in hospitality venues that allow smoking, with respect to demographic and indoor environmental factors. We evaluated 62 hospitality venues that allowed smoking in Seoul, Korea. A real-time aerosol monitor was used to measure indoor PM2.5 concentrations. Field technicians recorded indoor environmental characteristics. One non-smoking staff member in each hospitality venue was tested for urinary cotinine and total NNAL concentrations. Demographic characteristics were obtained from self-reported staff questionnaires. Natural-log (ln)-transformed PM2.5 concentrations were significantly correlated with the ln-transformed cotinine (r = 0.31) and the total NNAL concentrations (r = 0.32). In multivariable regression analysis, the urinary cotinine concentrations of the staff members were significantly correlated with indoor PM2.5 concentrations; those with the highest concentrations were more likely to be women or staff members that worked in venues with a volume <375 m3. Total NNAL concentrations were significantly correlated only with indoor PM2.5 concentrations. Indoor PM2.5 may be used as an indicator for urinary cotinine and total NNAL concentrations in non-smoking staff members in hospitality venues that allow smoking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environment Health)
Open AccessArticle Cost-Sharing of Ecological Construction Based on Trapezoidal Intuitionistic Fuzzy Cooperative Games
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1102; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111102
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
There exist some fuzziness and uncertainty in the process of ecological construction. The aim of this paper is to develop a direct and an effective simplified method for obtaining the cost-sharing scheme when some interested parties form a cooperative coalition to improve the
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There exist some fuzziness and uncertainty in the process of ecological construction. The aim of this paper is to develop a direct and an effective simplified method for obtaining the cost-sharing scheme when some interested parties form a cooperative coalition to improve the ecological environment of Min River together. Firstly, we propose the solution concept of the least square prenucleolus of cooperative games with coalition values expressed by trapezoidal intuitionistic fuzzy numbers. Then, based on the square of the distance in the numerical value between two trapezoidal intuitionistic fuzzy numbers, we establish a corresponding quadratic programming model to obtain the least square prenucleolus, which can effectively avoid the information distortion and uncertainty enlargement brought about by the subtraction of trapezoidal intuitionistic fuzzy numbers. Finally, we give a numerical example about the cost-sharing of ecological construction in Fujian Province in China to show the validity, applicability, and advantages of the proposed model and method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Economics, Environmental Health Policy and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Independent Factors of Changes of Ankle-Brachial Index in Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease in Elderly Patients with or without Diabetes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1103; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111103
Received: 24 May 2016 / Revised: 15 October 2016 / Accepted: 30 October 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) belongs to the commonly-occurring pathologies associated with elderly age. A simple tool for defining the severity of PAD is the ankle-brachial index (ABI). The purpose of this research was to determine independent factors of changes of ABI in elderly
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Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) belongs to the commonly-occurring pathologies associated with elderly age. A simple tool for defining the severity of PAD is the ankle-brachial index (ABI). The purpose of this research was to determine independent factors of changes of ABI in elderly patients with occlusive PAD disease (PAOD) with and without diabetes. The research was carried out on 49 elderly patients with PAOD, including 29 patients with type 2 diabetes, and 20 patients without diabetes. The concentration of interleukin-6 (IL-6), E-selectin, fibrinogen, and C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood serum was marked. In all patients, the independent factors of changes of ABI were determined with the use of the multiple logistic regression analysis. Our results show that in the group of patients with PAOD suffering from diabetes, it was demonstrated that the ABI was related to age, the duration of the symptoms of PAD, body mass index (BMI), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fibrinogen, and sex (determination coefficient R2 = 0.699). In patients with PAOD without diabetes, the ABI was related to age, the duration of the symptoms of PAD, the levels of CRP, E-selectin, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and the glomerular filtration rate(determination coefficient R2 = 0.844). We conclude that in elderly patients with PAOD with and without diabetes, the participation of independent factors related to the ABI is diversified; in patients with diabetes, the concentration of IL-6 and fibrinogen is lower, and the concentration of E-selectin is higher than in patients without diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Care and Diabetes)
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Open AccessArticle Secular Trends in Growth and Nutritional Outcomes of Children under Five Years Old in Xiamen, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1104; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111104
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine secular changes in growth and nutritional outcomes of Chinese urban children under five years old, in 2009, 2012, and 2015. Cluster random sampling methods were used to select children under five years old in Xiamen,
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The purpose of this study was to examine secular changes in growth and nutritional outcomes of Chinese urban children under five years old, in 2009, 2012, and 2015. Cluster random sampling methods were used to select children under five years old in Xiamen, one of five special economic zones in China. Subjects (N = 71,229) under five years old (39,413 boys, 31,816 girls) were examined at three different times (22,576 in 2009, 24,816 in 2012, and 23,837 in 2015). Significant differences in the boys’ height and weight (p < 0.05) were found across the three time points; subjects in the 2015 sample were the heaviest and tallest, and they had the highest BMI (2009 < 2015; 2012 < 2015). Among the girls, those in the 2015 sample were similar to the boys (2009 < 2012; 2012 < 2015). In general, similar patterns were observed when mean values were analyzed by age. An increasing trend was found in the prevalence of overweight and obesity and a decreasing trend for stunting, underweight, and wasting. The results revealed that the burden of childhood under- and over-nutrition might constitute a public health concern in modern China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Economic Evaluations of the Health Impacts of Weather-Related Extreme Events: A Scoping Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1105; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111105
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
The frequency and severity of extreme events is expected to increase under climate change. There is a need to understand the economic consequences of human exposure to these extreme events, to underpin decisions on risk reduction. We undertook a scoping review of economic
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The frequency and severity of extreme events is expected to increase under climate change. There is a need to understand the economic consequences of human exposure to these extreme events, to underpin decisions on risk reduction. We undertook a scoping review of economic evaluations of the adverse health effects from exposure to weather-related extreme events. We searched PubMed, Embase and Web of Science databases with no restrictions to the type of evaluations. Twenty studies were included, most of which were recently published. Most studies have been undertaken in the U.S. (nine studies) or Asia (seven studies), whereas we found no studies in Africa, Central and Latin America nor the Middle East. Extreme temperatures accounted for more than a third of the pool of studies (seven studies), closely followed by flooding (six studies). No economic study was found on drought. Whilst studies were heterogeneous in terms of objectives and methodology, they clearly indicate that extreme events will become a pressing public health issue with strong welfare and distributional implications. The current body of evidence, however, provides little information to support decisions on the allocation of scarce resources between risk reduction options. In particular, the review highlights a significant lack of research attention to the potential cost-effectiveness of interventions that exploit the capacity of natural ecosystems to reduce our exposure to, or ameliorate the consequences of, extreme events. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ambient Air Pollution, Meteorological Factors and Outpatient Visits for Eczema in Shanghai, China: A Time-Series Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1106; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111106
Received: 20 August 2016 / Revised: 16 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
Environmental irritants are important risk factors for skin diseases, but little is known about the influence of environmental factors on eczema incidence. In this time-series study, our objective was to examine the associations of environmental factors with outpatient visits for eczema. Daily outpatient
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Environmental irritants are important risk factors for skin diseases, but little is known about the influence of environmental factors on eczema incidence. In this time-series study, our objective was to examine the associations of environmental factors with outpatient visits for eczema. Daily outpatient visits between 2007 and 2011 (1826 days) were collected from Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, China. We used an overdispersed generalized additive model to investigate the short-term association between environmental factors and outpatient visits for eczema. Daily outpatient visits for eczema were significantly associated with air pollution and meteorological factors. For example, a 10 μg/m3 increase of 7-day (lag 06) average concentrations of PM10 (particulate matter no greater than 10 microns), SO2, NO2 was associated with 0.81% (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.39%, 1.22%), 2.22% (95% CI: 1.27%, 3.16%) and 2.31% (95% CI: 1.17%, 3.45%) increase in outpatient visits for eczema, respectively. A 10 °C elevation of temperature on lag 0 day were associated with 8.44% (95% CI: 4.66%, 12.22%) increase in eczema visits, whereas 10 unit decrease of 7-day average relative humidity were associated with 10.86% (95% CI: 8.83%, 12.89%) increase in eczema visits. This study provided clear evidence of ambient air pollution, high temperature and low relative humidity on increasing the incidence of eczema in Shanghai, China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mercury Exposure in Children of the Wanshan Mercury Mining Area, Guizhou, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1107; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111107
Received: 12 August 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
To evaluate the mercury (Hg) exposure level of children located in a Hg mining area, total Hg concentrations and speciation were determined in hair and urine samples of children in the Wanshan Hg mining area, Guizhou Province, China. Rice samples consumed by these
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To evaluate the mercury (Hg) exposure level of children located in a Hg mining area, total Hg concentrations and speciation were determined in hair and urine samples of children in the Wanshan Hg mining area, Guizhou Province, China. Rice samples consumed by these same children were also collected for total mercury (THg) and methyl-mercury (MeHg) analysis. The geometric mean concentrations of THg and MeHg in the hair samples were 1.4 (range 0.50–6.0) μg/g and 1.1 (range 0.35–4.2) μg/g, respectively, while the geometric mean concentration of urine Hg (UHg) was 1.4 (range 0.09–26) μg/g Creatinine (Cr). The average of the probable daily intake (PDI) of MeHg via rice consumption was 0.052 (0.0033–0.39) µg/kg/day, which significantly correlated with the hair MeHg concentrations (r = 0.55, p < 0.01), indicating that ingestion of rice is the main pathway of MeHg exposure for children in this area. Furthermore, 18% (26/141) of the PDIs of MeHg exceeded the USEPA Reference Dose (RfD) of 0.10 µg/kg/day, indicating that children in this area are at a high MeHg exposure level. This paper for the first time evaluates the co-exposure levels of IHg and MeHg of children living in Wanshan mining area, and revealed the difference in exposure patterns between children and adults in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of a Pilot Pediatric In-Patient Department-Based Smoking Cessation Intervention on Parental Smoking and Children’s Secondhand Smoke (SHS) Exposure in Guangxi, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1109; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111109
Received: 10 August 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
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Abstract
Children’s exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) at home has numerous adverse health effects. This study evaluated the effects of a pediatric in-patient department-based pilot smoking cessation intervention for household members to reduce children’s SHS exposure and encourage smoking cessation. A pre-post test design
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Children’s exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) at home has numerous adverse health effects. This study evaluated the effects of a pediatric in-patient department-based pilot smoking cessation intervention for household members to reduce children’s SHS exposure and encourage smoking cessation. A pre-post test design study was designed to assess the effectiveness of a telephone counseling intervention on household members of hospitalized children in pediatric departments. Data were collected with a standardized Chinese language questionnaire. At the three-month follow-up survey, the proportions of household members who reported adopting complete smoking restriction at home (55%), did not smoke at home at all (37%), did not allow others to smoke in the car (70%), or did not allow others to smoke around the child (57%) were significantly higher than the self-reported responses at the baseline survey. The proportions of household members who reported smoking at home (49%) and in the car (22%) were significantly lower than the baseline survey. Overall, 7% of the participants had reported quitting smoking after three months. Pediatric in-patient department-based telephone counseling for smoking cessation was found to be acceptable to Chinese parents. The intervention encouraged few parents to quit smoking, but encouraged more parents to take measures to reduce children’s SHS exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exposure and Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke)
Open AccessArticle Patterns of Smoking and Snus Use in Sweden: Implications for Public Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1110; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111110
Received: 15 September 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
There has been concern that the availability of alternative less harmful forms of nicotine might inhibit smoking cessation and/or encourage those who would not otherwise have smoked to do so. The plausibility of such effects can be best assessed by looking at population
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There has been concern that the availability of alternative less harmful forms of nicotine might inhibit smoking cessation and/or encourage those who would not otherwise have smoked to do so. The plausibility of such effects can be best assessed by looking at population trends in use of smoking in relation to alternatives. This paper looks at the relationships between snus use and smoking in Sweden. Analyses are based on a data set for the period January 2003 to February 2011 from a long-term study covering nationally representative samples of the Swedish population aged 18–79, with a total study population of 60,675 individuals. Questionnaires made it possible to identify detailed tobacco use categories and use trajectories. The results showed that uptake of snus use is much more common in males than females. Those who began daily tobacco use using snus were much less likely to subsequently take up smoking than those who had not, both among males (17.6% vs. 45.9%), and females (8.2% vs. 40.2%). Further, among those who started using snus after starting as smokers, 76.3% of men and 71.6% of women had stopped smoking completely, including 31.5% of the men and 28.6% of the women who had quit all forms of tobacco. Indeed, those who were primary snus users were also more likely to have quit altogether than those who only ever smoked. Snus was also reported as the most common smoking cessation aid among men and yielded higher success rates than nicotine replacement therapy and other alternatives. As conclusions, snus has both contributed to decreasing initiation of smoking and, when used subsequent to smoking, appears to facilitate smoking cessation. All these effects suggest that the availability and use of snus has been a major factor behind Sweden’s record-low prevalence of smoking and the lowest level of tobacco-related mortality among men in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of Potential Sources of Mercury (Hg) in Farmland Soil Using a Decision Tree Method in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1111; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111111
