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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2009)

Special Issue Editor

Editor-in-Chief
Prof. Dr. Paul B. Tchounwou (Website)

Molecular Toxicology Research Laboratory, Jackson State University, 1400 Lynch Street, Box 18750, Jackson, MI 39217, USA
Fax: +1 601 979 2349

Keywords

  • public health

Published Papers (44 papers)

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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Airborne Betula Pollen in Finland; a 31-Year Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1706-1723; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061706
Received: 31 March 2009 / Accepted: 20 May 2009 / Published: 26 May 2009
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (359 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this 31-year retrospective study, we examined the influence of meteorology on airborne Betula spp. (birch) pollen concentrations in Turku, Finland. The seasonal incidence of airborne birch pollen in Turku occurred over a brief period each year during spring (April 30 – [...] Read more.
In this 31-year retrospective study, we examined the influence of meteorology on airborne Betula spp. (birch) pollen concentrations in Turku, Finland. The seasonal incidence of airborne birch pollen in Turku occurred over a brief period each year during spring (April 30 – May 31). Mean peak concentrations were restricted to May (May 5 to 13). Statistically significant increases in the annual accumulated birch pollen sum and daily maximum values were observed over the study period. Birch pollen counts collected in April were retrospectively shown to increase over the duration of the study. Increases in April temperature values were also significantly associated with the earlier onset of the birch pollen season. Furthermore, the number of days where daily birch pollen concentrations exceeded 10 and 1,000 grains/m3 also increased throughout the study period. These data demonstrate that increases in temperature, especially during months preceding the onset of the birch pollen season, favor preseason phenological development and pollen dispersal. Birch pollen derived from other geographical locations may also contribute to the aerospora of Turku, Finland. To date, the public health burden associated with personal exposure to elevated birch pollen loads remains unclear and is the focus of future epidemiological research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Development of the Jackson Heart Study Coordinating Center
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(5), 1597-1608; doi:10.3390/ijerph6051597
Received: 24 February 2009 / Accepted: 27 April 2009 / Published: 6 May 2009
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (120 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The public health burden caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to adversely affect individuals in terms of cost, life expectancy, medical, pharmaceutical and hospital care. This burden has been excessive in the case of African Americans. The objective of this paper is [...] Read more.
The public health burden caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to adversely affect individuals in terms of cost, life expectancy, medical, pharmaceutical and hospital care. This burden has been excessive in the case of African Americans. The objective of this paper is to chronicle the procedures and processes that were implemented in the development of the Jackson Heart Study Coordinating Center. The Jackson Heart Study (JHS) is a population-based investigation of traditional and emerging risk factors that predict progression to CVD among African Americans. In response to the struggle against CVD, the Jackson Heart Study has convened a professional, technical, and administrative staff with specific competence in the operation of a coordinating center to handle the wide variety of areas related to CVD studies. The Jackson Heart Study Coordinating Center (JHSCC) was created to assure validity of the JHS findings and provide the resources necessary to meet comprehensive statistical needs (planning, implementing and monitoring data analysis); data management (designing, implementing and managing data collection and quality control), and administrative support. The JHSCC began with a commitment to support study functions in order to increase participant recruitment, retention and safety, meet regulatory requirements, prepare progress reports, and facilitate effective communication with the community and between all JHS centers. The JHSCC facilitates the efforts of the JHS scientists through the development and implementation of the study protocol. The efforts of the JHSCC have resulted in the successful preparation of scientific reports and manuscripts for publication and presentation of study findings and results. In summary, the JHSCC has emerged as an effective research mechanism that serves as the driving force behind the Jackson Heart Study activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Barriers to Exercise in Younger and Older Non-Exercising Adult Women: A Cross Sectional Study in London, United Kingdom
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(4), 1443-1455; doi:10.3390/ijerph6041443
Received: 1 February 2009 / Accepted: 2 April 2009 / Published: 15 April 2009
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (69 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A survey of 100 women in the south of London, United Kingdom (UK) compared exercise barrier intensities between non-exercising younger (20-27 years) and older (28-35 years) adult women; and examined childcare duties as perceived barriers to exercise. Perceived barriers to exercise were [...] Read more.
A survey of 100 women in the south of London, United Kingdom (UK) compared exercise barrier intensities between non-exercising younger (20-27 years) and older (28-35 years) adult women; and examined childcare duties as perceived barriers to exercise. Perceived barriers to exercise were examined using an Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale (EBBS) comprising four subscales (exercise milieu; time expenditure; physical exertion; family discouragement). Participants’ number of children was also noted. Non-exercising older women reported significantly higher total exercise barriers, as well as across three barrier subscales: exercise milieu, time expenditure, and family discouragement. For both age groups, significant correlation existed between number of children and women’s total exercise barrier scores. Number of children explained »25% and »30% of the variance of younger and older women’s total barrier scores respectively. For both women groups, the strongest correlation between exercise barrier and number of children was for the time expenditure subscale. Broad grouping of 20-35 year old non-exercising women does not reflect a homogenous sample. Age categories employing narrower age brackets are recommended. Issues surrounding family responsibilities e.g. childcare duties may be shared between these groups and require further research and policy attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Dietary Patterns Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease: Population Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(4), 1335-1340; doi:10.3390/ijerph6041335
Received: 5 March 2009 / Accepted: 23 March 2009 / Published: 1 April 2009
Cited by 28 | PDF Full-text (128 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently dietary pattern analysis has emerged as a way for examining diet-disease relations in Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast with the conventional approach, which focuses on a single nutrient or a few nutrients or foods, this method considers overall eating patterns. We examined [...] Read more.
Recently dietary pattern analysis has emerged as a way for examining diet-disease relations in Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast with the conventional approach, which focuses on a single nutrient or a few nutrients or foods, this method considers overall eating patterns. We examined the dietary patterns defined by factor analysis using data collected with a food-frequency questionnaire in people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as compared to healthy controls. The diet data were obtained during population based study of the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in a population in Poland. Stratified sampling and random selection strategies were combined to obtain a representative population for screening (age group > 55). From the population screened three times, 71 people were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s according to DSM-IV, and were recruited for further diet risk factors assessment. A group of people with Alzheimer disease (n = 71; F/M 42/29) and the same number of healthy, age and gender matched control were recruited for the study. Patients and their caregivers as well as controls were presented with a food frequency questionnaire based on the 12 food groups. Factor analysis (principal component) was used to derive food patterns. The analysis was conducted using the factor procedure. The factors were rotated by an orthogonal transformation (Varimax rotation) to achieve simpler structure with greater interpretability. Using factor analysis, we identified major eating patterns, one for Alzheimer’s patients and a different one for control group. The AD dietary pattern, FACTOR AD was characterized by a high intake of meat, butter, high-fat dairy products, eggs, and refined sugar, whereas the other pattern, (FACTOR C) was characterized by a high intake of grains and vegetables. These data indicate the existence of dietary patterns defined by factor analysis with data from a food frequency questionnaire, characteristic for Alzheimer’s disease in a Polish population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Parents’ and Teachers’ Opinions about the School Food Policy in Belgian Flemish Nursery Schools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 1268-1281; doi:10.3390/ijerph6031268
Received: 24 February 2009 / Accepted: 19 March 2009 / Published: 24 March 2009
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The partnership of parents, teachers, and schools is necessary to develop effective school food interventions. To gather parents’ and teachers’ opinions and perceptions about the school food policy, 884 parents and 70 teachers of preschoolers completed a questionnaire. School food policy is [...] Read more.
