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  • 90 Reads
Evaluation of personal exposure to air pollutants and estimation of the inhaled dose for commuters in the urban area of Milan, Italy

It is well known that transit micro-environments (MEs) can contribute to a high exposure and to a high relative inhaled dose to atmospheric pollutants, despite the time spent in these kinds of MEs are relatively small [1]. Scientific literature [2,3] show that in recent years, several studies have been carried out with the aim of evaluating the commuter exposure, considering the MEs frequented by subject. However, it should be emphasized that most studies regard the evaluation of exposure to pollutants and not the estimated dose inhaled by subjects. The aim of this work is therefore to assess the exposure to different atmospheric pollutants and to estimate the relative inhaled dose, associating concentration data to personal physiological measurements.

The measurement of personal exposure was performed continuously, along a predetermined route, which included different commuting MEs. The chosen route intends to represent the path of a typical commuter. Personal exposure to air pollutants was performed via portable direct reading instruments for the evaluation of NO2 and PM fractionated concentration. The acquisition of various physiological parameters (such as the heart-beat) was carried out by a heart rate monitor, which can also provide GPS position. All instruments have been set with an acquisition rate of 1 minute.

The combined use of different monitoring instruments has allowed us to continuously characterize the concentrations of pollutants investigated according to the most appropriate measurement metrics. The exposure data were associated with the subject's residence time in a given ME and to the pulmonary ventilation value (calculated from the subject's heart rate, acquired during the whole monitoring period), in order to obtain an estimate of the dose of the various pollutants inhaled by the subject. The results were analyzed according to the different MEs and means of transport, in order to identify the factors that most influence the inhaled dose.


[1] Dons, E., Laeremans, M., Orjuela, J. P., Avila-Palencia, I., Carrasco-Turigas, G., Cole-Hunter, T., Anaya-Boig, E., Standaert, A., De Boever, P., Nawrot, T., Götschi, T., de Nazelle, A., Nieuwenhuijsen, M., Int Panis, L., 2017. Wearable Sensors for Personal Monitoring and Estimation of Inhaled Traffic-Related Air Pollution: Evaluation of Methods. Environ. Sci. Technol., 51 (3), 1859–1867.

[2] de Nazelle, A., Bode, O., Orjuela, J. P., 2017. Comparison of air pollution exposures in active vs. passive travel modes in European cities: A quantitative review. Environ. Int., 99, 151–160.

[3] Karanasiou, A., Viana, M., Querol, X., Moreno, T., de Leeuw, F., 2014. Assessment of personal exposure to particulate air pollution during commuting in European cities-Recommendations and policy implications. Sci. Total Environ., 490, 785–797.

  • Open access
  • 134 Reads
Exploring the meanings of “Sanitation Well-being” in Tha khlong, Thailand.

Achievement of sustainable goals are driven by the aim to secure access to sanitation and water services. OECD defined well-being indicators regarding sanitation, as the presence of toilet/bathroom inside the houses shared among a family. This drew on Sen’s Capability Approach, to evaluate sanitation well-being through people’s perception (users and emptiers) on: current sanitation practices, improvement and changes that these practices brought to their daily lives and their surrounding environment.

This research was carried out in the field of “Tha Klong Municipality of Thailand” which aimed to complicate the debates and assumption that sanitation and well-being are synonymous without contextualizing community and their aspect. It was carried out by doing in-depth observation and interview of sanitation practices and the aspect of well-being attached to them.

Firstly, the everyday life in terms of sanitation (access of infrastructure, cleanliness, maintenance, decision making and preferences), was documented. Secondly, empirical data showed that daily aspects such as decision making, freedom of choice and ability to choose around sanitation systems had a correlation. It also showed strong relation between the current accessibility and availability of sanitation infrastructure, and opportunities arising from the governmental acts, policies and regulations. Accessibility or availability of sanitation infrastructure was not just a matter of legal rights but was also the matter of power relations surrounding income and was consecutively affecting their sanitation well-being.

Thirdly, well-being for low income community is associated with uncertainty. The major problem faced by marginalised people were, the sense of uncertainty, the vulnerability to series of risk causing anxiety and stress. With these outcomes, the feelings of well-being were greatly influenced by the existing power relations within the community and different groups. People who survived under severe inequality such as migrant emptiers and renters have weak entitlement to welfare and rights. As a result, these people were constantly reminded of inferiority, lack of work, lack of respect causing shame, fear and anxiety.