Received: 4 September 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
Identification of the sources of soil mercury (Hg) on the provincial scale is helpful for enacting effective policies to prevent further contamination and take reclamation measurements. The natural and anthropogenic sources and their contributions of Hg in Chinese farmland soil were identified based
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Identification of the sources of soil mercury (Hg) on the provincial scale is helpful for enacting effective policies to prevent further contamination and take reclamation measurements. The natural and anthropogenic sources and their contributions of Hg in Chinese farmland soil were identified based on a decision tree method. The results showed that the concentrations of Hg in parent materials were most strongly associated with the general spatial distribution pattern of Hg concentration on a provincial scale. The decision tree analysis gained an 89.70% total accuracy in simulating the influence of human activities on the additions of Hg in farmland soil. Human activities—for example, the production of coke, application of fertilizers, discharge of wastewater, discharge of solid waste, and the production of non-ferrous metals—were the main external sources of a large amount of Hg in the farmland soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environment Health)
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Open AccessArticle Radionuclides (210Po and 210Pb) and Some Heavy Metals in Fish and Sediments in Lake Bafa, Turkey, and the Contribution of 210Po to the Radiation Dose
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1113; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111113
Received: 27 June 2016 / Revised: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
The pollution level of Lake Bafa was investigated by collecting fish samples {Dicentrarchus labrax (sea bass), Liza ramada (mullet) and Anguilla anguilla (eel)}, surface sediment, and core samples. In all these samples, 210Po and 210Pb concentrations were estimated, and total
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The pollution level of Lake Bafa was investigated by collecting fish samples {Dicentrarchus labrax (sea bass), Liza ramada (mullet) and Anguilla anguilla (eel)}, surface sediment, and core samples. In all these samples, 210Po and 210Pb concentrations were estimated, and total annual dose rates were obtained for each species. Some heavy metal (Cr, Ni, Pb, Cd, Mn, Fe, and Zn) concentration levels were obtained for the fish and a core sample. The sediment mass accumulation rate was found to be 3.27 g·m−2·day−1 (0.119 g·cm−2·y−1) from a core sample. The heavy metal concentrations in the vertical profile of samples from the core were also observed. The measured concentration of Zn, Pb, Cd, and Cr were between the ERL (effects range low) and ERM (effects range median) limits, while Ni concentrations were higher than the ERM limit. The observed concentrations of Cd, Pb, and Zn in fish samples did not exceed the limits in accordance with Turkish Food Regulations. Further, the maximum effective dose equivalent of 210Po in the area was found to be 1.169 µSv·y−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Electronic Cigarette Use from 2013 to 2015 and Reasons for Use among Finnish Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1114; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111114
Received: 2 September 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
Electronic cigarettes are quite a new potential source of nicotine addiction among youth. More research is needed, particularly on e-liquid use and socioeconomic factors as potential determinants. We studied changes from 2013 to 2015 in adolescent e-cigarette awareness and ever-use, types of e-liquids,
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Electronic cigarettes are quite a new potential source of nicotine addiction among youth. More research is needed, particularly on e-liquid use and socioeconomic factors as potential determinants. We studied changes from 2013 to 2015 in adolescent e-cigarette awareness and ever-use, types of e-liquids, and determinants in Finland. In 2015, we studied weekly use and reasons for ever-use. Data were from two national surveys of 12–18-year-old Finns (2013, n = 3535, response rate 38%; 2015, n = 6698, 41%). Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were used. Awareness and ever-use of e-cigarettes increased significantly from 2013 to 2015 in all age and gender groups. Ever-use increased from 17.4% to 25%, with half having tried nicotine e-liquids. In 2015, weekly use was rare (1.5%). Daily cigarette smoking was the strongest determinant (OR 51.75; 95% CI 38.18–70.14) for e-cigarette ever-use, as for e-cigarette weekly use, but smoking experimentation and ever-use of snus (Swedish type moist snuff) and waterpipes alongside parental smoking and poor academic achievement also increased the odds for ever-use. The most common reason behind e-cigarette ever-use was the desire to try something new. To conclude, adolescent e-cigarette ever-use is increasing, and also among never-smokers. Tobacco-related factors are stronger determinants for e-cigarette use than socioeconomic factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Access to Drinking Water and Sanitation in Rural Kazakhstan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1115; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111115
Received: 19 May 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require nations to ensure adequate water supply for all. For Kazakhstan, this means that rural areas will need much stronger attention as they have been rather neglected in efforts to comply with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require nations to ensure adequate water supply for all. For Kazakhstan, this means that rural areas will need much stronger attention as they have been rather neglected in efforts to comply with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This study aims to establish a baseline data concerning the current situation in villages that will need interventions according to the SDGs. The study was performed by means of questionnaires. The results should be seen as initial guidelines that can help to illuminate some of the uncounted challenges in future efforts to meet the SDG targets. As hardly any information exists about sanitation in rural Kazakhstan, the study essentially focuses on water services. The results show that 65% of rural dwellers want to connect and pay for the piped water supply. At the same time, about 80% have toilets outside their home. Consequently, the water program aiming at providing 80% of rural people with access to tap water from a centralized piped system will not be possible. However, by carefully managing the existing water supply and sanitation system in joint collaboration with the local users, significant progress can be made. The present results show the important first steps that need to be taken in this direction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Measurement of Low Carbon Economy Efficiency with a Three-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis: A Comparison of the Largest Twenty CO2 Emitting Countries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1116; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111116
Received: 30 July 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Abstract
This paper employs a three-stage approach to estimate low carbon economy efficiency in the largest twenty CO2 emitting countries from 2000 to 2012. The approach includes the following three stages: (1) use of a data envelopment analysis (DEA) model with undesirable output
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This paper employs a three-stage approach to estimate low carbon economy efficiency in the largest twenty CO2 emitting countries from 2000 to 2012. The approach includes the following three stages: (1) use of a data envelopment analysis (DEA) model with undesirable output to estimate the low carbon economy efficiency and calculate the input and output slacks; (2) use of a stochastic frontier approach to eliminate the impacts of external environment variables on these slacks; (3) re-estimation of the efficiency with adjusted inputs and outputs to reflect the capacity of the government to develop a low carbon economy. The results indicate that the low carbon economy efficiency performances in these countries had worsened during the studied period. The performances in the third stage are larger than that in the first stage. Moreover, in general, low carbon economy efficiency in Annex I countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is better than that in Non-Annex I countries. However, the gap of the average efficiency score between Annex I and Non-Annex I countries in the first stage is smaller than that in the third stage. It implies that the external environment variables show greater influence on Non-Annex I countries than that on Annex I countries. These external environment variables should be taken into account in the transnational negotiation of the responsibility of promoting CO2 reductions. Most importantly, the developed countries (mostly in Annex I) should help the developing countries (mostly in Non-Annex I) to reduce carbon emission by opening or expanding the trade, such as encouraging the import and export of the energy-saving and sharing emission reduction technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Economics, Environmental Health Policy and Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Major Natural Disasters in China, 1985–2014: Occurrence and Damages
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1118; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111118
Received: 12 September 2016 / Revised: 4 November 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
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Abstract
This study aimed to describe the characteristics of natural disasters and associated losses from 1985 to 2014. The Mann-Kendall method was used to detect any long-term trends and abrupt changes. Hotspot analysis was conducted to detect the spatial clusters of disasters. We found
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This study aimed to describe the characteristics of natural disasters and associated losses from 1985 to 2014. The Mann-Kendall method was used to detect any long-term trends and abrupt changes. Hotspot analysis was conducted to detect the spatial clusters of disasters. We found an increasing trend in the occurrence of integrated natural disasters (tau = 0.594, p < 0.001), particularly for floods (tau = 0.507, p < 0.001), landslides (tau = 0.365, p = 0.009) and storms (tau = 0.289, p = 0.032). Besides, there was an abrupt increase of natural disasters in 1998–2000. Hotspots of droughts, floods, landslides and storms were identified in central, southern, southwest and southeast areas of China, respectively. Annual deaths from integrated natural disasters were decreasing (tau = −0.237, p = 0.068) at about 32 persons/year, decreasing at 17 persons/year for floods (tau = −0.154, p = 0.239), and decreasing at approximately 12 persons/year for storms (tau = −0.338, p = 0.009). No significant trend was detected in inflation-adjusted damages while a declining trend was detected in the ratio of year damage against GDP (gross domestic product). In conclusion, there has been an increasing trend in occurrence of natural disasters in China with the absence of an increase in life and economic losses. Despite the progress in the disaster adaption, there will be great challenges in disaster control for China in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Heavy Metal Pollution in Settled Dust Associated with Different Urban Functional Areas in a Heavily Air-Polluted City in North China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1119; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111119
Received: 9 September 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
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Abstract
Understanding variations of heavy metals in atmospheric particles between different functional areas is significant for pollution control and urban planning in cities. To reveal pollution and spatial distribution of heavy metals in atmospheric particles from different urban functional areas in Shijiazhuang in North
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Understanding variations of heavy metals in atmospheric particles between different functional areas is significant for pollution control and urban planning in cities. To reveal pollution and spatial distribution of heavy metals in atmospheric particles from different urban functional areas in Shijiazhuang in North China, 43 settled dust samples were collected over the main urban area and heavy metal concentrations were determined in their <63 μm fractions using an ICP-OES. The results suggest that Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, and V in the dust are not or slightly enriched and their concentrations vary slightly between different sites, implying their natural origins; whereas Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb are often notably enriched and their concentrations vary significantly between different functional areas, indicating their anthropogenic sources. Integrated pollution indexes (IPIs) of the ten heavy metals are 2.7–13.6 (5.7 ± 2.2), suggesting high or very high pollution levels of most dust. Relatively lower IPIs occur mainly in the administration-education area, the commercial area, and other unclassified sites; while peaks occur mainly in the North Railway Station, the northeastern industrial area, and some sites near heavily trafficked areas, implying the significant influence of intensive industrial (including coal combustion) and traffic activities on atmospheric heavy metal accumulation. These results suggest a clear need of mitigating atmospheric heavy metal pollution via controlling emissions of toxic metals (especially Cd and Pb) from industrial and traffic sources in the city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals: Environmental and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Stakeholders’ Perception on National Heatwave Plans and Their Local Implementation in Belgium and The Netherlands
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1120; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111120
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
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Abstract
National heatwave plans are aimed at reducing the avoidable human health consequences due to heatwaves, by providing warnings as well as improving communication between relevant stakeholders. The objective of this study was to assess the perceptions of key stakeholders within plans in Belgium
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National heatwave plans are aimed at reducing the avoidable human health consequences due to heatwaves, by providing warnings as well as improving communication between relevant stakeholders. The objective of this study was to assess the perceptions of key stakeholders within plans in Belgium and The Netherlands on their responsibilities, the partnerships, and the effectiveness of the local implementation in Brussels and Amsterdam. Key informant interviews were held with stakeholders that had an important role in development of the heatwave plan in these countries, or its implementation in Brussels or Amsterdam. Care organisations, including hospitals and elderly care organisations, had a lack of familiarity with the national heatwave plan in both cities, and prioritised heat the lowest. Some groups of individuals, specifically socially isolated individuals, are not sufficiently addressed by the current national heatwave plans and most local plans. Stakeholders reported that responsibilities were not clearly described and that the national plan does not describe tasks on a local level. We recommend to urgently increase awareness on the impact of heat on health among care organisations. More emphasis needs to be given to the variety of heat-risk groups. Stakeholders should be involved in the development of updates of the plans. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Case Study of Dynamic Response Analysis and Safety Assessment for a Suspended Monorail System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1121; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111121
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
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Abstract
A suspended monorail transit system is a category of urban rail transit, which is effective in alleviating traffic pressure and injury prevention. Meanwhile, with the advantages of low cost and short construction time, suspended monorail transit systems show vast potential for future development.