The partnership of parents, teachers, and schools is necessary to develop effective school food interventions. To gather parents’ and teachers’ opinions and perceptions about the school food policy, 884 parents and 70 teachers of preschoolers completed a questionnaire. School food policy is an issue of importance for parents and teachers: the majority agrees that schools should restrict the availability of snacks and soft drinks; however, to replace fruit juice and sugared milk drinks with sugarless alternatives will take special effort. Fruit is not always available at school, although parents would appreciate it. Parents of lower educational level are in general more permissive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle How the Mid-Victorians Worked, Ate and Died
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 1235-1253; doi:10.3390/ijerph6031235
Received: 9 February 2009 / Accepted: 28 February 2009 / Published: 20 March 2009
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (138 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Analysis of the mid-Victorian period in the U.K. reveals that life expectancy at age 5 was as good or better than exists today, and the incidence of degenerative disease was 10% of ours. Their levels of physical activity and hence calorific intakes [...] Read more.
Analysis of the mid-Victorian period in the U.K. reveals that life expectancy at age 5 was as good or better than exists today, and the incidence of degenerative disease was 10% of ours. Their levels of physical activity and hence calorific intakes were approximately twice ours. They had relatively little access to alcohol and tobacco; and due to their correspondingly high intake of fruits, whole grains, oily fish and vegetables, they consumed levels of micro- and phytonutrients at approximately ten times the levels considered normal today. This paper relates the nutritional status of the mid-Victorians to their freedom from degenerative disease; and extrapolates recommendations for the cost-effective improvement of public health today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Increased Mortality Associated with Well-Water Arsenic Exposure in Inner Mongolia, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 1107-1123; doi:10.3390/ijerph6031107
Received: 16 January 2009 / Accepted: 24 February 2009 / Published: 16 March 2009
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We conducted a retrospective mortality study in an Inner Mongolian village exposed to well water contaminated by arsenic since the 1980s. Deaths occurring between January 1, 1997 and December 1, 2004 were classified according to underlying cause and water samples from household [...] Read more.
We conducted a retrospective mortality study in an Inner Mongolian village exposed to well water contaminated by arsenic since the 1980s. Deaths occurring between January 1, 1997 and December 1, 2004 were classified according to underlying cause and water samples from household wells were tested for total arsenic. Heart disease mortality was associated with arsenic exposure, and the association strengthened with time exposed to the water source. Cancer mortality and all-cause mortality were associated with well-water arsenic exposure among those exposed 10-20 years. This is the first study to document increased arsenic-associated mortality in the Bayingnormen region of Inner Mongolia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Adverse Effects of a Clinically Relevant Dose of Hydroxyurea Used for the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease on Male Fertility Endpoints
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 1124-1144; doi:10.3390/ijerph6031124
Received: 16 January 2009 / Accepted: 10 March 2009 / Published: 16 March 2009
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (280 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Two experiments were conducted to determine: 1) whether the adult male transgenic sickle cell mouse (Tg58 × Tg98; TSCM), exhibits the patterns of reproductive endpoints (hypogonadism) characteristic of men with sickle cell disease (SCD) and 2) whether hydroxyurea (HU) exacerbates this condition. [...] Read more.
Two experiments were conducted to determine: 1) whether the adult male transgenic sickle cell mouse (Tg58 × Tg98; TSCM), exhibits the patterns of reproductive endpoints (hypogonadism) characteristic of men with sickle cell disease (SCD) and 2) whether hydroxyurea (HU) exacerbates this condition. In Experiment 1, blood samples were collected from adult age-matched TSCM and ICR mice (ICRM) (N = 10/group) for plasma testosterone measurements. Subsequently, mice were sacrificed, testes excised and weighed and stored spermatozoa recovered for the determination of sperm density, progressive motility and percentage of spermatozoa with normal morphology. In experiment 2, adult male TSCM were orally treated with 25 mg HU/kg body weight/day for 28 or 56 days. Control mice received the vehicle for HU (saline) as described above. At the end of the treatment periods, blood samples were collected for quantification of circulating testosterone. Subsequently, mice were sacrificed, testes and epididymides were recovered and weighed and one testis per mouse was subjected to histopathology. Stored spermatozoa were recovered for the determination of indices of sperm quality mentioned in Experiment 1. Testis weight, stored sperm density, progressive motility, percentage of spermatozoa with normal morphology and plasma testosterone concentrations of TSCM were significantly lower by 40, 65, 40, 69 and 66%, respectively than those of ICRM. These data indicate that adult TSCM used in this study suffered from hypogonadism, characteristically observed among adult male SCD patients. In Experiment 2, HU treatment significantly decreased testis weight on day 28, (0.09 ± 0.004g) that was further decreased on day 56 (0.06 ± 0.003g; treatment x time interaction) compared with controls (day 28, 0.15 ± 0.01g; day 56, 2, 0.16 ± 0.01g). Concomitant with a 52% shrinkage (P Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Waste Tire Resources Recovery Program and Environmental Health Policy in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 1075-1094; doi:10.3390/ijerph6031075
Received: 5 January 2009 / Accepted: 7 March 2009 / Published: 12 March 2009
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the effectiveness of Taiwanese environmental health policies, whose aim is to improve environmental quality by reducing tire waste via the Tire Resource Recovery Program. The results confirm that implemented environmental health policies improve the overall health of the population [...] Read more.
This paper examines the effectiveness of Taiwanese environmental health policies, whose aim is to improve environmental quality by reducing tire waste via the Tire Resource Recovery Program. The results confirm that implemented environmental health policies improve the overall health of the population (i.e. a decrease in death caused by bronchitis and other respiratory diseases). Current policy expenditures are far below the optimal level, as it is estimated that a ten percent increase in the subsidy would decrease the number of deaths caused by bronchitis and other respiratory diseases by 0.58% per county/city per year on average. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Psychoactive Medication and Traffic Safety
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 1041-1054; doi:10.3390/ijerph6031041
Received: 1 February 2009 / Accepted: 2 March 2009 / Published: 10 March 2009
Cited by 37 | PDF Full-text (444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Driving a car is important to maintain independence and participate in society. Many of those who use psychoactive medication are outpatients and are thus likely to drive a vehicle. Most common adverse effects that impair driving are reduced alertness, affected psychomotor functioning [...] Read more.
Driving a car is important to maintain independence and participate in society. Many of those who use psychoactive medication are outpatients and are thus likely to drive a vehicle. Most common adverse effects that impair driving are reduced alertness, affected psychomotor functioning and impaired vision. This review discusses the effects on driving ability of most commonly prescribed psychoactive drugs, including hypnotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, analgesics and stimulant drugs. Within these categories of medicines significant differences concerning their impact on driving ability are evident. The International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS) categorization can help physicians to make a choice between treatments when patients want to drive a car. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Well Water Arsenic Exposure, Arsenic Induced Skin-Lesions and Self-Reported Morbidity in Inner Mongolia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 1010-1025; doi:10.3390/ijerph6031010
Received: 19 January 2009 / Accepted: 26 February 2009 / Published: 9 March 2009
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (179 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Residents of the Bayingnormen region of Inner Mongolia have been exposed to arsenic-contaminated well water for over 20 years, but relatively few studies have investigated health effects in this region. We surveyed one village to document exposure to arsenic and assess the [...] Read more.
Residents of the Bayingnormen region of Inner Mongolia have been exposed to arsenic-contaminated well water for over 20 years, but relatively few studies have investigated health effects in this region. We surveyed one village to document exposure to arsenic and assess the prevalence of arsenic-associated skin lesions and self-reported morbidity. Five-percent (632) of the 12,334 residents surveyed had skin lesions characteristics of arsenic exposure. Skin lesions were strongly associated with well water arsenic and there was an elevated prevalence among residents with water arsenic exposures as low as 5 μg/L-10 μg/L. The presence of skin lesions was also associated with self-reported cardiovascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Association between a Polymorphism of Aminolevulinate Dehydrogenase (ALAD) Gene and Blood Lead Levels in Japanese Subjects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 999-1009; doi:10.3390/ijerph6030999
Received: 4 January 2009 / Accepted: 4 March 2009 / Published: 6 March 2009
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (193 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This cross-sectional study investigated the relationship between the aminolevulinate dehydrogenase (ALAD) genotype and blood lead levels among 101 Japanese workers. Blood lead concentration measurement, biomarkers, and genotyping were performed. The minor allele frequency (MAF) for ALAD (ALAD2) was 0.08. Although the blood [...] Read more.