To conclude, the level of well-being in the community was determined by the opportunities and freedom of choice with respect to sanitation. The interconnection of decision making processes and power relations played an immense role in the type of sanitation infrastructure used. Anxiety, odour, privacy, safety, health and comfort were few themes directly related to sanitation and well-being whereas residence insecurities led people more strained.

  • Open access
  • 101 Reads
Studying the Emergence and Reproduction of Environmental Inequalities in Health through Agent-Based Modeling

Despite the present acknowledgment by the scientific community on the relevance of environment to explain health inequalities, there is persistent uncertainty to explain how contextual and individual level factors are interrelated. Studies have revealed that the higher the socioeconomic status (SES), the lower the exposure to environmental hazards that may increase the prevalence of health problems, illness, disease and death. However, current works present contradictory findings when they attempt to describe and identify the complex conjunction of environmental and societal mechanisms that give rise to poor health outcomes and health inequalities. Although a wide attention has been dedicated to analyze the direct effect of socioeconomic indicators on health inequalities, the interaction effects with other related determinants such as environmental ones are not commonly described and/or nor totally captured. Considering the complex nature of determinants of health and the impossibility to understand the whole phenomenon from the isolated and decontextualized study of single components, recent studies have recognized the need for a complex systems approach to provide new evidence in public health. In this study, we use evidence-based knowledge and survey data to set an agent-based model (ABM) that is aimed to study the mechanism of reproduction of health inequalities among different population groups under different simulated scenarios composed by different environmental conditions and population groups. Our initial findings show that the combination of the most adverse environmental conditions (i.e. high environmental hazard and low healthcare provision) might drastically increase mortality and health inequalities. Therefore, considering that we have used a conservative model grounded on evidence-based knowledge and survey data from European societies, it is plausible that health disparities could be even higher in societies were social and economic conditions could be more unfavorable.

  • Open access
  • 114 Reads
Deposited particulate matter enrichment in heavy metals and related health risk: A case study of Krakow, Poland.

The air quality is of most importance due to its direct effect on human health. Krakow from many years is the example of the city of constant poor or even very poor air quality [1]. Analyzing the results of the ambient air quality monitoring network in Krakow, operated by the Regional Environmental Protection Inspectorate in Krakow (WIOŚ), it was observed that the particulate matter (PM) is the key air pollutant [2-4]. Moreover, PM particles bound other contaminants, especially heavy metals, that alongside with PM cause negative health effects after entering the body through inhalation, digestion or dermal contact.

The aim of the investigations was to determine impact of heavy metals bound with deposited PM on contamination degree and related toxicological effects by calculating enrichment factors, namely: geo-accumulation index (Igeo), contamination factor (CF), enrichment factor (EF), as well as ecological risk index (ERI) and modified hazard quotient (mHQ). Calculations were based on the selected heavy metal concentrations determined in deposited PM samples in Krakow [5].

The results of the investigations revealed that deposited PM was enriched in heavy metals. As Igeo index provides information of the level of metal accumulation it was stated that deposited PM was practically uncontaminated with Be, Cd, and Tl (class 0) but heavily to extremely contaminated (class 5) with Co and Sn and extremely contaminated (class 6) with As, Ba, Cr, Cu, Li, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, Ti, V and Zn. On the other hand, calculated values of CF revealed very high contamination of deposited PM with Cd and Zn, considerable contamination with Sn, Pb, and As, and moderate contamination with Cu and Li. Values of calculated EF revealed that from investigated elements only Zn originated form anthropogenic sources. For Cd small influence of anthropogenic sources was observed. For Pb and Sn non-crustal sources of emission were expected. Calculated ERI values indicated very high for Cd, considerable for Zn, and low potential ecological risk for As, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Tl. Moreover, calculated mHQ values indicated extreme for Zn, considerable for Cr, and moderate severity of contamination for As, Cu and Pb.

The analysis revealed that the impact of atmospheric and re-suspended PM on inhabitants constitutes the complex effect of mixture of heavy metals affecting simultaneously the human health.


1. European Environment Agency. Air Quality in Europe—2018 Report; EEA Report No 12/2018; Publications Office of the European Union: Luxembourg, 2018.

2. Bokwa, A. Environmental impact of long-term air pollution changes in Krakow, Poland. Polish J of Environ Stud 2008, 5, 673–686.

3. Choi. H.; Melly, S.; Spengler, J. Intraurban and Longitudinal Variability of Classical Pollutants in Kraków, Poland, 2000–2010. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 4967–4991.