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A suspended monorail transit system is a category of urban rail transit, which is effective in alleviating traffic pressure and injury prevention. Meanwhile, with the advantages of low cost and short construction time, suspended monorail transit systems show vast potential for future development. However, the suspended monorail has not been systematically studied in China, and there is a lack of relevant knowledge and analytical methods. To ensure the health and reliability of a suspended monorail transit system, the driving safety of vehicles and structure dynamic behaviors when vehicles are running on the bridge should be analyzed and evaluated. Based on the method of vehicle-bridge coupling vibration theory, the finite element method (FEM) software ANSYS and multi-body dynamics software SIMPACK are adopted respectively to establish the finite element model for bridge and the multi-body vehicle. A co-simulation method is employed to investigate the vehicle-bridge coupling vibration for the transit system. The traffic operation factors, including train formation, track irregularity and tire stiffness, are incorporated into the models separately to analyze the bridge and vehicle responses. The results show that the coupling of dynamic effects of the suspended monorail system between vehicle and bridge are significant in the case studied, and it is strongly suggested to take necessary measures for vibration suppression. The simulation of track irregularity is a critical factor for its vibration safety, and the track irregularity of A-level road roughness negatively influences the system vibration safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic Safety and Injury Prevention)
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Open AccessArticle Opioid Substitution Treatment Planning in a Disaster Context: Perspectives from Emergency Management and Health Professionals in Aotearoa/New Zealand
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1122; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111122
Received: 18 September 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 5 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
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Abstract
Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) is a harm reduction strategy enabling opiate consumers to avoid withdrawal symptoms and maintain health and wellbeing. Some research shows that within a disaster context service disruptions and infrastructure damage affect OST services, including problems with accessibility, dosing, and
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Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) is a harm reduction strategy enabling opiate consumers to avoid withdrawal symptoms and maintain health and wellbeing. Some research shows that within a disaster context service disruptions and infrastructure damage affect OST services, including problems with accessibility, dosing, and scripts. Currently little is known about planning for OST in the reduction and response phases of a disaster. This study aimed to identify the views of three professional groups working in Aotearoa/New Zealand about OST provision following a disaster. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 service workers, health professionals, and emergency managers in OST and disaster planning fields. Thematic analysis of transcripts identified three key themes, namely “health and wellbeing”, “developing an emergency management plan”, and “stock, dose verification, and scripts” which led to an overarching concept of “service continuity in OST preparedness planning”. Participants viewed service continuity as essential for reducing physical and psychological distress for OST clients, their families, and wider communities. Alcohol and drug and OST health professionals understood the specific needs of clients, while emergency managers discussed the need for sufficient preparedness planning to minimise harm. It is concluded that OST preparedness planning must be multidisciplinary, flexible, and inclusive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
Open AccessArticle Blood Pressure Control in Smokers with Arterial Hypertension Who Switched to Electronic Cigarettes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1123; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111123
Received: 2 May 2016 / Revised: 5 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
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Abstract
Electronic cigarettes (ECs) are battery-operated devices designed to vaporise nicotine, which may help smokers with quitting or reducing their tobacco consumption. No data is available regarding the health effects of ECs use among smokers with arterial hypertension and whether regular use results in
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Electronic cigarettes (ECs) are battery-operated devices designed to vaporise nicotine, which may help smokers with quitting or reducing their tobacco consumption. No data is available regarding the health effects of ECs use among smokers with arterial hypertension and whether regular use results in blood pressure (BP) changes. We investigated long-term changes in resting BP and level of BP control in hypertensive smokers who quit or reduced substantially their tobacco consumption by switching to ECs. A medical records review of patients with hypertension was conducted to identify patients reporting regular daily use of ECs on at least two consecutive follow-up visits. Regularly smoking hypertensive patients were included as a reference group. A marked reduction in cigarette consumption was observed in ECs users (n = 43) though consumption remained unchanged in the control group (n = 46). Compared to baseline, at 12 months (follow-up visit 2) decline in cigarette consumption was associated with significant reductions in median (25th-, 75th-centile) systolic BP (140 (134.5, 144) to 130 (123.5, 138.5) mmHg; p < 0.001) and diastolic BP (86 (78, 90) to 80 (74.5, 90) mmHg; p = 0.006). No significant changes were observed in the control group. As expected, decline in cigarette consumption in the ECs users was also associated with improved BP control. The study concludes that regular ECs use may aid smokers with arterial hypertension reduce or abstain from cigarette smoking, with only trivial post-cessation weight gain. This resulted in improvements in systolic and diastolic BP as well as better BP control. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Analysis of Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus in China Using a Geographically Weighted Logistic Regression Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1125; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111125
Received: 16 June 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
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Abstract
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is caused by severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV), which has had a serious impact on public health in parts of Asia. There is no specific antiviral drug or vaccine for SFTSV and, therefore, it is
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Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is caused by severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV), which has had a serious impact on public health in parts of Asia. There is no specific antiviral drug or vaccine for SFTSV and, therefore, it is important to determine the factors that influence the occurrence of SFTSV infections. This study aimed to explore the spatial associations between SFTSV infections and several potential determinants, and to predict the high-risk areas in mainland China. The analysis was carried out at the level of provinces in mainland China. The potential explanatory variables that were investigated consisted of meteorological factors (average temperature, average monthly precipitation and average relative humidity), the average proportion of rural population and the average proportion of primary industries over three years (2010–2012). We constructed a geographically weighted logistic regression (GWLR) model in order to explore the associations between the selected variables and confirmed cases of SFTSV. The study showed that: (1) meteorological factors have a strong influence on the SFTSV cover; (2) a GWLR model is suitable for exploring SFTSV cover in mainland China; (3) our findings can be used for predicting high-risk areas and highlighting when meteorological factors pose a risk in order to aid in the implementation of public health strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Trends in HIV Testing among Adults in Georgia: Analysis of the 2011–2015 BRFSS Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1126; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111126
Received: 2 September 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
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Abstract
Georgia is ranked fifth highest among states for rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis. About 4% of persons living with HIV infection in the United States reside in Georgia, and almost 19% of these people do not know their HIV status. The
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Georgia is ranked fifth highest among states for rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis. About 4% of persons living with HIV infection in the United States reside in Georgia, and almost 19% of these people do not know their HIV status. The present study examined the trends and associated factors of HIV testing among adults in Georgia between 2011 and 2015 by analyzing data of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). A total of 31,094 persons aged ≥18 years were identified who responded to the question “Have you ever been tested for HIV?” Overall, there were 11,286 (44.2%) respondents who had been tested for HIV, compared to 19,808 (55.8%) who had not. There was a slight decrease in the percentage of respondents who have ever tested for HIV, from 45.6% in 2011 to 43.7% in 2015 (APC (annual percent change) = −0.98, not significant). Factors associated with HIV testing were being female (p = 0.004), black (p < 0.001), younger than 55 years (p < 0.001), single (p < 0.001), attaining education level above high school (p < 0.001), and earning annual income of $50,000 or less (p = 0.028). Overall in Georgia, there has been a slight decline in the temporal trend of HIV testing, and more than half of adults have never been tested for HIV. For reducing HIV transmission in Georgia, enhancing access and utilization of HIV testing should be a public health priority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Determinants of HIV, Substance Abuse and Addiction)
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Open AccessArticle Drug Dependence Treatment Awareness among Japanese Female Stimulant Drug Offenders
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1127; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111127
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 4 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
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Abstract
Few stimulant drug users receive adequate treatment. This cross-sectional study describes the characteristics of female drug offenders that use stimulants and clarifies the factors related to the awareness of treatment for drug dependencies. We included 80 females imprisoned due to stimulant control law
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Few stimulant drug users receive adequate treatment. This cross-sectional study describes the characteristics of female drug offenders that use stimulants and clarifies the factors related to the awareness of treatment for drug dependencies. We included 80 females imprisoned due to stimulant control law violations from 2012 to 2015. The characteristics of the female prisoners were stratified according to various treatment awareness levels, and associations between each characteristic and treatment awareness were evaluated using logistic regression models. The average period of stimulant drug use was 17.7 years. Participants imprisoned for the second time were significantly more likely to consider treatment compared to those imprisoned only once: odds ratio (OR) = 3.2 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0–10.7). This elevated OR was diluted in repeat offenders. Participants who had experienced multiple aftereffects (≥7) or serious depressive symptoms were also more likely to consider treatment: OR = 6.1 (95% CI: 1.8–20.8) and OR = 2.5 (95% CI: 1.0–6.2), respectively. Second-time stimulant offenders or offenders who had experienced health problems were more likely to consider it important to receive drug dependence treatment. To overcome relapses of stimulant use, it is recommended that stimulant use offenders are encouraged to accept adequate treatment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Validation of Contamination Control in Rapid Transfer Port Chambers for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Processes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1129; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111129
Received: 18 September 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
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Abstract
There is worldwide concern with regard to the adverse effects of drug usage. However, contaminants can gain entry into a drug manufacturing process stream from several sources such as personnel, poor facility design, incoming ventilation air, machinery and other equipment for production, etc.