This cross-sectional study investigated the relationship between the aminolevulinate dehydrogenase (ALAD) genotype and blood lead levels among 101 Japanese workers. Blood lead concentration measurement, biomarkers, and genotyping were performed. The minor allele frequency (MAF) for ALAD (ALAD2) was 0.08. Although the blood lead level in the subjects with heterozygous GC genotype was significantly higher than those with homozygous GG genotype, there were no significant differences for hemoglobin, hematocrit, serum and urinary ALA levels among genotypes. ALAD2 genotype was significantly associated with the blood lead concentration, even in the environmental lead exposed subjects. Further confirmation with a large sample size is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Hospital Board Infrastructure and Functions: The Role of Governance in Financial Performance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 862-873; doi:10.3390/ijerph6030862
Received: 10 November 2008 / Accepted: 21 February 2009 / Published: 26 February 2009
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (355 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increased stake of boards in the leadership of the hospitals makes them play a significant role in the financial health of their institutions. Understanding of the correct approach to successfully fulfill this purpose is critical for preparing their organizations for positioning adequately [...] Read more.
Increased stake of boards in the leadership of the hospitals makes them play a significant role in the financial health of their institutions. Understanding of the correct approach to successfully fulfill this purpose is critical for preparing their organizations for positioning adequately in the health care market. Governmental agencies and public companies, including insurers, will be interested in the extent to which hospital boards have adopted the provisions of accounting reform laws like those introduced by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It will remain for the boards to balance their oversight role for financial performance with the pressures of financial accountability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Sensorineural Hearing Loss Associated with Occupational Noise Exposure: Effects of Age-Corrections
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(3), 889-899; doi:10.3390/ijerph6030889
Received: 8 December 2008 / Accepted: 19 February 2009 / Published: 26 February 2009
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (310 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Noise-induced permanent threshold shifts (NIPTS) were computed from retrospective audiometric analyses by subtracting aging effects on hearing sensitivity in sixty-eight patients with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss who reported significant occupational noise exposure histories. There were significant effects of age on NIPTS but [...] Read more.
Noise-induced permanent threshold shifts (NIPTS) were computed from retrospective audiometric analyses by subtracting aging effects on hearing sensitivity in sixty-eight patients with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss who reported significant occupational noise exposure histories. There were significant effects of age on NIPTS but no significant gender- or ear- differences in terms of NIPTS. The NIPTS at 2,000 Hz was found to be significantly greater than NIPTS at frequencies 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, 4,000 Hz, and 8,000 Hz. Defined noise notches were seen in the audiograms of 38/136 (27%) ears with SNHL. Results support models that suggest interactive effects of aging and noise on sensorineural hearing loss in ears with occupational noise exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Effective Communication to Enhance Participation in Screening Mammography: A New Zealand Case
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 844-861; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020844
Received: 10 December 2008 / Accepted: 19 February 2009 / Published: 24 February 2009
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (366 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Changes in the organisation of health care have dominated policy initiatives over the past two decades in many countries. An increasing reliance on public health initiatives to prevent or detect disease early has resulted in an increase in programs that screen for [...] Read more.
Changes in the organisation of health care have dominated policy initiatives over the past two decades in many countries. An increasing reliance on public health initiatives to prevent or detect disease early has resulted in an increase in programs that screen for cancer in the community. In turn, this accentuates the need to persuasively communicate the value of such initiatives to encourage continued participation. Merely placing screening programs into a community setting is not sufficient to ensure that adequate numbers will voluntarily participate regularly to achieve anticipated cost and mortality savings in the population. In this research the influence of managing communication in a public screening mammography program was investigated. The results revealed that significant opportunities were overlooked for reassurance and information during the physical mammography process. In turn, this highlights the influence of constraints imposed by the structure of the screening program and the resources allocated to the process. This research suggests that it is important to address multiple influences, including ethnic differences, when asking questions about the effectiveness of public health policy, particularly when considering the choices women make about ongoing participation in breast screening programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Use of a Remote Car Starter in Relation to Smog and Climate Change Perceptions: A Population Survey in Québec (Canada)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 694-709; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020694
Received: 25 December 2008 / Accepted: 8 February 2009 / Published: 16 February 2009
PDF Full-text (431 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Remote car starters encourage motorists to warm up their vehicles by idling the motor – thus increasing atmospheric pollutants, including several greenhouse gas (GHG) with impacts on public health. This study about climate change (CC) adaptation and mitigation actions examined perceptions on [...] Read more.
Remote car starters encourage motorists to warm up their vehicles by idling the motor – thus increasing atmospheric pollutants, including several greenhouse gas (GHG) with impacts on public health. This study about climate change (CC) adaptation and mitigation actions examined perceptions on air pollution and climate change and individual characteristics associated with the use of a remote car starter. A telephone survey (n = 2,570; response rate: 70%) of adults living in Québec (Canada) measured the respondents’ beliefs and current behaviours regarding CC. Approximately 32.9% (daily car users) and 27.4% (occasional users) reported using a remote car starter during winter. The odds of the use of a remote car starter was higher in the less densely populated central (OR: 1.5) and peripheral regions (OR: 2.7) compared to the urban centers (ex. Montreal). The odds was also higher in population with a mother tongue other than English or French (OR: 2.6) and francophones than anglophones (OR: 2.1), women than men (OR: 1.5), daily drivers than occasional ones (OR: 1.2), and respondents who at least sometimes consulted temperature/humidity reports than those who consulted them less often (OR: 1.5). In multivariate analysis, the perception of living in a region susceptible to winter smog, being aware of smog warnings, or the belief in the human contribution to CC did not significantly influence the use of a remote car starter. The use of remote car starters encourages idling which produces increased atmospheric pollution and GHG production and it should be more efficiently and vigorously managed by various activities. A five-minute daily reduction in idling is equivalent to reducing the total car emissions by 1.8%. This would constitute a “no-regrets” approach to CC as it can simultaneously reduce GHG, air pollution and their health impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Exposure to High Fluoride Drinking Water and Risk of Dental Fluorosis in Estonia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 710-721; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020710
Received: 31 December 2008 / Accepted: 12 February 2009 / Published: 16 February 2009
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (399 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to assess exposure to drinking water fluoride and evaluate the risk of dental fluorosis among the Estonian population. The study covered all 15 counties in Estonia and 93.7% of population that has access to public water [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to assess exposure to drinking water fluoride and evaluate the risk of dental fluorosis among the Estonian population. The study covered all 15 counties in Estonia and 93.7% of population that has access to public water supplies. In Estonia groundwater is the main source for public water supply systems in most towns and rural settlements. The content of natural fluoride in water ranges from 0.01 to 7.20 mg/L. The exposure to different fluoride levels was assessed by linking data from previous studies on drinking water quality with databases of the Health Protection Inspectorate on water suppliers and the number of water consumers in water supply systems. Exposure assessment showed that 4% of the study population had excessive exposure to fluoride, mainly in small public water supplies in western and central Estonia, where the Silurian-Ordovician aquifer system is the only source of drinking water. There is a strong correlation between natural fluoride levels and the prevalence of dental fluorosis. Risk of dental fluorosis was calculated to different fluoride exposure levels over 1.5 mg/L. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Small Area and Individual Level Predictors of Physical Activity in Urban Communities: A Multi-Level Study in Stoke on Trent, England
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 654-677; doi:10.3390/ijerph60200654
Received: 18 November 2008 / Accepted: 10 February 2009 / Published: 13 February 2009
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reducing population physical inactivity has been declared a global public health priority. We report a detailed multi-level analysis of small area indices and individual factors as correlates of physical activity in deprived urban areas. Multi-level regression analysis was used to investigate environmental [...] Read more.