4. Gruszecka-Kosowska, A. Assessment of the Krakow inhabitants’ health risk caused by the exposure to inhalation of outdoor air contaminants. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess 2018, 32, 485–499.

5. Gruszecka-Kosowska, A.; Wdowin, M. 2016. The mineralogy, geochemistry and health risk assessment of deposited particulate matter (PM) in Krakow, Poland. Geology, Geophysics & Environment 2016, 42(4), 429–441.

  • Open access
  • 129 Reads

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an environmental pollutant. Human beings are exposed to BPA through food and water. Due to its prolonged contact with the intestinal tract (IT), it might have harmful effects on the IT particularly in pregnant women and the fetuses. Objective of this study was to investigate the effect of BPA on the morphology and tight junction protein expression of the small intestine of pregnant rats. Twelve Pregnant Sprague Dawley rats were divided into group 1 (control, n=6) and group 2 (BPA treated, n=6). Group 1 received tween 80 and group 2 received BPA (0.2mg/ml) in drinking water. There were no significant differences in the villus height, crypt depth and the number of goblet cells in the jejunum and ileum between the two groups. Intestinal tight junction protein (ITJP) claudin 2 expression was similar in both groups. ITJPs claudin 3 and 4 were expressed less intensely in the ileum of group 2 as compared to group 1. Chronic low dose BPA throughout pregnancy in rats did not affect the morphology of villi, crypt, goblet cells and ITJP claudin 2 but reduced the expression of claudin 3 and 4 in the ileum, which might compromise intestinal barrier.

  • Open access
  • 82 Reads
Enhanced Condensational Growth in the Upper Airways Induced by Specific Climatic Conditions as a Major Factor for Increased Deposition of Inhaled Aerosols: A Pilot Study

Air pollution and deposition of ambient aerosols in human airways are associated with a number of detrimental health effects. National ambient air quality standards of inhaled particles are mainly based on the and particulate concentration and sizes. While the impact of the climatic or weather conditions on the possibilities potentially leading to enhanced deposition of ambient submicron aerosols in the respiratory tract is not taken into account.

The aim of this study is to show that some specific weather and climatic conditions (air temperature and humidity) can induce the short-term supersaturation effects of water vapor in the upper airways and this can lead to subsequent “enhanced” deposition of inhaled ambient aerosols in the respiratory tract.

All available data on the effects of supersaturation and condensational growth in the human airways were summarized and analyzed. It was found that inhalation of cool air of temperature T < 22˚C, or saturated air of T < 25-27˚C can lead to increased vapor supersaturation in the airways. Thus, it was shown that rainy and wet weather, or cold seasons in a temperate climate, or rainy seasons in subtropical and tropical climates can induce the supersaturated conditions in airways. It was found that hygroscopic and non-hygroscopic particles might grow in size due to enhanced condensational growth under supersaturated conditions in airways. In particular, a total deposition of 300nm particles in the airways might raise from ~13% (when supersaturation is not taken into account) up to ~90% due to enhanced condensational growth. It was found that such underestimation of deposition efficiency might be typical for most studies.

Thus, while significant advances have been made in understanding the aerosol dosimetry in the last decades, many aspects of adverse effects on respiratory health as weather conditions and environmental or occupational air contaminants require further development.

  • Open access
  • 67 Reads
Relational Dialectics in Community-Rooted Research and Partnerships

Addressing environmental health disparities and improving health equity as well as overall community health rests in large part on partnerships, especially those between researchers and community members and groups. Employing the theory of relational dialectics, we analyze relationships in a large, interdisciplinary research project examining how community health is influenced by increases in neighborhood greening (e.g., planting trees, shrubs, grasses). Relational dialectics posits that, as we engage in relationships with others, opposing tensions shape our interactions.1,2 As Bakhtin noted, these opposing pulls occur due to the multiple goals and needs of relational partners and are evidenced through communication with others. Rather than “either/or” viewpoints, relational partners have “both/and” perspectives, where differing feelings exist simultaneously (e.g., desires for both interdependence and separateness).3 Through communication, relational partners negotiate these competing dialectics. Examples of such dialectics include separateness-connectedness, certainty-uncertainty, openness-closedness, and equality-inequality.

During this multi-year study, a number of partnerships were developed between research team members and individuals residing in focal communities. The focal communities were low-SES, located near an interstate, rife with pockets of crime, and low in overall greenness (e.g., tree canopy). Examples of partnerships include development of a Community Advisory Board, work with neighborhood associations and schools, and collaborations with community groups and city council members. In the analysis, we examine how relational dialectics shaped communication and influenced the research project and the relationships. We share several challenges associated with this type of collaborative community work (e.g., balancing community needs and goals with research aims, academic distance versus community integration) and detail the lessons we have learned through these community-rooted endeavors.