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There is worldwide concern with regard to the adverse effects of drug usage. However, contaminants can gain entry into a drug manufacturing process stream from several sources such as personnel, poor facility design, incoming ventilation air, machinery and other equipment for production, etc. In this validation study, we aimed to determine the impact and evaluate the contamination control in the preparation areas of the rapid transfer port (RTP) chamber during the pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. The RTP chamber is normally tested for airflow velocity, particle counts, pressure decay of leakage, and sterility. The air flow balance of the RTP chamber is affected by the airflow quantity and the height above the platform. It is relatively easy to evaluate the RTP chamber′s leakage by the pressure decay, where the system is charged with the air, closed, and the decay of pressure is measured by the time period. We conducted the determination of a vaporized H2O2 of a sufficient concentration to complete decontamination. The performance of the RTP chamber will improve safety and can be completely tested at an ISO Class 5 environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Di-(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate on the Hypothalamus–Uterus in Pubertal Female Rats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1130; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111130
Received: 19 September 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
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Abstract
The pollution of endocrine disruptors and its impact on human reproductive system have attracted much attention. Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), an environmental endocrine disruptor, is widely used in food packages, containers, medical supplies and children’s toys. It can cause diseases such as infertility, sexual
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The pollution of endocrine disruptors and its impact on human reproductive system have attracted much attention. Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), an environmental endocrine disruptor, is widely used in food packages, containers, medical supplies and children’s toys. It can cause diseases such as infertility, sexual precocity and uterine bleeding and thus arouse concerns from the society and scholars. The effect of DEHP on pubertal female reproductive system is still not well-studied. This study was to investigate the effects of DEHP on the hypothalamus–uterus in pubertal female rats, reveal the reproductive toxicity of DEHP on pubertal female rats and its mechanism, and provide scientific evidence for the evaluation of toxicity and toxic mechanism of DEHP on reproductive system. Forty-eight pubertal female rats were randomly divided into four groups and respectively administered via oral gavage 0, 250, 500, or 1000 mg/kg/d DEHP in 0.1 mL corn oil/20 g body weight for up to four weeks. Compared with control rats, the DEHP-treated rats showed: (1) higher gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) level in the hypothalamus; (2) higher protein levels of GnRH in the hypothalamus; and (3) higher mRNA and protein levels of GnRH receptor (GnRHR) in the uterus. Our data reveal that DEHP exposure may lead to a disruption in pubertal female rats and an imbalance of hypothalamus–uterus. Meanwhile, DEHP may, through the GnRH in the hypothalamus and its receptor on the uterus, lead to diseases of the uterus. DEHP may impose a negative influence on the development and functioning of the reproductive system in pubertal female rats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environment Health)
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Open AccessArticle Carbon Balance and Contribution of Harvested Wood Products in China Based on the Production Approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1132; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111132
Received: 28 September 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
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Abstract
The carbon sequestration of harvested wood products (HWP) plays an important role in climate mitigation. Accounting the carbon contribution of national HWP carbon pools has been listed as one of the key topics for negotiation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
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The carbon sequestration of harvested wood products (HWP) plays an important role in climate mitigation. Accounting the carbon contribution of national HWP carbon pools has been listed as one of the key topics for negotiation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. On the basis of the revised Production Approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) (IPCC), this study assessed the accounting of carbon stock and emissions from the HWP pool in China and then analyzed its balance and contribution to carbon mitigation from 1960 to 2014. Research results showed that the accumulated carbon stock in China’s HWP carbon pool increased from 130 Teragrams Carbon (TgC) in 1960 to 705.6 TgC in 2014. The annual increment in the carbon stock rose from 3.2 TgC in 1960 to 45.2 TgC in 2014. The category of solid wood products accounted for approximately 95% of the annual amount. The reduction in carbon emissions was approximately twelve times that of the emissions from the HWP producing and processing stage during the last decade. Furthermore, the amount of carbon stock and emission reduction increased from 23 TgC in 1960 to 76.1 TgC in 2014. The annual contribution of HWP could compensate for approximately 2.9% of the national carbon dioxide emissions in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Economics, Environmental Health Policy and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle The Association between Alcohol Consumption and β-Cell Function and Insulin Sensitivity in Korean Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1133; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111133
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 14 November 2016
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Abstract
This cross-sectional study was performed to examine the association between alcohol consumption and insulin secretion and sensitivity using the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study. Alcohol consumption levels were categorized into four groups: (i) abstainers, (ii) low (<5 g/day), (iii) intermediate (<30 g/day), and
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This cross-sectional study was performed to examine the association between alcohol consumption and insulin secretion and sensitivity using the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study. Alcohol consumption levels were categorized into four groups: (i) abstainers, (ii) low (<5 g/day), (iii) intermediate (<30 g/day), and (iv) high (≥30 g/day) alcohol consumption. β-cell function and insulin sensitivity were estimated using the insulinogenic index (IGI60), and Matsuda insulin sensitivity index (ISI), respectively. IGI60 and ISI were dichotomized into high and low groups using median cut-off values and four groups were defined (G-I: high IGI60/high ISI; G-II: high IGI60/low ISI; G-III: low IGI60/high ISI; and G-IV: low IGI60/low ISI). Men consumed 26.5 g alcohol per day on average, whereas women only consumed 5.7 g/day, so women were excluded from subsequent analyses due to their low drinking levels. Alcohol consumption was positively associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and triglycerides (TG) in men, but was negatively associated with IGI60 (p < 0.05). TG levels were only increased in individuals with decreased insulin sensitivity (G-II) or decreased β-cell function (G-III) with high alcohol consumption. In addition, alcohol consumption increased HDL cholesterol in the four groups (p < 0.001). In subjects with decreased insulin sensitivity (G-II), intermediate and high alcohol consumption increased the risk of high cholesterol and TG. In individuals with decreased β-cell function (G-III), alcohol consumption increased the risk of high TG and high AST levels. High alcohol consumption was significantly associated with reduced insulin secretion. In addition, alcohol consumption was related to some metabolic risk factors depending on insulin secretion or sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Association of Urogenital Symptoms with History of Water Contact in Young Women in Areas Endemic for S. haematobium. A Cross-Sectional Study in Rural South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1135; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111135
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 14 November 2016
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Abstract
Female genital schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease caused by Schistosoma haematobium. Infected females may suffer from symptoms mimicking sexually transmitted infections. We explored if self-reported history of unsafe water contact could be used as a simple predictor of genital schistosomiasis. In
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Female genital schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease caused by Schistosoma haematobium. Infected females may suffer from symptoms mimicking sexually transmitted infections. We explored if self-reported history of unsafe water contact could be used as a simple predictor of genital schistosomiasis. In a cross-sectional study in rural South Africa, 883 sexually active women aged 16–22 years were included. Questions were asked about urogenital symptoms and water contact history. Urine samples were tested for S. haematobium ova. A score based on self-reported water contact was calculated and the association with symptoms was explored while adjusting for other genital infections using multivariable logistic regression analyses. S. haematobium ova were detected in the urine of 30.5% of subjects. Having ova in the urine was associated with the water contact score (p < 0.001). Symptoms that were associated with water contact included burning sensation in the genitals (p = 0.005), spot bleeding (p = 0.012), abnormal discharge smell (p = 0.018), bloody discharge (p = 0.020), genital ulcer (p = 0.038), red urine (p < 0.001), stress incontinence (p = 0.001) and lower abdominal pain (p = 0.028). In S. haematobium endemic areas, self-reported water contact was strongly associated with urogenital symptoms. In low-resource settings, a simple history including risk of water contact behaviour can serve as an indicator of urogenital schistosomiasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Diagnosed but Not Undiagnosed Diabetes Is Associated with Depression in Rural Areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1136; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111136
Received: 12 September 2016 / Revised: 1 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 14 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: There is a lack of study on the relation between undiagnosed diabetes and depression in the general population. Methods: A total of 11,531 adults were examined using a multistage cluster sampling method to select a representative sample of individuals who
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Background: There is a lack of study on the relation between undiagnosed diabetes and depression in the general population. Methods: A total of 11,531 adults were examined using a multistage cluster sampling method to select a representative sample of individuals who were at least 35 years old. Subjects were classified into three groups: no diabetes (ND), diagnosed diabetes (DD), and undiagnosed diabetes (UD). The participants were surveyed with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Results: Of all the 11,531 participants, the prevalence of depression was higher in the DD group than in the other two groups. Multi variable logistic regression analyses show that the DD group had significantly higher odds for depression compared with the ND group (p < 0.01), while the UD group showed no significant differences compared to the ND group. Subgroup analyses show that diagnosed diabetes in subjects with a lower educational level, compared with subjects with an educational level of high school or above, had higher odds for a PHQ-9 score ≥5 (p < 0.01). Conclusion: In this general population, diagnosed but not undiagnosed diabetes was significantly associated with depression. Much higher odds for depression were found among diagnosed diabetic individuals with a lower level of education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Behavioral Response in the Immediate Aftermath of Shaking: Earthquakes in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand, and Hitachi, Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1137; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111137
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 6 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
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Abstract
This study examines people’s response actions in the first 30 min after shaking stopped following earthquakes in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand, and Hitachi, Japan. Data collected from 257 respondents in Christchurch, 332 respondents in Hitachi, and 204 respondents in Wellington revealed notable
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This study examines people’s response actions in the first 30 min after shaking stopped following earthquakes in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand, and Hitachi, Japan. Data collected from 257 respondents in Christchurch, 332 respondents in Hitachi, and 204 respondents in Wellington revealed notable similarities in some response actions immediately after the shaking stopped. In all four events, people were most likely to contact family members and seek additional information about the situation. However, there were notable differences among events in the frequency of resuming previous activities. Actions taken in the first 30 min were weakly related to: demographic variables, earthquake experience, contextual variables, and actions taken during the shaking, but were significantly related to perceived shaking intensity, risk perception and affective responses to the shaking, and damage/infrastructure disruption. These results have important implications for future research and practice because they identify promising avenues for emergency managers to communicate seismic risks and appropriate responses to risk area populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolving Relationship between Science and Disaster Risk Reduction)
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Open AccessArticle The Association between Endometriosis, Tubal Ligation, Hysterectomy and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer: Meta-Analyses
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1138; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111138
Received: 3 July 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 14 November 2016
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Abstract
To investigate the association between endometriosis, tubal ligation, hysterectomy and epithelial ovarian cancer. Relevant published literatures were searched in PubMed, ProQuest, Web of Science and Medline databases during 1995–2016. Heterogeneity was evaluated by I2 statistic. Publication bias was tested by funnel plot
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To investigate the association between endometriosis, tubal ligation, hysterectomy and epithelial ovarian cancer. Relevant published literatures were searched in PubMed, ProQuest, Web of Science and Medline databases during 1995–2016. Heterogeneity was evaluated by I2 statistic. Publication bias was tested by funnel plot and Egger’s test. Odds ratio and 95% CI were used to assess the association strength. The statistical analyses in this study were accomplished by STATA software package. A total of 40,609 cases of epithelial ovarian cancer and 368,452 controls in 38 publications were included. The result suggested that endometriosis was associated with an increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer (OR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.28–1.57), tubal ligation was associated with a decreased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer (OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.60–0.81), while hysterectomy show no relationship with epithelial ovarian cancer (OR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.81–1.14). A stratified analysis showed there were associations between endometriosis and the increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer for studies conducted in USA and Europe. Meanwhile, there were associations between tubal ligation and the decreased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer for studies conducted in USA, Asia, Europe and Australia. The result indicated that endometriosis was a risk factor of epithelial ovarian cancer whereas tubal ligation was a protective risk factor of epithelial ovarian cancer, hysterectomy may have no relationship with epithelial ovarian cancer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Association between Arrhythmia and Helicobacter pylori Infection: A Meta-Analysis of Case-Control Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1139; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111139
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
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Abstract
Arrhythmia is a common disease around the world and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium infecting 28% to 84% of subjects, depending on the population tested. However, the implication of H. pylori in cardiac arrhythmia is poorly understood. We performed
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Arrhythmia is a common disease around the world and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium infecting 28% to 84% of subjects, depending on the population tested. However, the implication of H. pylori in cardiac arrhythmia is poorly understood. We performed this meta-analysis with an aim to identify the association between arrhythmia and H. pylori. We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane library databases to select studies on the association between arrhythmia and H. pylori. In the arrhythmia group, 392 (58.1%) were H. pylori-positive and in the control group 640 (47.8%) were H. pylori-positive. Compared to the controls, the infection rate of H. pylori was higher in patients with arrhythmia than in controls (odds ratio (OR) = 1.797, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.081–2.988, p < 0.05). Subgroup analysis indicated that H. pylori infection was a risk factor for atrial fibrillation in Asia and Africa. Therefore, a correlation between H. pylori infection and arrhythmia may exist and H. pylori eradication may decrease the occurrence of arrhythmia, especially in Asia and Africa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Care-Seeking for Diarrhoea in Southern Malawi: Attitudes, Practices and Implications for Diarrhoea Control