Reducing population physical inactivity has been declared a global public health priority. We report a detailed multi-level analysis of small area indices and individual factors as correlates of physical activity in deprived urban areas. Multi-level regression analysis was used to investigate environmental and individual correlates of physical activity. Nine individual factors were retained in the overall model, two related to individual intentions or beliefs, three to access to shops, work or fast food outlets and two to weather; age and gender being the other two. Four area level indices related to: traffic, road casualties, criminal damage and access to green space were important in explaining variation in physical activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Parasite Zoonoses and Wildlife: Emerging Issues
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 678-693; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020678
Received: 4 January 2009 / Accepted: 10 February 2009 / Published: 13 February 2009
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (559 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The role of wildlife as important sources, reservoirs and amplifiers of emerging human and domestic livestock pathogens, in addition to well recognized zoonoses of public health significance, has gained considerable attention in recent years. However, there has been little attention given to [...] Read more.
The role of wildlife as important sources, reservoirs and amplifiers of emerging human and domestic livestock pathogens, in addition to well recognized zoonoses of public health significance, has gained considerable attention in recent years. However, there has been little attention given to the transmission and impacts of pathogens of human origin, particularly protozoan, helminth and arthropod parasites, on wildlife. Substantial advances in molecular technologies are greatly improving our ability to follow parasite flow among host species and populations and revealing valuable insights about the interactions between cycles of transmission. Here we present several case studies of parasite emergence, or risk of emergence, in wildlife, as a result of contact with humans or anthropogenic activities. For some of these parasites, there is growing evidence of the serious consequences of infection on wildlife survival, whereas for others, there is a paucity of information about their impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Potassium Dichromate Induced Cytotoxicity, Genotoxicity and Oxidative Stress in Human Liver Carcinoma (HepG2) Cells
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 643-653; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020643
Received: 11 November 2008 / Accepted: 10 February 2009 / Published: 12 February 2009
Cited by 31 | PDF Full-text (286 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chromium is a widespread industrial waste. The soluble hexavalent chromium Cr (VI) is an environmental contaminant widely recognized to act as a carcinogen, mutagen and teratogen towards humans and animals. The fate of chromium in the environment is dependent on its oxidation state. Hexavalent chromium primarily enters the cells and undergoes metabolic reduction to trivalent chromium, resulting in the formation of reactive oxygen species together with oxidative tissue damage and a cascade of cellular events. However, the results from in vitro studies are often conflicting. The aim of this study was to develop a model to establish relationships between cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and oxidative stress, in human liver carcinoma [HepG2] cells exposed to potassium dichromate. HepG2 cells were cultured following standard protocols and exposed to various concentrations [0-50 µM] of potassium dichromate [K2Cr2O7]. Following exposure to the toxic metal, the MTT assay was performed to assess the cytotoxicity, the thiobarbituric acid test to evaluate the degree of lipid peroxidation as an indicator of oxidative stress and the alkaline comet assay was used to assess DNA damage to study genotoxicity. The results of the study indicated that potassium dichromate was cytotoxic to HepG2 cells. The LD50 values of 8.83 ± 0.89 µg/ml, 6.76 ± 0.99 µg/ml, respectively, for cell mortality at 24 and 48 hrs were observed, indicating a dose- and time-dependent response with regard to the cytotoxic effects of potassium dichromate. A statistically significant increase in the concentration of malondialdehyde [MDA], an indicator of lipid peroxidation, was recorded in exposed cells [15.9 – 69.9 µM] compared to control [13 µM]. Similarly, a strong dose-response relationship (p<0.05) was also obtained with respect to potassium dichromate induced DNA damage (comet assay) in HepG2 cells exposed [3.16 ± 0.70 – 24.84 ± 1.86 microns – mean comet tail length]; [12.4 ± 1.45% – 76 ± 1.49% – % tail DNA] to potassium dichromate than control [3.07 ± 0.26 microns – mean comet tail length]; [2.69 + 0.19% – % Tail DNA], respectively. The results demonstrated that potassium dichromatewas highly cytotoxic to HepG2 cells, and its cytotoxicity seems to be mediated by oxidative stress and DNA damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Application of Bayesian Methods to Exposure Assessment of Area Concentrations at a Rubber Factory
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 622-634; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020622
Received: 10 December 2008 / Accepted: 5 February 2009 / Published: 11 February 2009
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (196 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present study estimated area concentrations of airborne benzene in several workshops using Bayesian methods based on available historical measurements. A rubber products factory utilizing benzene was investigated. Historical measurements of benzene concentrations, expert experiences, and deterministic modeling were utilized in a [...] Read more.
The present study estimated area concentrations of airborne benzene in several workshops using Bayesian methods based on available historical measurements. A rubber products factory utilizing benzene was investigated. Historical measurements of benzene concentrations, expert experiences, and deterministic modeling were utilized in a Bayesian Method to estimate area concentrations. Historical concentrations (n=124) were available with the geometric mean of 15.3 mg/m3. The geometric mean of the current field measurements on the workstations ranged from 0.7 to 89.0 mg/m3. One of the seven historical geometric means by work locations significantly differed from the field measurements for equivalent locations, but none of the geometric means of Bayesian estimates were significantly different from the field measurement results. The Bayesian methods based on the historical measurements appeared to be a useful tool for more closely estimating area concentrations shown by field data than that predicted only using historical measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Pubic Lice (Pthirus pubis): History, Biology and Treatment vs. Knowledge and Beliefs of US College Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 592-600; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020592
Received: 29 December 2008 / Accepted: 25 January 2009 / Published: 6 February 2009
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (241 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pubic lice (Pthirus pubis) maintain a worldwide parasitic population infesting two to over 10 percent of human populations, continuing a presence that has been constant since early evidence 10,000 years ago. Outbreaks in the 1970s have been recorded, but incomplete [...] Read more.
Pubic lice (Pthirus pubis) maintain a worldwide parasitic population infesting two to over 10 percent of human populations, continuing a presence that has been constant since early evidence 10,000 years ago. Outbreaks in the 1970s have been recorded, but incomplete records preclude description of a definitive population cycle. Current levels of infestation in a US college student population were investigated in this study. Knowledge and opinions of students were also recorded in an online survey administered to college students taking a basic health course at a mid-sized East Coast University. In a group of 817 students, 35 reported experience with pubic lice or other STD infection. Knowledge, beliefs, and treatment attitudes were examined for the 782 students who did not have experience with either pubic lice or STD infection. These students deemed antibiotics as a viable treatment for pubic lice infestation. They also indicated negative attitudes toward the use of pesticide crèmes, which are the most useful prescription. Symptoms and transmission myths in student answers are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Emerging Patient-Driven Health Care Models: An Examination of Health Social Networks, Consumer Personalized Medicine and Quantified Self-Tracking
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 492-525; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020492
Received: 9 January 2009 / Accepted: 2 February 2009 / Published: 5 February 2009
Cited by 150 | PDF Full-text (3229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A new class of patient-driven health care services is emerging to supplement and extend traditional health care delivery models and empower patient self-care. Patient-driven health care can be characterized as having an increased level of information flow, transparency, customization, collaboration and patient [...] Read more.
A new class of patient-driven health care services is emerging to supplement and extend traditional health care delivery models and empower patient self-care. Patient-driven health care can be characterized as having an increased level of information flow, transparency, customization, collaboration and patient choice and responsibility-taking, as well as quantitative, predictive and preventive aspects. The potential exists to both improve traditional health care systems and expand the concept of health care though new services. This paper examines three categories of novel health services: health social networks, consumer personalized medicine and quantified self-tracking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle A Study of 279 General Outbreaks of Gastrointestinal Infection in the North-East Region of England
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 547-557; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020547
Received: 28 October 2008 / Accepted: 3 February 2009 / Published: 5 February 2009
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
All outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease reported to the authorities were entered on a computer database with outbreak control teams being established to investigate larger or more significant incidents. The outbreak database and, when set up, the notes of outbreak team meetings [...] Read more.
All outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease reported to the authorities were entered on a computer database with outbreak control teams being established to investigate larger or more significant incidents. The outbreak database and, when set up, the notes of outbreak team meetings were examined for the 279 outbreaks reported in a three-year period (2003-2005). Faeces specimens submitted as part of an outbreak were examined for microbial pathogens and the results cross-matched to the outbreak number. Almost half of the general outbreaks reported (137) occurred in long-term care facilities for the elderly, 51 outbreaks were recorded in hospitals and 31 occurred in the wider community. In 76 outbreaks no specimen was logged. A microbial cause was confirmed in about one-third of outbreaks, with noroviruses being the most common (19%). Salmonellas accounted for 12 of the 21 community outbreaks linked to social events and all were foodborne. Suggestions for improving notification and surveillance are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Correlation Analysis of Cocoa Consumption Data with Worldwide Incidence Rates of Testicular Cancer and Hypospadias
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 568-578; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020578
Received: 31 December 2008 / Accepted: 2 February 2009 / Published: 5 February 2009
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (271 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The underlying reasons for the increasing occurrence of male reproductive diseases (MRD) such as hypospadias, cryptorchidism, and testicular cancer (TC) over the last decades are still unknown. It has been hypothesized that the risk of MRD is determined in utero and that pregnancy dietary intake could also affect MRD risk in the offspring. Various studies in animals reported that cocoa and theobromine, the main stimulant of cocoa, exert toxic effects on the testis, inducing testicular atrophy and impaired sperm quality. A correlation analysis was conducted to examine the possible role of cocoa consumption on the occurrence of selected MRD during the prenatal and early life period of cases. The incidence rates between 1998-2002 of TC in 18 countries obtained from Cancer Incidence in Five Continents were correlated with the average per-capita consumption of cocoa (kg/capita/year) (FAOSTAT-Database) in these countries from 1965 to 1980, i.e. the period corresponding to the early life of TC cases. In order to test the above correlation in the case of hypospadias, the mean prevalence at birth in 20 countries (1999-2003) with average per-capita consumption of cocoa in these countries in the same period corresponding to pregnancy were used. The consumption of cocoa in the period 1965–80, was most closely correlated with the incidence of TC in young adults (r=0.859; p<0.001). An analogous significant correlation was also observed between early cocoa consumption and the prevalence rates of hypospadias in the period 1999-2003 (r=0.760; p<0.001). Although the ecological approach used in this study cannot provide an answer on the causal relationship between consumption of cocoa in early life and TC and hypospadias, the results are suggestive and indicate the need of further analytic studies to investigate the role of individual exposure to cocoa, particularly during the prenatal and in early life of the patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Relative Validity and Reproducibility of a Food-Frequency Questionnaire for Estimating Food Intakes among Flemish Preschoolers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 382-399; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010382
Received: 26 December 2008 / Accepted: 21 January 2009 / Published: 22 January 2009
Cited by 36 | PDF Full-text (302 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aims of this study were to assess the relative validity and reproducibility of a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) applied in a large region-wide survey among 2.5-6.5 year-old children for estimating food group intakes. Parents/guardians were used as a proxy. Estimated diet records (3d) were used as reference method and reproducibility was measured by repeated FFQ administrations five weeks apart. In total 650 children were included in the validity analyses and 124 in the reproducibility analyses. Comparing median FFQ1 to FFQ2 intakes, almost all evaluated food groups showed median differences within a range of ± 15%. However, for median vegetables, fruit and cheese intake, FFQ1 was > 20% higher than FFQ2. For most foods a moderate correlation (0.5-0.7) was obtained between FFQ1 and FFQ2. For cheese, sugared drinks and fruit juice intakes correlations were even > 0.7. For median differences between the 3d EDR and the FFQ, six food groups (potatoes & grains; vegetables Fruit; cheese; meat, game, poultry and fish; and sugared drinks) gave a difference > 20%. The largest corrected correlations (>0.6) were found for the intake of potatoes and grains, fruit, milk products, cheese, sugared drinks, and fruit juice, while the lowest correlations (<0.4) for bread and meat products. The proportion of subjects classified within one quartile (in the same/adjacent category) by FFQ and EDR ranged from 67% (for meat products) to 88% (for fruit juice). Extreme misclassification into the opposite quartiles was for all food groups < 10%. The results indicate that our newly developed FFQ gives reproducible estimates of food group intake. Overall, moderate levels of relative validity were observed for estimates of food group intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Engagement and Action for Health: The Contribution of Leaders’ Collaborative Skills to Partnership Success
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 361-381; doi:10.3390/ijerph60100361
Received: 29 December 2008 / Accepted: 20 January 2009 / Published: 21 January 2009
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (263 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A multi-site evaluation (survey) of five Kellogg-funded Community Partnerships (CPs) in South Africa was undertaken to explore the relationship between leadership skills and a range of 30 operational, functional and organisational factors deemed critical to successful CPs. The CPs were collaborative academic-health [...] Read more.
A multi-site evaluation (survey) of five Kellogg-funded Community Partnerships (CPs) in South Africa was undertaken to explore the relationship between leadership skills and a range of 30 operational, functional and organisational factors deemed critical to successful CPs. The CPs were collaborative academic-health service-community efforts aimed at health professions education reforms. The level of agreement to eleven dichotomous (‘Yes/No’) leadership skills items was used to compute two measures of members’ appreciation of their CPs’ leadership. The associations between these measures and 30 CPs factors were explored, and the partnership factors that leadership skills explained were assessed after controlling. Respondents who perceived the leadership of their CPs favourably had more positive ratings across 30 other artnership factors than those who rated leadership skills less favourably, and were more likely to report a positive cost/benefit ratio. In addition, respondents who viewed their CPs’ leadership positively also rated the operational understanding, the communication mechanisms, as well as the rules and procedures of the CPs more favourably. Leadership skills explained between 20% and 7% of the variance of 10 partnership factors. The influence of leaders’ skills in effective healthfocussed partnerships is much broader than previously conceptualised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle New Concepts in Breast Cancer Emerge from Analyzing Clinical Data Using Numerical Algorithms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 329-348; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010347
Received: 6 November 2008 / Accepted: 10 January 2009 / Published: 20 January 2009
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (320 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A small international group has recently challenged fundamental concepts in breast cancer. As a guiding principle in therapy, it has long been assumed that breast cancer growth is continuous. However, this group suggests tumor growth commonly includes extended periods of quasi-stable dormancy. [...] Read more.
A small international group has recently challenged fundamental concepts in breast cancer. As a guiding principle in therapy, it has long been assumed that breast cancer growth is continuous. However, this group suggests tumor growth commonly includes extended periods of quasi-stable dormancy. Furthermore, surgery to remove the primary tumor often awakens distant dormant micrometastases. Accordingly, over half of all relapses in breast cancer are accelerated in this manner. This paper describes how a numerical algorithm was used to come to these conclusions. Based on these findings, a dormancy preservation therapy is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Trends in Percutaneous Coronary Interventions in New South Wales, Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 232-245; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010245
Received: 29 October 2008 / Accepted: 8 January 2009 / Published: 12 January 2009
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Abstract
This is the first detailed study on percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Hospital data for PCIs carried out between 1 July 1990 and 30 June 2002 are analysed. The study explores trends in PCI rates by selected [...] Read more.