  • Open access
  • 67 Reads
Enhanced Condensational Growth in the Upper Respiratory Tract Induced by Specific Climatic Conditions as a Factor for Airway Acidification: A Conceptual Research

Airway pH (logarithm of the inverse concentration of H+) is central to the physiologic function and cellular biology of the airway. Even a very mild airway acid (pH reduction) insult triggers cough, bronchospasm, and neurogenic inflammation. The pH reduction is the main feature of inflammatory respiratory diseases and plays a role in bronchoconstriction, impaired ciliary function, increased airway mucus viscosity, and in turn, can enhance inflammation and airway dysfunction.

In this conceptual research, the hypothesis was put forward that short-term supersaturation effects in the airways induced by some specific weather and climatic conditions can induce pH reduction in the upper airways.

Available data were summarized and analysed, and preliminary analysis and assessment of the physicochemical processes occurring during supersaturation and liquefication of water vapor in the respiratory tract were conduct.

It was found that liquefication of water vapor under supersaturated conditions in the airways can lead to the formation of liquid droplets with a high concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) which hydrated to carbonic acid, which subsequently dissociates to H+ and HCO3-. Therefore, it was shown that CO2 can lead to substantial acidification (pH reduction) of the formed droplets. It was found that the pH of condensate can reach of 5.5-6.5. Thus, it was found that due to the condensation under supersaturated conditions the normal pH (6.9-9.0) in the airways may become acidic.

The primary implication of the results of this conceptual research is that weather conditions can play a significantly more important role in the airway acidification and as a consequence in the negative respiratory health impact than previously assumed.

  • Open access
  • 102 Reads
Emerging and legacy organic halogenated pollutants in indoor dust

In indoor environments such as houses and workplaces, the concentration of organic pollutants in dust can be high, due to the presence of textile, electronic, building materials and furniture treated with these chemicals. In fact, during the use of aged product, abraded particles release legacy halogenated pollutants in dust. In addition, emerging halogenated pollutants can be also released from new devices and furniture. These compounds are of health concern because it would be expected behaviour similar to legacy ones, such as bioaccumulative and toxicity properties, including endocrine toxicity and carcinogenicity.

In this study, we monitored selected emerging organic pollutants, such as novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs) and some perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), together with legacy polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in indoor settled dust. Dust represent an important exposure pathway for inhalation, dermal adsorption, and for the inadvertent ingestion for example with hand-mouth activity.

We assayed the presence of these compounds in different indoor scenario, five dusts were collected and sieved at 63 µm, in particular two domestic dusts, an office dust and two electro technical repair laboratory dusts. A unique sample treatment was optimized for the extraction of all the investigated compounds and the analyses were carried out with different analytical techniques, HPLC-MS/MS and GC-MS. The results highlight that in electro technical repair workplaces a high incidence of PCBs PBDEs and NBFRs occurred; moreover, perfluorooctane carboxyl acid was detected. By contrast, the total contribution of the investigated pollutants was lower in house and in the office dusts except for few NBFR compounds.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their oxygenated derivatives (oxy-PAHs) and nitro-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nitro-PAHs) were also included for their ubiquity, health concern and in perspective of a cumulative exposure assessment to environmental pollutants.

In addition, dust collection represents a simple, fast and cost-effective sampling and dust contamination level can be a useful indicator of environment healthiness.

  • Open access
  • 276 Reads
Socially responsible human resource management and employee psychological well-being: A sequential mediation model

In the present study, we have examined the relationship between Socially responsible human resource management and psychological well-being through the psychological mechanisms of organizational pride and organizational identification based on a serial mediation model. Using a quantitative survey and purposive sampling technique, a sample of 217 responses were drawn from five large scale banks in Pakistan. SPSS PROCESS macro was used to examine the hypotheses through Model 6. The findings affirmed the serial mediation as SRHRM positively influenced organizational pride, which in turn enhance the organizational identification and consequently lead to higher psychological well-being. The findings of this study are helpful for organizations that want to enhance employees’ well-being. This study has also highlighted the potential importance of Organisational pride and identification, especially concerning employee well-being. Thus, it contributes to the existing literature by testing a sequential model to understand the association between SRHRM, organizational pride, organizational identification, and employees Psychological well-being.

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