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1140; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111140
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
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Abstract
This paper examined care-seeking behaviour and its associated risk factors when a family member had diarrhoea. Data was obtained from a survey conducted in Chikwawa, a district in Southern Malawi. Chikwawa is faced with a number of environmental and socioeconomic problems and currently
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This paper examined care-seeking behaviour and its associated risk factors when a family member had diarrhoea. Data was obtained from a survey conducted in Chikwawa, a district in Southern Malawi. Chikwawa is faced with a number of environmental and socioeconomic problems and currently diarrhoea morbidity in the district is estimated at 24.4%, statistically higher than the national average of 17%. Using hierarchically built data from a survey of 1403 households nested within 33 communities, a series of two level binary logistic regression models with Bayesian estimation were used to determine predictors of care-seeking behaviour. The results show that 68% of mothers used oral rehydration solutions (ORS) the last time a child in their family had diarrhoea. However, when asked on the action they take when a member of their household has diarrhoea two thirds of the mothers said they visit a health facility. Most respondents (73%) mentioned distance and transport costs as the main obstacles to accessing their nearest health facility and the same proportion of respondents mentioned prolonged waiting time and absence of health workers as the main obstacles encountered at the health facilities. The main predictor variables when a member of the family had diarrhoea were maternal age, distance to the nearest health facility, school level, and relative wealth, household diarrhoea endemicity, and household size while the main predictor variables when a child had diarrhoea were existence of a village health committee (VHC), distance to the nearest health facility, and maternal age. Most households use ORS for the treatment of diarrhoea and village health committees and health surveillance assistants (HSAs) are important factors in this choice of treatment. Health education messages on the use and efficacy of ORS to ensure proper and prescribed handling are important. There is need for a comprehensive concept addressing several dimensions of management and proper coordination of delivery of resources and services; availability of adequate healthcare workers at all levels; affordability to accessibility of healthcare resources and services to all communities; acceptability and quality of care; intensification of health education messages on the use and management of ORS, and prompt and timely treatment of diarrhoeal illness. Full article
Open AccessArticle QSAR Study for Carcinogenic Potency of Aromatic Amines Based on GEP and MLPs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1141; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111141
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
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Abstract
A new analysis strategy was used to classify the carcinogenicity of aromatic amines. The physical-chemical parameters are closely related to the carcinogenicity of compounds. Quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR) is a method of predicting the carcinogenicity of aromatic amine, which can reveal the
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A new analysis strategy was used to classify the carcinogenicity of aromatic amines. The physical-chemical parameters are closely related to the carcinogenicity of compounds. Quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR) is a method of predicting the carcinogenicity of aromatic amine, which can reveal the relationship between carcinogenicity and physical-chemical parameters. This study accessed gene expression programming by APS software, the multilayer perceptrons by Weka software to predict the carcinogenicity of aromatic amines, respectively. All these methods relied on molecular descriptors calculated by CODESSA software and eight molecular descriptors were selected to build function equations. As a remarkable result, the accuracy of gene expression programming in training and test sets are 0.92 and 0.82, the accuracy of multilayer perceptrons in training and test sets are 0.84 and 0.74 respectively. The precision of the gene expression programming is obviously superior to multilayer perceptrons both in training set and test set. The QSAR application in the identification of carcinogenic compounds is a high efficiency method. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Association between the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Genetic Polymorphism and Diabetic Retinopathy—A Meta-Analysis Comprising 10,168 Subjects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1142; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111142
Received: 11 August 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
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Abstract
Aims—to address the inconclusive findings of the association of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism on risk of diabetic retinopathy (DR), a meta-analysis was conducted. Methods—we conducted a meta-analysis on 4252 DR cases and 5916 controls from 40 published studies by searching electronic
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Aims—to address the inconclusive findings of the association of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism on risk of diabetic retinopathy (DR), a meta-analysis was conducted. Methods—we conducted a meta-analysis on 4252 DR cases and 5916 controls from 40 published studies by searching electronic databases and reference lists of relevant articles. A random-effects or fixed-effects model was used to estimate the overall and stratification effect sizes on ACE I/D polymorphism on the risk of DR. Results—we found a significant association between the ACE I/D polymorphism and the risk of DR for all genetic model (ID vs. II: OR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.00–1.30; DD vs. II: OR = 1.38, 95% CI: 1.11–1.71; Allele contrast: OR = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.05–1.30; recessive model: OR = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.02–1.51 and dominant model: OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.06–1.38, respectively). In stratified analysis by ethnicity and DM type, we further found that the Asian group with T2DM showed a significant association for all genetic models (ID vs. II: OR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.01–1.30; DD vs. II: OR = 1.54, 95% CI: 1.14–2.08; Allele contrast: OR = 1.26, 95% CI: 1.09–1.47; recessive model: OR = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.07–1.88 and dominant model: OR = 1.26, 95% CI: 1.07–1.49, respectively). Conclusion—our study suggested that the ACE I/D polymorphism may contribute to DR development, especially in the Asian group with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Prospective and more genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are needed to clarify the real role of the ACE gene in determining susceptibility to DR. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Whole of Systems Trial of Prevention Strategies for Childhood Obesity: WHO STOPS Childhood Obesity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1143; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111143
Received: 18 October 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: Community-based initiatives show promise for preventing childhood obesity. They are characterized by community leaders and members working together to address complex local drivers of energy balance. Objectives: To present a protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomized trial in ten
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Background: Community-based initiatives show promise for preventing childhood obesity. They are characterized by community leaders and members working together to address complex local drivers of energy balance. Objectives: To present a protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomized trial in ten communities in the Great South Coast Region of Victoria, Australia to test whether it is possible to: (1) strengthen community action for childhood obesity prevention, and (2) measure the impact of increased action on risk factors for childhood obesity. Methods: The WHO STOPS intervention involves a facilitated community engagement process that: creates an agreed systems map of childhood obesity causes for a community; identifies intervention opportunities through leveraging the dynamic aspects of the system; and, converts these understandings into community-built, systems-oriented action plans. Ten communities will be randomized (1:1) to intervention or control in year one and all communities will be included by year three. The primary outcome is childhood obesity prevalence among grade two (ages 7–8 y), grade four (9–10 y) and grade six (11–12 y) students measured using our established community-led monitoring system (69% school and 93% student participation rate in government and independent schools). An additional group of 13 external communities from other regions of Victoria with no specific interventions will provide an external comparison. These communities will also allow us to assess diffusion of the intervention to control communities during the first three years of the trial. Conclusion: This trial will test effectiveness, over a five-year period, of community-owned, -supported and -led strategies designed to address complex and dynamic causes of childhood obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Asian Dust Particles on the Early-Stage Antigen-Induced Immune Response of Asthma in NC/Nga Mice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1144; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111144
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
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Abstract
Asian dust (AD) can aggravate airway inflammation in asthma, but the association between AD and the development of asthma remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effects of AD on the early stage of antigen sensitization using a mouse model of asthma,
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Asian dust (AD) can aggravate airway inflammation in asthma, but the association between AD and the development of asthma remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effects of AD on the early stage of antigen sensitization using a mouse model of asthma, as well as the role of leukotrienes (LTs) in antigen-induced airway inflammation potentiated by AD particles. NC/Nga mice were co-sensitized by intranasal instillation of AD particles and/or Dermatophagoides farinae (Df) for five consecutive days. Df-sensitized mice were stimulated with an intranasal Df challenge at seven days. Mice were treated with the type 1 cysteinyl LT (CysLT1) receptor antagonist orally 4 h before and 1 h after the allergen challenge. At 24 h post-challenge, the differential leukocyte count, inflammatory cytokines, and LTs in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were assessed, and airway inflammation was evaluated histopathologically. AD augmented neutrophilic and eosinophilic airway inflammation with increased CysLTs and dihydroxy-LT in a mouse model of asthma. The CysLT1 receptor antagonist was shown to attenuate both neutrophilic and eosinophilic airway inflammation augmented by AD. Therefore, exposure to AD may be associated with the development of asthma and LTs may play important roles in airway inflammation augmented by AD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Semiparametric Multinomial Ordinal Model to Analyze Spatial Patterns of Child Birth Weight in Nigeria
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1145; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111145
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: Birth weight is an important health parameter for obstetricians and gynaecologists. It is a good health indicator of a child-bearing mother and a strong predictor of infant morbidity and mortality. Methods: This paper utilizes data on 28,647 children born between
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Background: Birth weight is an important health parameter for obstetricians and gynaecologists. It is a good health indicator of a child-bearing mother and a strong predictor of infant morbidity and mortality. Methods: This paper utilizes data on 28,647 children born between 2003–2008 obtained from the 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). For a simple epidemiological convenience, the occurrence of a newborn weight can intuitively be considered to be categorical in nature and the thresholds can be put on a continuous scale. In survey reporting, the mothers frequently estimate their infant’s birth weight and make a classification in ordinal category (low, normal, large) instead of actual birth weight. The study fits a multinomial regression model to analyze the relationships between the polytomous response and different kind of covariates in a unified manner. We estimate the fixed effects of bio-social covariates parametrically and the non-linear effect modeled using P-spline. The spatial component was modeled using conditional autoregressive error. A penalized maximum likelihood estimation was performed to estimate the model parameters. Results: We found risk factors that are positively associated with low birth weight, which include multiple birth, short birth interval, death of sibling, childhood diarrhea, fever, mother’s smoking, firewood/dung cooking and poor household. Results further showed that iron syrup supplementation, antenatal attendance, mother literacy and household wealth had significant association with low probability of low birth weight. The finding also showed spatial patterns, which are not captured by the underlying determinants, and we produced probability predictive maps of the spatial residual effects. Conclusions: In addition to the statistical relevance of our method, the generated spatial maps identify highly endemic areas of low birth weight that can assist government agency to channel scarce health resources. A comprehensive approach which institutes a combination of interventions to improve the overall health care of the women is needed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Safety Attitudes of Senior Managers in the Chinese Coal Industry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1147; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111147
Received: 11 August 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
Introduction: Senior managers’ attitudes towards safety are very important regarding the safety practices in an organization. The study is to describe the current situation of senior managers′ attitudes towards safety in the Chinese coal industry. Method: We evaluated the changing trends as
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Introduction: Senior managers’ attitudes towards safety are very important regarding the safety practices in an organization. The study is to describe the current situation of senior managers′ attitudes towards safety in the Chinese coal industry. Method: We evaluated the changing trends as well as the reasons for these changes in the Chinese coal industry in 2009 and in 2014 with 168 senior manager samples from large Chinese state-owned coal enterprises. Evaluations of 15 safety concepts were performed by means of a questionnaire. Results and Conclusions: Results indicate that, in 2014, three concepts were at a very high level (mean > 4.5), and six were at a relatively high level (4.5 > mean > 4.0). Analyses of changing trends revealed that nine concepts improved significantly, while four greatly declined in 2014 compared to those in 2009. The data reported here suggest that the reasons for the significant improvement with respect to the nine concepts include the improvement in social and legal environments, the improvement of the culture of social safety, workers′ safety demands being met, and scientific and technical advances in the coal industry. The decline of the four concepts seemed to be caused by a poor awareness of managers in the coal industry that safety creates economic benefits, insufficient information on safety, inadequate attention to the development of a safety culture and safety management methods, and safety organizations and workers′ unions not playing their role effectively. Practical Applications: We therefore recommend strengthening the evidence that safety creates economic benefits, providing incentives for employees to encourage their participation in safety management, and paying more attention to the prevention of accidents in coal mines via safety organizations and unions. These results can provide guidelines for workers, industrialists, and government regarding occupational safety in the whole coal industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effecting a Safe and Healthy Environment in Construction)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Secular Trends in Cervical Cancer Mortality in China and the United States: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1148; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111148
Received: 2 July 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: As one of the most common cancers in the female population, cervical cancer has ranked as the second most incident gynecological cancer in recent years, trailing only breast cancer. We aimed to assess and compare the secular trends in cervical cancer
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Background: As one of the most common cancers in the female population, cervical cancer has ranked as the second most incident gynecological cancer in recent years, trailing only breast cancer. We aimed to assess and compare the secular trends in cervical cancer mortality in China and the United States and analyze the independent effects of chronological age, time period and birth cohort using age-period-cohort (APC) analysis. Methods: We performed an age-period-cohort analysis using the intrinsic estimator method to estimate the independent effects of age, time period, and birth cohort on cervical cancer mortality. We collected mortality data for China and the United States from the WHO Mortality Database and China Health Statistical Yearbook database. Results: We examined the general trends in cervical mortality rates in China and the United States during the periods 1988–2012 and 1953–2012, respectively. The age-standardized mortality rates (ASMRs) for cervical cancer in urban China, rural China and the U.S. showed a general decreasing trend during the observation period, except for urban China, which experienced a significant increase beginning in 2002. The mortality rates for cervical cancer in the three areas showed a general increasing trend with age, regardless of the period effect. Period effects declined steadily in both rural China (from 0.19 to −0.26) and the U.S. (from −0.20 to −0.43); however, a slight increasing trend was identified (from −0.25 to 0.33) in urban China, which indicated that the risk of mortality increased with time. Cohort effects peaked in the cohort born in 1911–1915 in both rural China and urban China, declined consistently in the cohort born before 1950, and then decreased again in the cohort born after 1976–1980. The cohort effect in the U.S. peaked in the birth cohort born in 1876–1880, then leveled off and slightly decreased in younger generations. Conclusions: Our study showed that in general, cervical cancer mortality rates increased with age and decreased with birth cohort in the U.S., while the risk of mortality was highest in the cohort born during 1946–1975 in urban China. Additionally, the risk of mortality consistently increased with age in women younger than 64 years old in urban and rural China and began to decline in older groups. Although the age and cohort effects were relatively strong, the period effect may be the key factor affecting cervical cancer mortality trends, mainly reflecting the immediate effects of effective treatment and the implementation of screening. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sub-Acute Toxicity Study of Graphene Oxide in the Sprague-Dawley Rat