This is the first detailed study on percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Hospital data for PCIs carried out between 1 July 1990 and 30 June 2002 are analysed. The study explores trends in PCI rates by selected socio-demographic factors, the utilisation of angioplasties vis-a-vis stents, emergency admissions, and selected coexisting conditions which determine the disease status of PCI patients. Logistic regression models are used to study the medical conditions that require both PCI and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). The PCI rate has grown rapidly at 12.1% per annum, with a particularly rapid increase for persons aged 75+. The rate of multiple stent utilisation increased at 4.6% per annum. Pacific-born and Middle-Eastern-born patients are more than twice as likely as the Australian-born to have diabetes. Factors affecting failure of PCI requiring CABG include perforation and multi-vessel disease. PCI services in public hospitals need to be increased to facilitate the availability of these procedures to all segments of the population, as do targeted community-level programmes to educate high-risk groups in the control of heart diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Vitamin D Status of Clinical Practice Populations at Higher Latitudes: Analysis and Applications
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 151-173; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010151
Received: 18 November 2008 / Accepted: 30 December 2008 / Published: 7 January 2009
Cited by 34 | PDF Full-text (284 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Inadequate levels of vitamin D (VTD) throughout the life cycle from the fetal stage to adulthood have been correlated with elevated risk for assorted health afflictions. The purpose of this study was to ascertain VTD status and associated determinants in three clinical practice populationsliving in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -a locale with latitude of 53°30'N, wheresun exposure from October through March is often inadequate to generate sufficient vitamin D. Methods: To determine VTD status, 1,433 patients from three independent medical offices in Edmonton had levels drawn for 25(OH)D as part of their medical assessment between Jun 2001 and Mar 2007. The relationship between demographic data and lifestyle parameters with VTD status was explored. 25(OH)D levels were categorized as follows: (1) Deficient: <40 nmol/L; (2) Insufficient (moderate to mild): 40 to <80 nmol/L; and (3) Adequate: 80-250 nmol/L. Any cases <25 nmol/L were subcategorized as severely deficient for purposes of further analysis. Results: 240 (16.75% of the total sample) of 1,433 patients were found to be VTD "deficient" of which 48 (3.35% of the overall sample) had levels consistent with severe deficiency. 738 (51.5% of the overall sample) had "insufficiency" (moderate to mild) while only 31.75% had "adequate" 25(OH)D levels. The overall mean for 25(OH) D was 68.3 with SD=28.95. VTD status was significantly linked with demographic and lifestyle parameters including skin tone, fish consumption, milk intake, sun exposure, tanning bed use and nutritional supplementation. Conclusion: A high prevalence of hypovitaminosis-D was found in three clinical practice populations living in Edmonton. In view of the potential health sequelae associated with widespread VTD inadequacy, strategies to facilitate translation of emerging epidemiological information into clinical intervention need to be considered in order to address this public health issue. A suggested VTD supplemental intake level is presented for consideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Life Lost Due to Premature Deaths in New South Wales, Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 108-120; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010108
Received: 20 November 2008 / Accepted: 24 December 2008 / Published: 6 January 2009
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (227 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study attempts to measure premature mortality, in addition to overall death rates, in order to provide more information that can be used to develop and monitor health programmes that are aimed at reducing premature (often preventable) mortality in New South Wales [...] Read more.
This study attempts to measure premature mortality, in addition to overall death rates, in order to provide more information that can be used to develop and monitor health programmes that are aimed at reducing premature (often preventable) mortality in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Premature years of potential life lost (PYPLL) and valued years of potential life lost methods are applied for mortality data in NSW from 1990 to 2002. Variations in these measures for 2001 are studied further in terms of age, sex, urban/rural residence, and socio-economic status. PYPLL rates for all leading causes of death have declined. It is shown that the average male to female ratio of PYPLLs is highest for accidents, injury and poisoning (3.4:1) followed by mental disorders (2.7:1) and cardiovascular diseases (2.6:1). Although fewer women than men die of cardiovascular diseases, there is a greater proportionate importance of cerebrovascular mortality among women. In order to further reduce premature deaths, programs are required to improve the health of people living in lower socio-economic status areas, especially in rural NSW. Targeted regional or community level programs are required to reduce avoidable deaths due to accidents, injury and poisoning occasioned by motor vehicle accidents, poisoning and suicide among young adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Validity and Reproducibility of a Self-Administered Semi-Quantitative Food-Frequency Questionnaire for Estimating Usual Daily Fat, Fibre, Alcohol, Caffeine and Theobromine Intakes among Belgian Post-Menopausal Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 121-150; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010121
Received: 11 December 2008 / Accepted: 31 December 2008 / Published: 6 January 2009
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (521 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A novel food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was developed and validated to assess the usual daily fat, saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acid, fibre, alcohol, caffeine, and theobromine intakes among Belgian post-menopausal women participating in dietary intervention trials with phyto-oestrogens. The relative validity of [...] Read more.
A novel food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was developed and validated to assess the usual daily fat, saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acid, fibre, alcohol, caffeine, and theobromine intakes among Belgian post-menopausal women participating in dietary intervention trials with phyto-oestrogens. The relative validity of the FFQ was estimated by comparison with 7 day (d) estimated diet records (EDR, n 64) and its reproducibility was evaluated by repeated administrations 6 weeks apart (n 79). Although the questionnaire underestimated significantly all intakes compared to the 7 d EDR, it had a good ranking ability (r 0.47-0.94; weighted κ 0.25-0.66) and it could reliably distinguish extreme intakes for all the estimated nutrients, except for saturated fatty acids. Furthermore, the correlation between repeated administrations was high (r 0.71-0.87) with a maximal misclassification of 7% (weighted κ 0.33-0.80). In conclusion, these results compare favourably with those reported by others and indicate that the FFQ is a satisfactorily reliable and valid instrument for ranking individuals within this study population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Lead Poisoning: An Alarming Public Health Problem in Bangladesh
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 84-95; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010084
Received: 3 November 2008 / Accepted: 4 January 2009 / Published: 5 January 2009
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (691 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To assess the risk of lead poisoning among preschool and school-aged children in Bangladesh, 345 children were screened for blood lead levels (BLLs) from one rural and two urban areas in Bangladesh from September 2007 through January 2008. An urban industrial area at Tongi was identified as a disaster area, where 99% (104/105) of those tested had BLLs ≥10 µg/dL. Industrial emissions and use of leaded gasoline by two-stroke engine vehicles were identified as possible sources of lead in that area. A rural nonindustrial area at Chirirbandar, Dinajpur was identified as another high-risk area, where 14% of the children screened had BLLs ≥10 µg/dL. BLLs at the urban industrial area were significantly higher than those at the rural and urban nonindustrial areas (24.58 ± 10.32, 7.24 ± 6.31, and 2.47 ± 3.32 µg/dL, respectively; p <0.001). Weight-for-age z-scores of the urban children were significantly lower than that of the rural children (-1.41 ± 1.88 vs. 0.20 ± 1.16, p <0.001). Children with elevated BLLs had poorer nutritional status (p = 0.05) than those with normal BLLs. Over 90% of the parents did not know that lead causes health problems. In conclusion, the problem of lead poisoning in children was found to be high in both urban and rural Bangladesh. A universal lead screening for preschool and school-aged children and a lead education program for parents are recommended for implementation in Bangladesh. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Web 3D for Public, Environmental and Occupational Health: Early Examples from Second Life®
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2008, 5(4), 290-317; doi:10.3390/ijerph5040290
Received: 4 December 2008 / Accepted: 17 December 2008 / Published: 18 December 2008
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (2952 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over the past three years (2006-2008), the medical/health and public health communities have shown a growing interest in using online 3D virtual worlds like Second Life® (http://secondlife.com/) for health education, community outreach, training and simulations purposes. 3D virtual worlds are seen as [...] Read more.