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1149; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111149
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
Graphene oxide (GO) is an oxidized derivative of graphene used in biotechnology and medicine. The safety of GO is uncertain, so we evaluated its toxicity in male rats. Rat tail veins were injected with 2.5, 5, or 10 mg/kg GO for seven days
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Graphene oxide (GO) is an oxidized derivative of graphene used in biotechnology and medicine. The safety of GO is uncertain, so we evaluated its toxicity in male rats. Rat tail veins were injected with 2.5, 5, or 10 mg/kg GO for seven days and behavioral patterns, pathology, and tissue morphology were assessed. Data show that behaviors were not altered according to an open field test and a functional observational battery test, but histopathological analysis indicated that GO caused inflammation of the lung, liver, and spleen. GO also reduced cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL), and low density lipoprotein (LDL). No other organs were modified. Thus, high concentrations of GO are toxic for the lung, liver, and spleen, but the mechanism by which this occurs requires more study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Neurotoxicology)
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Open AccessArticle Structure, Spatial and Temporal Distribution of the Culex pipiens Complex in Shanghai, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1150; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111150
Received: 10 September 2016 / Revised: 10 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: Culex pipiens molestus was first reported in Shanghai in 2010. The population structures and seasonal distributions of Culex pipiens subspecies C. p. molestus, Culex pipiens pallens, and Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus are not well known. Methods: From late February to November
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Background: Culex pipiens molestus was first reported in Shanghai in 2010. The population structures and seasonal distributions of Culex pipiens subspecies C. p. molestus, Culex pipiens pallens, and Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus are not well known. Methods: From late February to November 2013, we conducted daily field surveillance of mosquitoes at eight sites at two green lands and three residential areas in downtown Shanghai. Morphological comparison and DV/D ratios (DV/D is an indicator of mosquito taxonomy) were used to identify adult mosquitoes. Results: The distribution curves of the Culex pipiens complex members indicated seasonal fluctuations. The temperature range of 20–25 °C was the most suitable for adult activity. Micro-environmental factors may differentiate the complex population structures. Hybridization between C. p. pallens and C. p. quinquefasciatus was common and neither “DV/D = 0.40” nor “DV/D = 0.50” can distinguish these subspecies and their hybrids. Conclusion: the population structure of the Culex pipiens complex is complex and characterized by significant hybridization. Measures other than DV/D ratios are needed for the discrimination of subspecies. The C. p. molestus invasion might result in the transmission of novel vector-borne diseases in Shanghai. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Indoor Monitoring System for Ambient Assisted Living Based on Internet of Things Architecture
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1152; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111152
Received: 23 July 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
The study of systems and architectures for ambient assisted living (AAL) is undoubtedly a topic of great relevance given the aging of the world population. The AAL technologies are designed to meet the needs of the aging population in order to maintain their
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The study of systems and architectures for ambient assisted living (AAL) is undoubtedly a topic of great relevance given the aging of the world population. The AAL technologies are designed to meet the needs of the aging population in order to maintain their independence as long as possible. As people typically spend more than 90% of their time in indoor environments, indoor air quality (iAQ) is perceived as an imperative variable to be controlled for the inhabitants’ wellbeing and comfort. Advances in networking, sensors, and embedded devices have made it possible to monitor and provide assistance to people in their homes. The continuous technological advancements make it possible to build smart objects with great capabilities for sensing and connecting several possible advancements in ambient assisted living systems architectures. Indoor environments are characterized by several pollutant sources. Most of the monitoring frameworks instantly accessible are exceptionally costly and only permit the gathering of arbitrary examples. iAQ is an indoor air quality system based on an Internet of Things paradigm that incorporates in its construction Arduino, ESP8266, and XBee technologies for processing and data transmission and micro sensors for data acquisition. It also allows access to data collected through web access and through a mobile application in real time, and this data can be accessed by doctors in order to support medical diagnostics. Five smaller scale sensors of natural parameters (air temperature, moistness, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and glow) were utilized. Different sensors can be included to check for particular contamination. The results reveal that the system can give a viable indoor air quality appraisal in order to anticipate technical interventions for improving indoor air quality. Indeed indoor air quality might be distinctively contrasted with what is normal for a quality living environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle The Association of Serum Bisphenol A with Thyroid Autoimmunity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1153; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111153
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 14 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
Introduction: Data on the association of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and autoimmunity in humans is unclear. Objective: To elucidate the influence of BPA on thyroid autoimmunity, in the present study we assessed the association between serum BPA and thyroid autoantibodies. Methods
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Introduction: Data on the association of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and autoimmunity in humans is unclear. Objective: To elucidate the influence of BPA on thyroid autoimmunity, in the present study we assessed the association between serum BPA and thyroid autoantibodies. Methods: Serum samples from 2361 subjects, aged ≥15 years, from the Thai 4th National Health Examination Survey were measured for BPA, antithyroglobulin (TgAb), antithyroperoxidase (TPOAb) and antithyrotrophin receptor (TRAb) antibodies. Results: The proportion of subjects positive for TgAb, TPOAb and TRAb were 11.1%, 14.9% and 1.9%, respectively. With regard to BPA, 51.9% had serum BPA levels exceeding the detection limit of the assay (0.3). There was a significant increasing trend for subjects with TgAb (p < 0.05) and TPOAb (p < 0.001) positivity as BPA quartiles increased, particularly in the highest quartile. In contrast, no relationship between BPA quartiles and TRAb was found. Logistic regression analysis showed that age, gender and BPA quartiles were determinants of TPOAb or TgAb positivity, independent of BMI. However, only the association between BPA and TPOAb positivity was consistent in both men and women. Conclusions: BPA was independently associated with TPOAb positivity. However, its mechanism related to TPOAb positivity, subsequently leading to autoimmune thyroid disease, needs further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Respiratory Diseases in University Students Associated with Exposure to Residential Dampness or Mold
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1154; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111154
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 8 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
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Abstract
University students are frequently exposed to residential dampness or mold (i.e., visible mold, mold odor, dampness, or water leaks), a well-known contributor to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and respiratory infections. This study aims to: (a) describe the prevalence of these respiratory diseases among university
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University students are frequently exposed to residential dampness or mold (i.e., visible mold, mold odor, dampness, or water leaks), a well-known contributor to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and respiratory infections. This study aims to: (a) describe the prevalence of these respiratory diseases among university students; and (b) examine the independent contribution of residential dampness or mold to these diseases. An online survey was conducted in March 2014 among the 26,676 students registered at the Université de Sherbrooke (Quebec, Canada). Validated questions and scores were used to assess self-reported respiratory diseases (i.e., asthma-like symptoms, allergic rhinitis, and respiratory infections), residential dampness or mold, and covariates (e.g., student characteristics). Using logistic regressions, the crude and adjusted odd ratios between residential dampness or mold and self-reported respiratory diseases were examined. Results from the participating students (n = 2097; response rate: 8.1%) showed high prevalence of allergic rhinitis (32.6%; 95% CI: 30.6–34.7), asthma-like symptoms (24.0%; 95% CI: 22.1–25.8) and respiratory infections (19.4%; 95% CI: 17.7–21.2). After adjustment, exposure to residential dampness or mold was associated with allergic rhinitis (OR: 1.25; 95% CI: 1.01–1.55) and asthma-like symptoms (OR: 1.70; 95% CI: 1.37–2.11), but not with respiratory infections (OR: 1.07; 95% CI: 0.85–1.36). Among symptomatic students, this exposure was also associated with uncontrolled and burdensome respiratory symptoms (p < 0.01). University students report a high prevalence of allergic rhinitis, asthma-like symptoms and respiratory infections. A common indoor hazard, residential dampness or mold, may play a role in increasing atopic respiratory diseases and their suboptimal control in young adults. These results emphasize the importance for public health organizations to tackle poor housing conditions, especially amongst university students who should be considered “at-risk”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
Open AccessArticle Determinants, Health Problems, and Food Insecurity in Urban Areas of the Largest City in Cape Verde
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1155; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111155
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 5 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 22 November 2016
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Abstract
Urbanization processes are intertwined with nutritional transition because there is easier access to food of low nutritional quality at reduced prices, changing dietary patterns and leading to an increase of non-communicable chronic diseases. This study aims to understand the perceptions for high blood
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Urbanization processes are intertwined with nutritional transition because there is easier access to food of low nutritional quality at reduced prices, changing dietary patterns and leading to an increase of non-communicable chronic diseases. This study aims to understand the perceptions for high blood pressure, obesity, and alcoholism, describing some interactions of these dimensions in the problem of food security in the city of Praia. A qualitative study was carried out under the framework of the research project “UPHI-STAT: Urban Planning and Health Inequalities—moving from macro to micro statistics”. Ten focus groups were conducted in three urban areas with distinct characteristics in the city of Praia, with a total of 48 participants. Participants reported frequent consumption of foods with poor nutritional quality, understanding the potential danger in terms of food security in the city of Praia. Easy access to and high levels of alcohol consumption, and poor quality of traditional drinks were mentioned by participants in the study areas. The impact of the economic situation on the possibility of access to safe and healthy options emerged as a differentiating factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Place and Health Equity)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Rurality and Disadvantage on the Diagnostic Interval for Breast Cancer in a Large Population-Based Study of 3202 Women in Queensland, Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1156; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111156
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 11 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 19 November 2016
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Abstract
Delays in diagnosing breast cancer (BC) can lead to poorer outcomes. We investigated factors related to the diagnostic interval in a population-based cohort of 3202 women diagnosed with BC in Queensland, Australia. Interviews ascertained method of detection and dates of medical/procedural appointments, and
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Delays in diagnosing breast cancer (BC) can lead to poorer outcomes. We investigated factors related to the diagnostic interval in a population-based cohort of 3202 women diagnosed with BC in Queensland, Australia. Interviews ascertained method of detection and dates of medical/procedural appointments, and clinical information was obtained from medical records. Time intervals were calculated from self-recognition of symptoms (symptom-detected) or mammogram (screen-detected) to diagnosis (diagnostic interval (DI)). The cohort included 1560 women with symptom-detected and 1642 with screen-detected BC. Symptom-detected women had higher odds of DI of >60 days if they were Indigenous (OR = 3.12, 95% CI = 1.40, 6.98); lived in outer regional (OR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.09, 2.06) or remote locations (OR = 2.46, 95% CI = 1.39, 4.38); or presented with a “non-lump” symptom (OR = 1.84, 95% CI = 1.43, 2.36). For screen-detected BC, women who were Indigenous (OR = 2.36, 95% CI = 1.03, 5.80); lived in remote locations (OR = 2.35, 95% CI = 1.24, 4.44); or disadvantaged areas (OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.17, 2.43) and attended a public screening facility (OR = 2.10, 95% CI = 1.40, 3.17) had higher odds of DI > 30 days. Our study indicates a disadvantage in terms of DI for rural, disadvantaged and Indigenous women. Difficulties in accessing primary care and diagnostic services are evident. There is a need to identify and implement an efficient and effective model of care to minimize avoidable longer diagnostic intervals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Variation in Breast Cancer Outcomes)
Open AccessArticle Crash Risk Prediction Modeling Based on the Traffic Conflict Technique and a Microscopic Simulation for Freeway Interchange Merging Areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1157; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111157
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 19 November 2016
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Abstract
This paper evaluates the traffic safety of freeway interchange merging areas based on the traffic conflict technique. The hourly composite risk indexes (HCRI) was defined. By the use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography and video processing techniques, the conflict type and severity
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This paper evaluates the traffic safety of freeway interchange merging areas based on the traffic conflict technique. The hourly composite risk indexes (HCRI) was defined. By the use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography and video processing techniques, the conflict type and severity was judged. Time to collision (TTC) was determined with the traffic conflict evaluation index. Then, the TTC severity threshold was determined. Quantizing the weight of the conflict by direct losses of different severities of freeway traffic accidents, the calculated weight of the HCRI can be obtained. Calibration of the relevant parameters of the micro-simulation simulator VISSIM is conducted by the travel time according to the field data. Variables are placed into orthogonal tables at different levels. On the basis of this table, the trajectory file of every traffic condition is simulated, and then submitted into a surrogate safety assessment model (SSAM), identifying the number of hourly traffic conflicts in the merging area, a statistic of HCRI. Moreover, the multivariate linear regression model was presented and validated to study the relationship between HCRI and the influencing variables. A comparison between the HCRI model and the hourly conflicts ratio (HCR), without weight, shows that the HCRI model fitting degree was obviously higher than the HCR. This will be a reference to design and implement operational planners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic Safety and Injury Prevention)
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Open AccessArticle Auditing the Immunization Data Quality from Routine Reports in Shangyu District, East China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1158; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111158
Received: 3 September 2016 / Revised: 10 November 2016 / Accepted: 17 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
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Abstract