Over the past three years (2006-2008), the medical/health and public health communities have shown a growing interest in using online 3D virtual worlds like Second Life® (http://secondlife.com/) for health education, community outreach, training and simulations purposes. 3D virtual worlds are seen as the precursors of ‘Web 3D’, the next major iteration of the Internet that will follow in the coming years. This paper provides a tour of several flagship Web 3D experiences in Second Life®, including Play2Train Islands (emergency preparedness training), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—CDC Island (public health), Karuna Island (AIDS support and information), Tox Town at Virtual NLM Island (US National Library of Medicine - environmental health), and Jefferson’s Occupational Therapy Center. We also discuss the potential and future of Web 3D. These are still early days of 3D virtual worlds, and there are still many more untapped potentials and affordances of 3D virtual worlds that are yet to be explored, as the technology matures further and improves over the coming months and years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Food Intakes by Preschool Children in Flanders Compared with Dietary Guidelines
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2008, 5(4), 243-257; doi:10.3390/ijerph5040243
Received: 27 October 2008 / Accepted: 5 December 2008 / Published: 8 December 2008
Cited by 36 | PDF Full-text (344 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this study was to compare food group intakes among preschool children with food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) and to determine the proportion of children meeting these guidelines. Food consumption of preschool children (2.5-6.5 years) living in Flanders (Belgium) were assessed [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to compare food group intakes among preschool children with food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) and to determine the proportion of children meeting these guidelines. Food consumption of preschool children (2.5-6.5 years) living in Flanders (Belgium) were assessed in a cross-sectional study, using proxy reported 3d estimated dietary records (EDR) (n 696). Statistical modelling was used to account for within-individual variation in the 3d EDR. Mean daily intakes of most food groups (beverages, vegetables, fruit and milk) were below the minimum recommendations. Only ‘grains and potatoes’ and ‘meat products’ were in line with the recommendations and ‘bread and cereals’ showed borderline intakes. Mean intakes of energy-dense and low-nutritious foods, which are discouraged within a healthy diet (like snacks and sugared drinks), were high. Furthermore, the percentage of children complying with the different food-based dietary guidelines was for most food groups extremely low (ranging from approximately 4% for fluid and vegetable intakes up to 99% for potato intakes). Boys had in general higher mean intakes of the recommended food groups. In conclusion, preschool children in Flanders follow eating patterns that do not meet Flemish FBDG. Although the impact of these eating habits on preschooler’s current and future health should be further investigated, it is clear that nutrition education and intervention are needed among preschool children and their parents in Flanders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Pathogenic Microorganisms Associated With Childhood Diarrhea in Low-and-Middle Income Countries: Case Study of Yaoundé – Cameroon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2008, 5(4), 213-229; doi:10.3390/ijerph5040213
Received: 4 November 2008 / Accepted: 24 November 2008 / Published: 2 December 2008
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1887 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Notwithstanding significant advancement in the understanding of pathogenesis and management, diarrheal illnesses remain one of the principal causes of global childhood mortality and morbidity. Infections account for most illnesses, with pathogens employing ingenious mechanisms to establish disease. In 2002, an interdisciplinary program [...] Read more.
Notwithstanding significant advancement in the understanding of pathogenesis and management, diarrheal illnesses remain one of the principal causes of global childhood mortality and morbidity. Infections account for most illnesses, with pathogens employing ingenious mechanisms to establish disease. In 2002, an interdisciplinary program “Populations et al. Espaces à Risques SANitaires” (PERSAN) was set up under the patronage of the Development Research Institute (IRD). Focused on health in Cameroon’s urban environment, the program mainly sought to identify diarrhea risk factors in Yaoundé. So for, a cross-sectional epidemiological study in children aged 6-59 months was carried out using a standardized protocol. The survey was initiated in 2002 and conducted during April to June in the year 2005. 3,034 stool samples were collected from children in twenty neighbourhoods in Yaoundé and examined at the Epidemiology and Public Health Laboratory of the Cameroon Pasteur Institute. About 60% of the patients were aged less than two years and 52% were male. Among the 437 patients with the diarrheal disease, 260 were found to be of infectious etiology, i.e. micro organism was detected in 59.5 % of the cases. Out of which, 10 (03.8%), 96 (36.9%), and 154 (59.2%) were respectively caused by pathogenic viruses, pathogenic bacteria and pathogenic parasites. Higher prevalence was found in overcrowded and under supply spontaneous settlement (78.4%) than in less crowded and formal residential settlement (21.5%). Etiologic data on diarrheal diseases and their spatial distribution are important tools for public health management and control strategic planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Human Health Risk Assessment due to Global Warming – A Case Study of the Gulf Countries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2008, 5(4), 204-212; doi:10.3390/ijerph5040204
Received: 25 September 2008 / Accepted: 25 November 2008 / Published: 28 November 2008
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (214 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Accelerated global warming is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) due to increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The climate changes are anticipated to have a long-term impact on human health, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, water resources and vegetation. Due [...] Read more.
Accelerated global warming is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) due to increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The climate changes are anticipated to have a long-term impact on human health, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, water resources and vegetation. Due to rising sea levels, low lying coastal regions will be flooded, farmlands will be threatened and scarcity of fresh water resources will be aggravated. This will in turn cause increased human suffering in different parts of the world. Spread of disease vectors will contribute towards high mortality, along with the heat related deaths. Arid and hot climatic regions will face devastating effects risking survival of the fragile plant species, wild animals, and other desert ecosystems. The paper presents future changes in temperature, precipitation and humidity and their direct and indirect potential impacts on human health in the coastal regions of the Gulf countries including Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain. The analysis is based on the long-term changes in the values of temperature, precipitation and humidity as predicted by the global climatic simulation models under different scenarios of GHG emission levels. Monthly data on temperature, precipitation, and humidity were retrieved from IPCC databases for longitude 41.25°E to 61.875°E and latitude 9.278°N to 27.833°N. Using an average of 1970 to 2000 values as baseline, the changes in the humidity, temperature and precipitation were predicted for the period 2020 to 2050 and 2070 to 2099. Based on epidemiological studies on various diseases associated with the change in temperature, humidity and precipitation in arid and hot regions, empirical models were developed to assess human health risk in the Gulf region to predict elevated levels of diseases and mortality rates under different emission scenarios as developed by the IPCC.The preliminary assessment indicates increased mortality rates due to cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, thermal stress, and increased frequency of infectious vector borne diseases in the region between 2070 and 2099. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle Sensitivity Modeling Study for an Ozone Occurrence during the 1996 Paso Del Norte Ozone Campaign
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2008, 5(4), 181-203; doi:10.3390/ijerph5040181
Received: 10 October 2008 / Accepted: 25 November 2008 / Published: 26 November 2008
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (360 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Surface ozone pollution has been a persistent environmental problem in the US and Europe as well as the developing countries. A key prerequisite to find effective alternatives to meeting an ozone air quality standard is to understand the importance of local anthropogenic [...] Read more.
Surface ozone pollution has been a persistent environmental problem in the US and Europe as well as the developing countries. A key prerequisite to find effective alternatives to meeting an ozone air quality standard is to understand the importance of local anthropogenic emissions, the significance of biogenic emissions, and the contribution of long-range transport. In this study, an air quality modeling system that includes chemistry and transport, CMAQ, an emission processing model, SMOKE, and a mesoscale numerical meteorological model, WRF, has been applied to investigate an ozone event occurring during the period of the 1996 Paso del Norte Ozone Campaign. The results show that the modeling system exhibits the capability to simulate this high ozone occurrence by providing a comparable temporal variation of surface ozone concentration at one station and to capture the spatial evolution of the event. Several sensitivity tests were also conducted to identify the contributions to high surface ozone concentration from eight VOC subspecies, biogenic VOCs, anthropogenic VOCs and long-range transportation of ozone and its precursors. It is found that the reductions of ETH, ISOP, PAR, OLE and FORM help to mitigate the surface ozone concentration, and like anthropogenic VOCs, biogenic VOC plays a nonnegligible role in ozone formation. But for this case, long-range transport of ozone and its precursors appears to produce an insignificant contribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview A Systematic Review of Arsenic Exposure and Its Social and Mental Health Effects with Special Reference to Bangladesh
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(5), 1609-1619; doi:10.3390/ijerph6051609
Received: 4 January 2009 / Accepted: 9 April 2009 / Published: 8 May 2009
Cited by 64 | PDF Full-text (108 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Undergroundwater in many regions of the world is contaminated with high concentrations of arsenic and the resulting toxicity has created a major environmental and public health problem in the affected regions. Chronic arsenic exposure can cause many diseases, including various physical and [...] Read more.
Undergroundwater in many regions of the world is contaminated with high concentrations of arsenic and the resulting toxicity has created a major environmental and public health problem in the affected regions. Chronic arsenic exposure can cause many diseases, including various physical and psychological harms. Although the physical problems caused by arsenic toxicity are well reported in literature, unfortunately the consequences of arsenic exposure on mental health are not adequately studied. Therefore we conducted a review of the available literature focusing on the social consequences and detrimental effects of arsenic toxicity on mental health. Chronic arsenic exposures have serious implications for its victims (i.e. arsenicosis patients) and their families including social instability, social discrimination, refusal of victims by community and families, and marriage-related problems. Some studies conducted in arsenic affected areas revealed that arsenic exposures are associated with various neurologic problems. Chronic arsenic exposure can lead to mental retardation and developmental disabilities such as physical, cognitive, psychological, sensory and speech impairments. As health is defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing”, the social dimensions have a large impact on individual’s mental health. Furthermore studies in China und Bangladesh have shown that mental health problems (e.g. depression) are more common among the people affected by arsenic contamination. Our study indicates various neurological, mental and social consequences among arsenic affected victims. Further studies are recommended in arsenic-affected areas to understand the underlying mechanisms of poor mental health caused by arsenic exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessReview A Review of the Urban Development and Transport Impacts on Public Health with Particular Reference to Australia: Trans-Disciplinary Research Teams and Some Research Gaps
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(5), 1557-1596; doi:10.3390/ijerph6051557
Received: 9 February 2009 / Accepted: 8 April 2009 / Published: 28 April 2009
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urbanization and transport have a direct effect on public health.A trans-disciplinary approach is proposed and illustrated to tackle the general problem of these environmental stressors and public health. Processes driving urban development and environmental stressors are identified. Urbanization, transport and public health [...] Read more.
Urbanization and transport have a direct effect on public health.A trans-disciplinary approach is proposed and illustrated to tackle the general problem of these environmental stressors and public health. Processes driving urban development and environmental stressors are identified. Urbanization, transport and public health literature is reviewed and environmental stressors are classified into their impacts and which group is affected, the geographical scale and potential inventions. Climate change and health impacts are identified as a research theme. From an Australian perspective, further areas for research are identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessReview Perchlorate: Health Effects and Technologies for Its Removal from Water Resources
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(4), 1418-1442; doi:10.3390/ijerph6041418
Received: 13 February 2009 / Accepted: 3 April 2009 / Published: 14 April 2009
Cited by 33 | PDF Full-text (231 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Perchlorate has been found in drinking water and surface waters in the United States and Canada. It is primarily associated with release from defense and military operations. Natural sources include certain fertilizers and potash ores. Although it is a strong oxidant, perchlorate [...] Read more.
Perchlorate has been found in drinking water and surface waters in the United States and Canada. It is primarily associated with release from defense and military operations. Natural sources include certain fertilizers and potash ores. Although it is a strong oxidant, perchlorate is very persistent in the environment. At high concentrations perchlorate can affect the thyroid gland by inhibiting the uptake of iodine. A maximum contaminant level has not been set, while a guidance value of 6 ppb has been suggested by Health Canada. Perchlorate is measured in environmental samples primarily by ion chromatography. It can be removed from water by anion exchange or membrane filtration. Biological and chemical processes are also effective in removing this species from water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessReview Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking and Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). A Critical Review of the Relevant Literature and the Public Health Consequences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(2), 798-843; doi:10.3390/ijerph6020798
Received: 4 January 2009 / Accepted: 8 February 2009 / Published: 23 February 2009
Cited by 54 | PDF Full-text (807 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hookah (narghile, shisha, “water-pipe”) smoking is now seen by public health officials as a global tobacco epidemic. Cigarette Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is classically understood as a combination of Side-Stream Smoke (SSS) and Exhaled Main-Stream Smoke (EMSS), both diluted and aged. Some [...] Read more.
Hookah (narghile, shisha, “water-pipe”) smoking is now seen by public health officials as a global tobacco epidemic. Cigarette Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is classically understood as a combination of Side-Stream Smoke (SSS) and Exhaled Main-Stream Smoke (EMSS), both diluted and aged. Some of the corresponding cigarette studies have served as the scientific basis for stringent legislation on indoor smoking across the world. Interestingly, one of the distinctive traits of the hookah device is that it generates almost no SSS. Indeed, its ETS is made up almost exclusively by the smoke exhaled by the smoker (EMSS), i.e. which has been filtered by the hookah at the level of the bowl, inside the water, along the hose and then by the smoker’s respiratory tract itself. The present paper reviews the sparse and scattered scientific evidence available about hookah EMSS and the corresponding inferences that can be drawn from the composition of cigarette EMSS. The reviewed literature shows that most of hookah ETS is made up of EMSS and that the latter qualitatively differs from MSS. Keeping in mind that the first victim of passive smoking is the active smoker her/himself, the toxicity of hookah ETS for non-smokers should not be overestimated and hyped in an unscientific way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessReview Overview of Dose Assessment Developments and the Health of Riverside Residents Close to the “Mayak” PA Facilities, Russia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 174-199; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010174
Received: 3 December 2008 / Accepted: 7 January 2009 / Published: 9 January 2009
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) has been involved in studies related to the Mayak PA and the consequences of activities undertaken at the site for a number of years. This paper strives to present an overview of past and present activities [...] Read more.
The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) has been involved in studies related to the Mayak PA and the consequences of activities undertaken at the site for a number of years. This paper strives to present an overview of past and present activities at the Mayak PA and subsequent developments in the quantification of health effects on local populations caused by discharges of radioactive waste into the Techa River. Assessments of doses to affected populations have relied on the development of dose reconstruction techniques for both external and internal doses. Contamination levels are typically inhomogeneous and decrease with increasing distance from the discharge point. Citations made in this paper give a comprehensive, though not exhaustive, basis for further reading about this topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessReview Towards Integration of Environmental and Health Impact Assessments for Wild Capture Fishing and Farmed Fish with Particular Reference to Public Health and Occupational Health Dimensions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2008, 5(4), 258-277; doi:10.3390/ijerph5040258
Received: 30 October 2008 / Accepted: 5 December 2008 / Published: 8 December 2008
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (209 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper offers a review and commentary, with particular reference to the production of fish from wild capture fisheries and aquaculture, on neglected aspects of health impact assessments which are viewed by a range of international and national health bodies and development [...] Read more.
The paper offers a review and commentary, with particular reference to the production of fish from wild capture fisheries and aquaculture, on neglected aspects of health impact assessments which are viewed by a range of international and national health bodies and development agencies as valuable and necessary project tools. Assessments sometimes include environmental health impact assessments but rarely include specific occupational health and safety impact assessments especially integrated into a wider public health assessment. This is in contrast to the extensive application of environmental impact assessments to fishing and the comparatively large body of research now generated on the public health effects of eating fish. The value of expanding and applying the broader assessments would be considerable because in 2004 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports there were 41,408,000 people in the total ‘fishing’ sector including 11,289,000 in aquaculture. The paper explores some of the complex interactions that occur with regard to fishing activities and proposes the wider adoption of health impact assessment tools in these neglected sectors through an integrated public health impact assessment tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)

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