Objective: To evaluate the immunization data quality in Shangyu District, East China. Methods: An audit for immunization data for the year 2014 was conducted in 20 vaccination clinics of Shangyu District. The consistency of immunization data was estimated by verification factors (VFs), which
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Objective: To evaluate the immunization data quality in Shangyu District, East China. Methods: An audit for immunization data for the year 2014 was conducted in 20 vaccination clinics of Shangyu District. The consistency of immunization data was estimated by verification factors (VFs), which was the proportion of vaccine doses reported as being administered that could be verified by written documentation at vaccination clinics. The quality of monitoring systems was evaluated using the quality index (QI). Results: The VFs of 20 vaccine doses ranged from 0.94 to 1.04 at the district level. The VFs for the 20 vaccination clinics ranged from 0.57 to 1.07. The VFs for Shangyu District was 0.98. The mean of total QI score of the 20 vaccination clinics was 80.32%. A significant correlation between the VFs of the 3rd dose of the diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis combined vaccine (DTP) and QI scores was observed at the vaccination clinic level. Conclusions: Deficiencies in data consistency and immunization reporting practice in Shangyu District were observed. Targeted measures are suggested to improve the quality of the immunization reporting system in vaccination clinics with poor data consistency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Drivers’ Visual Search Patterns during Overtaking Maneuvers on Freeway
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1159; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111159
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 19 November 2016
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Abstract
Drivers gather traffic information primarily by means of their vision. Especially during complicated maneuvers, such as overtaking, they need to perceive a variety of characteristics including the lateral and longitudinal distances with other vehicles, the speed of others vehicles, lane occupancy, and so
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Drivers gather traffic information primarily by means of their vision. Especially during complicated maneuvers, such as overtaking, they need to perceive a variety of characteristics including the lateral and longitudinal distances with other vehicles, the speed of others vehicles, lane occupancy, and so on, to avoid crashes. The primary object of this study is to examine the appropriate visual search patterns during overtaking maneuvers on freeways. We designed a series of driving simulating experiments in which the type and speed of the leading vehicle were considered as two influential factors. One hundred and forty participants took part in the study. The participants overtook the leading vehicles just like they would usually do so, and their eye movements were collected by use of the Eye Tracker. The results show that participants’ gaze durations and saccade durations followed normal distribution patterns and that saccade angles followed a log-normal distribution pattern. It was observed that the type of leading vehicle significantly impacted the drivers’ gaze duration and gaze frequency. As the speed of a leading vehicle increased, subjects’ saccade durations became longer and saccade angles became larger. In addition, the initial and destination lanes were found to be key areas with the highest visual allocating proportion, accounting for more than 65% of total visual allocation. Subjects tended to more frequently shift their viewpoints between the initial lane and destination lane in order to search for crucial traffic information. However, they seldom directly shifted their viewpoints between the two wing mirrors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic Safety and Injury Prevention)
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Open AccessArticle Complementary Feeding Strategies to Facilitate Acceptance of Fruits and Vegetables: A Narrative Review of the Literature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1160; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111160
Received: 20 October 2016 / Revised: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 19 November 2016
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Abstract
Complementary feeding (CF), which should begin after exclusive breastfeeding for six months, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), or after four months and before six months according to the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), is a period when
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Complementary feeding (CF), which should begin after exclusive breastfeeding for six months, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), or after four months and before six months according to the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), is a period when the infant implicitly learns what, when, how, and how much to eat. At the onset of CF, the brain and the gut are still developing and maturing, and food experiences contribute to shaping brain connections involved in food hedonics and in the control of food intake. These learning processes are likely to have a long-term impact. Children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables (FV) is below recommendations in many countries. Thus, it is crucial to establish preferences for FV early, when infants are learning to eat. The development of food preferences mainly starts when infants discover their first solid foods. This narrative review summarizes the factors that influence FV acceptance at the start of the CF period: previous milk feeding experience; timing of onset of CF; repeated exposures to the food; variety of foods offered as of the start of the CF period; quality and sensory properties of the complementary foods; quality of the meal time context; and parental responsive feeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Prevent Obesity in the First 1000 Days)
Open AccessArticle Overt Primary Hypothyroidism in an Industrial Area in São Paulo, Brazil: The Impact of Public Disclosure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1161; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111161
Received: 13 September 2016 / Revised: 11 November 2016 / Accepted: 17 November 2016 / Published: 22 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: Primary hypothyroidism (PH) is the most common thyroid pathology. Purpose: to evaluate the impact of public disclosure of an unexpected number of PH cases on the frequency of patients seeking medical evaluation for endocrinological diseases. Methods: data on 6306
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Background: Primary hypothyroidism (PH) is the most common thyroid pathology. Purpose: to evaluate the impact of public disclosure of an unexpected number of PH cases on the frequency of patients seeking medical evaluation for endocrinological diseases. Methods: data on 6306 subjects (3356 living in the surroundings of a petrochemical complex and 2950 in a control region) were collected over a 15-year time span. Thyroid function was determined by serum levels of triiodothyronine, thyroxine, free thyroxine and thyrotrophin. Antithyroglobulin and antithyroperoxidase antibodies and sonographic scans of the thyroid were performed in all patients. The data were analyzed via log-linear models to compute odds and odds ratios. Results: An increasing trend in the odds of PH was detected along the observation period with greater slope in the study region than in the control region. The odds of PH in the post-disclosure period (2002 to 2004) are greater than the corresponding ones in the pre-disclosure period (1989 to 2001). Conclusions: This study shows that living in the surroundings of a petrochemical complex may be an important risk factor for PH for both adults and children. Furthermore, public disclosure of such risk factor contributes to the awareness of the problem and to the possibility of an early diagnosis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Geographical and Temporal Variations in Female Breast Cancer Mortality in the Municipalities of Andalusia (Southern Spain)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1162; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111162
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 6 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 22 November 2016
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Abstract
The last published figures have shown geographical variations in mortality with respect to female breast cancer in European countries. However, national health policies need a dynamic image of the geographical variations within the country. The aim of this paper was to describe the
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The last published figures have shown geographical variations in mortality with respect to female breast cancer in European countries. However, national health policies need a dynamic image of the geographical variations within the country. The aim of this paper was to describe the spatial distribution of age-specific mortality rates from female breast cancer in the municipalities of Andalusia (southern Spain) and to analyze its evolution over time from 1981 to 2012. An ecological study was devised. Two spatio-temporal hierarchical Bayesian models were estimated. One of these was used to estimate the age-specific mortality rate for each municipality, together with its time trends, and the other was used to estimate the age-specific rate ratio compared with Spain as a whole. The results showed that 98% of the municipalities exhibited a decreasing or a flat mortality trend for all the age groups. In 2012, the geographical variability of the age-specific mortality rates was small, especially for population groups below 65. In addition, more than 96.6% of the municipalities showed an age-specific mortality rate similar to the corresponding rate for Spain, and there were no identified significant clusters. This information will contribute towards a reflection on the past, present and future of breast cancer outcomes in Andalusia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Variation in Breast Cancer Outcomes)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Scale, Question Location, Order of Response Alternatives, and Season on Self-Reported Noise Annoyance Using ICBEN Scales: A Field Experiment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1163; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111163
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
The type of noise annoyance scale and aspects of its presentation such as response format or location within a questionnaire and other contextual factors may affect self-reported noise annoyance. By means of a balanced experimental design, the effect of type of annoyance question
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The type of noise annoyance scale and aspects of its presentation such as response format or location within a questionnaire and other contextual factors may affect self-reported noise annoyance. By means of a balanced experimental design, the effect of type of annoyance question and corresponding scale (5-point verbal vs. 11-point numerical ICBEN (International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise) scale), presentation order of scale points (ascending vs. descending), question location (early vs. late within the questionnaire), and survey season (autumn vs. spring) on reported road traffic noise annoyance was investigated in a postal survey with a stratified random sample of 2386 Swiss residents. Our results showed that early appearance of annoyance questions was significantly associated with higher annoyance scores. Questionnaires filled out in autumn were associated with a significantly higher annoyance rating than in the springtime. No effect was found for the order of response alternatives. Standardized average annoyance scores were slightly higher using the 11-point numerical scale whereas the percentage of highly annoyed respondents was higher based on the 5-point scale, using common cutoff points. In conclusion, placement and presentation of annoyance questions within a questionnaire, as well as the time of the year a survey is carried out, have small but demonstrable effects on the degree of self-reported noise annoyance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sociocultural Determinants of Risky Sexual Behaviors among Adult Latinas: A Longitudinal Study of a Community-Based Sample
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1164; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111164
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 11 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
Few studies have examined the sociocultural determinants of risky sexual behavior trajectories among adult Latinas. To longitudinally examine the link between sociocultural determinants of risky sexual behaviors, we followed a sample of adult Latina mother-daughter dyads (n = 267) across a 10-year
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Few studies have examined the sociocultural determinants of risky sexual behavior trajectories among adult Latinas. To longitudinally examine the link between sociocultural determinants of risky sexual behaviors, we followed a sample of adult Latina mother-daughter dyads (n = 267) across a 10-year span through four waves of data collection. The present study investigates how risky sexual behavior (operationalized as sex under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, sex without a condom, or multiple sex partners) is affected by: (a) socioeconomic conditions; (b) mental health; (c) medical health; (d) acculturation to U.S. culture; (e) interpersonal support; (f) relationship stress; (g) mother-daughter attachment; (h) intimate partner violence; (i) religious involvement; and (j) criminal justice involvement. Results indicate the following factors are negatively associated with risky sexual behavior: drug and alcohol use, treating a physical problem with prescription drugs, religious involvement, and mother–daughter attachment. The following factors are positively associated with risky sexual behavior: higher number of mental health symptoms, being U.S.-born, and criminal justice involvement. We discuss implications for the future development of culturally relevant interventions based on the study findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Determinants of HIV, Substance Abuse and Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Is Green Exercise for All? A Descriptive Study of Green Exercise Habits and Promoting Factors in Adult Norwegians
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1165; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111165
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 5 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
Background: Physical activity (PA) in natural environments, known as green exercise (GE), can provide health benefits above and beyond PA in other environments, but little is known about the extent to which GE is an accessible form of weekly PA across different social
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Background: Physical activity (PA) in natural environments, known as green exercise (GE), can provide health benefits above and beyond PA in other environments, but little is known about the extent to which GE is an accessible form of weekly PA across different social groups. This study aims to examine the “GE phenomenon” in Norway, and evaluate possible differences in GE habits and perceived factors that promote GE across sub-groups of this population. Methods: 2168 adults from all over Norway reported weekly GE and other forms of PA, specific forms of GE, and perceived factors that promote GE. Data were examined in the overall sample and in relation with the respondents’ PA status and sociodemographic characteristics. Results: GE, especially “walking in the forest” and “activities by/on the sea”, was the most popular form of weekly PA, even among those with low PA levels. GE was fairly represented across all social groups, and especially among the elderly, those who live with spouse/partner and those who live in the west regions of Norway, while no associations were found in relation to sex, centrality, education level or household income. “Time flexibility” and “PA-supportive places” were generally perceived as the most important factors that promote GE across all social groups. “Accessibility to nature” was generally perceived relatively little important, though a gradient was observed in relation to age, education level and household income. Conclusions: GE is an important source of weekly PA and health among adult Norwegians, especially in sub-groups of interest for public health such as the elderly, those with lower socio-economic status and those who live in non-urban areas. More should be done to understand and address the inequities relative to the perceived accessibility to nature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Views and Preferences for Nicotine Products as an Alternative to Smoking: A Focus Group Study of People Living with Mental Disorders
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1166; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111166
Received: 17 October 2016 / Revised: 12 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
Aims and Background: People living with mental disorders experience a disproportionately higher burden of tobacco-related disease than the general population. Long-term substitution with less harmful nicotine products could reduce the tobacco-related harm among this population. This study investigated the views and preferences
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Aims and Background: People living with mental disorders experience a disproportionately higher burden of tobacco-related disease than the general population. Long-term substitution with less harmful nicotine products could reduce the tobacco-related harm among this population. This study investigated the views and preferences of people with mental health disorders about different nicotine products and their use as long-term substitutes for cigarettes. Methods: Semi-structured focus group discussion followed by a brief questionnaire. The discussion transcripts were analysed for content and themes and quantitative data summarised with descriptive statistics. Results: Twenty-nine participants took part in four focus groups. Vaping devices were the most acceptable nicotine products discussed; however preferences for nicotine products were individual and varied along aesthetic, pragmatic, sensory and symbolic dimensions. The concept of tobacco harm reduction was unfamiliar to participants, however they generally agreed with the logic of replacing cigarettes with less harmful nicotine products. Barriers to activating tobacco harm reduction included the symbolism of smoking and quitting; the importance placed on health; the consumer appeal of alternatives; and cost implications. Discussion and Conclusions: Engaging this population in tobacco harm reduction options will require communication that challenges black and white thinking (a conceptual framework in which smoking cigarettes or quitting all nicotine are the only legitimate options) as in practice this serves to support the continuance of smoking. Consumers should be encouraged to trial a range of nicotine products to find the most acceptable alternative to smoking that reduces health harms. Providing incentives to switch to nicotine products could help overcome barriers to using less harmful nicotine products among mental health consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
Open AccessArticle Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment of the Pingtung Plain in Southern Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1167; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111167
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 13 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
In the Pingtung Plain of southern Taiwan, elevated levels of NO3-N in groundwater have been reported. Therefore, efforts for assessing groundwater vulnerability are required as part of the critical steps to prevent and control groundwater pollution. This study makes a
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In the Pingtung Plain of southern Taiwan, elevated levels of NO3-N in groundwater have been reported. Therefore, efforts for assessing groundwater vulnerability are required as part of the critical steps to prevent and control groundwater pollution. This study makes a groundwater vulnerability assessment for the Pingtung Plain using an improved overlay and index-based DRASTIC model. The improvement of the DRASTIC model is achieved by reassigning the weighting coefficients of the factors in this model with the help of a discriminant analysis statistical method. The analytical results obtained from the improved DRASTIC model provide a reliable prediction for use in groundwater vulnerability assessment to nitrate pollution and can correctly identify the groundwater protection zones in the Pingtung Plain. Moreover, the results of the sensitivity analysis conducted for the seven parameters in the improved DRASTIC model demonstrate that the aquifer media (A) is the most sensitive factor when the nitrate-N concentration is below 2.5 mg/L. For the cases where the nitrate-N concentration is above 2.5 mg/L, the aquifer media (A) and net recharge (R) are the two most important factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environment Health)
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Open AccessArticle Prevalence and Parental Risk Factors for Speech Disability Associated with Cleft Palate in Chinese Children—A National Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1168; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111168
Received: 5 October 2016 / Revised: 11 November 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
Although the prevalence of oral clefts in China is among the highest worldwide, little is known about the prevalence of speech disability associated with cleft palate in Chinese children. The data for this study were collected from the Second China National Sample Survey
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Although the prevalence of oral clefts in China is among the highest worldwide, little is known about the prevalence of speech disability associated with cleft palate in Chinese children. The data for this study were collected from the Second China National Sample Survey on Disability, and identification of speech disability associated with cleft palate was based on consensus manuals. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A weighted number of 112,070 disabled children affected by cleft palate were identified, yielding a prevalence of 3.45 per 10,000 children (95% CI: 3.19–3.71). A history of speech disability in the mother (OR = 20.266, 95% CI 5.788–70.959, p < 0.0001), older paternal child-bearing age (OR = 1.061, 95% CI 1.017–1.108, p = 0.0065, per year increase in age), and lower parental education (maternal: OR = 3.424, 95% CI 1.082–10.837, p = 0.0363; paternal: OR = 2.923, 95% CI 1.245–6.866, p = 0.0138) were strongly associated with risk of speech disability associated with cleft palate in the offspring. Our results showed that maternal speech disability, older paternal child-bearing age, and lower levels of parental education were independent risk factors for speech disability associated with cleft palate for children in China. These findings may have important implications for health disparities and prevention. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation Research of the Effects of Longitudinal Speed Reduction Markings on Driving Behavior: A Driving Simulator Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1170; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111170
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 4 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
The objective of this paper is to explore the effects of longitudinal speed reduction markings (LSRMs) on vehicle maneuvering and drivers’ operation performance on interchange connectors with different radii. Empirical data were collected in a driving simulator. Indicators—relative speed change, standard deviation of
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The objective of this paper is to explore the effects of longitudinal speed reduction markings (LSRMs) on vehicle maneuvering and drivers’ operation performance on interchange connectors with different radii. Empirical data were collected in a driving simulator. Indicators—relative speed change, standard deviation of acceleration, and gas/brake pedal power—were proposed to characterize driving behavior. Statistical results revealed that LSRMs could reduce vehicles’ travel speed and limit drivers’ willingness to increase speed in the entire connector. To probe the impacts of LSRMs, the connecter was split into four even sections. Effects of LSRMs on driving behavior were stronger in the second and the final sections of connectors. LSRMs also enhanced drivers’ adaptability in the first three quarters of a connector when the radius was 50 m. Drivers’ gas pedal operation would be impacted by LSRMs in the entire connector when the radius was 50 m. LSRMs could only make drivers press brake pedal more frequently in the second section with 80 m and 100 m radius. In the second quarter section of a connector—from the FQP (the first quartile point) to the MC (the middle point of curve)—LSRMs have better effects on influencing vehicle maneuvering and drivers’ operation performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic Safety and Injury Prevention)
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Open AccessArticle An Investigation on the Effect of Extremely Low Frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Human Electrocardiograms (ECGs)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1171; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111171
Received: 28 June 2016 / Revised: 16 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
For this investigation, we studied the effects of extremely low frequency pulse electromagnetic fields (ELF-PEMF) on the human cardiac signal. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) of 22 healthy volunteers before and after a short duration of ELF-PEMF exposure were recorded. The experiment was conducted under single-blind
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For this investigation, we studied the effects of extremely low frequency pulse electromagnetic fields (ELF-PEMF) on the human cardiac signal. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) of 22 healthy volunteers before and after a short duration of ELF-PEMF exposure were recorded. The experiment was conducted under single-blind conditions. The root mean square (RMS) value of the recorded data was considered as comparison criteria. We also measured and analysed four important ECG time intervals before and after ELF-PEMF exposure. Results revealed that the RMS value of the ECG recordings from 18 participants (81.8% of the total participants) increased with a mean value of 3.72%. The increase in ECG voltage levels was then verified by a second experimental protocol with a control exposure. In addition to this, we used hyperbolic T-distributions (HTD) in the analysis of ECG signals to verify the change in the RR interval. It was found that there were small shifts in the frequency-domain signal before and after EMF exposure. This shift has an influence on all frequency components of the ECG signals, as all spectrums were shifted. It is shown from this investigation that a short time exposure to ELF-PEMF can affect the properties of ECG signals. Further study is needed to consolidate this finding and discover more on the biological effects of ELF-PEMF on human physiological processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Predictors of Urinary 3-Phenoxybenzoic Acid Levels in 50 North Carolina Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1172; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111172
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 18 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
Limited data are available on the non-chemical stressors that impact adult exposures to pyrethroid insecticides based on urinary biomonitoring. The urinary metabolite, 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA), is commonly used to assess human exposure to a number of pyrethroids. In a further analysis of published
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Limited data are available on the non-chemical stressors that impact adult exposures to pyrethroid insecticides based on urinary biomonitoring. The urinary metabolite, 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA), is commonly used to assess human exposure to a number of pyrethroids. In a further analysis of published study data, we quantified urinary 3-PBA levels of 50 adults over a single, 24-h sampling period and examined the associations between the biomarker measurements and selected non-chemical stressors (demographic, lifestyle, and dietary factors). A convenience sample of 50 adults was recruited in North Carolina in 2009–2011. Participants collected individual urine voids (up to 11) and filled out activity, food, and pesticide use diaries over a 24-h sampling period. Urine voids (n = 326) were analyzed for 3-PBA concentrations using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. 3-PBA was detected in 98% of the 24-h composited urine samples. The geometric mean urinary 3-PBA level was 1.68 ng/mL in adults. Time spent outside (p = 0.0006) was a highly significant predictor of natural log-transformed (ln) urinary 3-PBA levels, while consumption of coffee (p = 0.007) and breads (p = 0.019) and ln creatinine levels (p = 0.037) were significant predictors of urinary 3-PBA levels. In conclusion, we identified specific factors that substantially increased adult exposures to pyrethroids in their everyday environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Micro-Pollutants and Human Exposure)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Fetal Exposure to Asian Sand Dust on Development and Reproduction in Male Offspring
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1173; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111173
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
In recent experimental studies, we reported the aggravating effects of Asian sand dust (ASD) on male reproduction in mice. However, the effects of fetal ASD exposure on male reproduction have not been investigated. The present study investigated the effects of fetal ASD exposure
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In recent experimental studies, we reported the aggravating effects of Asian sand dust (ASD) on male reproduction in mice. However, the effects of fetal ASD exposure on male reproduction have not been investigated. The present study investigated the effects of fetal ASD exposure on reproduction in male offspring. Using pregnant CD-1 mice, ASD was administered intratracheally on days 7 and 14 of gestation, and the reproduction of male offspring was determined at 5, 10, and 15 weeks after birth. The secondary sex ratio was significantly lower in the fetal ASD-exposed mice than in the controls. Histologic examination showed partial vacuolation of seminiferous tubules in immature mice. Moreover, daily sperm production (DSP) was significantly less in the fetal ASD-exposed mice than in the controls. DSP in the fetal ASD-exposed mice was approximately 10% less than the controls at both 5 and 10 weeks. However, both the histologic changes and the DSP decrease were reversed as the mice matured. These findings suggest that ASD exposure affects both the fetal development and the reproduction of male offspring. In the future, it will be necessary to clarify the onset mechanisms of ASD-induced male fetus death and male reproductive disorders. Full article
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Open AccessReview Heavy Metal Pollution from Gold Mines: Environmental Effects and Bacterial Strategies for Resistance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1047; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111047
Received: 16 May 2016 / Revised: 12 October 2016 / Accepted: 14 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
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Abstract
Mining activities can lead to the generation of large quantities of heavy metal laden wastes which are released in an uncontrolled manner, causing widespread contamination of the ecosystem. Though some heavy metals classified as essential are important for normal life physiological processes, higher
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Mining activities can lead to the generation of large quantities of heavy metal laden wastes which are released in an uncontrolled manner, causing widespread contamination of the ecosystem. Though some heavy metals classified as essential are important for normal life physiological processes, higher concentrations above stipulated levels have deleterious effects on human health and biota. Bacteria able to withstand high concentrations of these heavy metals are found in the environment as a result of various inherent biochemical, physiological, and/or genetic mechanisms. These mechanisms can serve as potential tools for bioremediation of heavy metal polluted sites. This review focuses on the effects of heavy metal wastes generated from gold mining activities on the environment and the various mechanisms used by bacteria to counteract the effect of these heavy metals in their immediate environment. Full article
Open AccessReview Water-Related Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture and Subsequently on Public Health: A Review for Generalists with Particular Reference to Pakistan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1051; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111051
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 22 August 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 27 October 2016
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Abstract
Water-related impacts due to change in climatic conditions ranging from water scarcity to intense floods and storms are increasing in developing countries like Pakistan. Water quality and waterborne diseases like hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, malaria and dengue fever are increasing due to chaotic urbanization,
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Water-related impacts due to change in climatic conditions ranging from water scarcity to intense floods and storms are increasing in developing countries like Pakistan. Water quality and waterborne diseases like hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, malaria and dengue fever are increasing due to chaotic urbanization, industrialization, poor hygienic conditions, and inappropriate water management. The morbidity rate is high due to lack of health care facilities, especially in developing countries. Organizations linked to the Government of Pakistan (e.g., Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Climate Change, Planning and Development, Ministry of Forest, Irrigation and Public Health, Pakistan Meteorological Department, National Disaster Management, Pakistan Agricultural Research Centre, Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources, and Global Change Impact Study Centre), United Nation organizations, provincial government departments, non-governmental organizations (e.g., Global Facility and Disaster Reduction), research centers linked to universities, and international organizations (International Institute for Sustainable Development, Food and Agriculture, Global Climate Fund and World Bank) are trying to reduce the water-related impacts of climate change, but due to lack of public awareness and health care infrastructure, the death rate is steadily increasing. This paper critically reviews the scientific studies and reports both at national and at international level benefiting generalists concerned with environmental and public health challenges. The article underlines the urgent need for water conservation, risk management, and the development of mitigation measures to cope with the water-related impacts of climate change on agriculture and subsequently on public health. Novel solutions and bioremediation methods have been presented to control environmental pollution and to promote awareness among the scientific community. The focus is on diverse strategies to handle the forthcoming challenges associated with water resources management. Full article
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Open AccessReview Pediatric Exposures to Ionizing Radiation: Carcinogenic Considerations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1057; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111057
Received: 29 June 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
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Abstract
Children are at a greater risk than adults of developing cancer after being exposed to ionizing radiation. Because of their developing bodies and long life expectancy post-exposure, children require specific attention in the aftermath of nuclear accidents and when radiation is used for
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Children are at a greater risk than adults of developing cancer after being exposed to ionizing radiation. Because of their developing bodies and long life expectancy post-exposure, children require specific attention in the aftermath of nuclear accidents and when radiation is used for diagnosis or treatment purposes. In this review, we discuss the carcinogenic potential of pediatric exposures to ionizing radiation from accidental, diagnostic, and therapeutic modalities. Particular emphasis is given to leukemia and thyroid cancers as consequences of accidental exposures. We further discuss the evidence of cancers that arise as a result of radiotherapy and conclude the review with a summary on the available literature on the links between computer tomography (CT) and carcinogenesis. Appropriate actions taken to mitigate or minimize the negative health effects of pediatric exposures to ionizing radiation and future considerations are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)