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Advances in Hazardous Waste and Human Health

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2023) | Viewed by 27046

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of Computing, Engineering & Physical Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley PA1 2BE, UK
Interests: environmental geochemistry and health; behavior and transport of pollutants in atmospheric, aquatic, and terrestrial environments; policy related to environmental regulation (waste and environmental management); contaminated land risk and remediation; urban management; environmental and public health
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wastes containing substances or having properties that may be harmful to human health and the environment are classified as hazardous in many legislative domains. Linking these substances to human exposure and identifying health effects is a scientific challenge that has followed from centuries of human activity. We are only now starting to understand the long-term consequences. We are interested in identifying the critical areas of environmental interest and the regulation and management of hazardous wastes. Topics covering health protection including the proper management of specific categories such as healthcare waste and electrical waste, the correlation between exposure to toxins and acute and chronic diseases, the role of biomarkers in signaling, environmental pressures, and increased risks of chronic health effects are of interest. These may also be of use in establishing health surveillance programs and supporting environmental risk assessment. Emerging pollutants and strategies for their elimination, informal practices, and the global impacts of regional waste management decisions are also relevant. Please consider contributing up-to-date reviews and your latest research findings on all relevant aspects. 

Prof. Dr. Andrew S. Hursthouse
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biomedical/environmental/chemical engineering
  • biotechnology
  • waste management
  • risk assessment
  • public health
  • biomarkers
  • ecology/environment
  • environmental health
  • pollution/remediation
  • toxicology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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25 pages, 4022 KiB  
Article
Variable Neighborhood Search for Multi-Cycle Medical Waste Recycling Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows
by Wanting Zhang, Ming Zeng, Peng Guo and Kun Wen
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12887; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912887 - 8 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1999
Abstract
Background: Improper disposal of urban medical waste is likely to cause a series of neglective impacts. Therefore, we have to consider how to improve the efficiency of urban medical waste recycling and lowering carbon emissions when facing disposal. Methods: This paper considers the [...] Read more.
Background: Improper disposal of urban medical waste is likely to cause a series of neglective impacts. Therefore, we have to consider how to improve the efficiency of urban medical waste recycling and lowering carbon emissions when facing disposal. Methods: This paper considers the multi-cycle medical waste recycling vehicle routing problem with time windows for preventing and reducing the risk of medical waste transportation. First, a mixed-integer linear programming model is formulated to minimize the total cost consisting of the vehicle dispatch cost and the transportation costs. In addition, an improved neighborhood search algorithm is designed for handling large-sized problems. In the algorithm, the initial solution is constructed using the Clarke–Wright algorithm in the first stage, and the variable neighborhood search algorithm with a simulated annealing strategy is introduced for exploring a better solution in the second stage. Results: The computational results demonstrate the performance of the suggested algorithm. In addition, the total cost of recycling in the periodic strategy is lower than with the single-cycle strategy. Conclusions: The proposed model and algorithm have the management improvement value of the studied medical waste recycling vehicle routing problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
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10 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
Disparities in Healthcare Utilization: Superfund Site vs. Neighboring Comparison Site
by Crystal Stephens, Young-il Kim, Rekha Ramachandran, Monica L. Baskin, Veena Antony and Sejong Bae
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9271; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159271 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2015
Abstract
Inequities in pollution-attributable health disparities are similar in most urban areas throughout the United States, and appear to encompass racial and socio-demographic differences, thereby suggesting increased health risks for those living in these areas. Individuals residing in close proximity to Superfund sites, predominantly [...] Read more.
Inequities in pollution-attributable health disparities are similar in most urban areas throughout the United States, and appear to encompass racial and socio-demographic differences, thereby suggesting increased health risks for those living in these areas. Individuals residing in close proximity to Superfund sites, predominantly people of color, are increasingly stricken with lung diseases. The prevalence of chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma in children, and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI), is significantly higher in the affected area compared to the neighboring control area, irrespective of smoking, socio-economic status, or demographics. We conducted a retrospective analysis using data collected from patients who obtained healthcare from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System. The data were procured from the Enterprise Data Warehouse (UAB Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2)). We evaluated healthcare utilization and classification of disease (defined by ICD-10 codes) of patients residing in zip codes: affected (35207, 35217) and neighboring comparison (35214). The results of the analysis may provide evidence that can be used for risk mitigation strategies or outreach education campaign(s) for those who live in the affected area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
15 pages, 721 KiB  
Article
Household Drug Management Practices of Residents in a Second-Tier City in China: Opportunities for Reducing Drug Waste and Environmental Pollution
by Yumei Luo, Kai Reimers, Lei Yang and Jinping Lin
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8544; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168544 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3017
Abstract
The total amount of drug waste is expanding significantly as populations age and societies become wealthier. Drug waste is becoming a problem for health and the environment. Thus, how to reduce and effectively dispose of drug waste is increasingly becoming an issue for [...] Read more.
The total amount of drug waste is expanding significantly as populations age and societies become wealthier. Drug waste is becoming a problem for health and the environment. Thus, how to reduce and effectively dispose of drug waste is increasingly becoming an issue for society. This study focuses on household drug management, which involves five sub-practices: selection, purchasing, using, storing, and disposing of drugs. A questionnaire survey was conducted in a second-tier Chinese city that reveals both problems and opportunities in these five sub-practices. The results show that consumers are aware of significant issues with regard to the safe and effective use of drugs as well as with regard to proper ways of disposing of and recycling drugs. Moreover, our analysis reveals promising opportunities for addressing these issues by developing novel services based on the idea of connecting the five involved sub-practices of household drug management. Connecting and adjusting practices in this manner can be seen as an important factor in reducing drug waste and pharmaceutical pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
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11 pages, 500 KiB  
Article
Spatial Spillover Effects of Air Pollution on the Health Expenditure of Rural Residents: Based on Spatial Durbin Model
by Bo Sun and Bo Wang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7058; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137058 - 1 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2689
Abstract
Background: Air pollution is one source of harm to the health of residents, and the impact of air pollution on health expenditure has become a hot topic worldwide. However, few studies aim at the spatial spillover effects of air pollution on the health [...] Read more.
Background: Air pollution is one source of harm to the health of residents, and the impact of air pollution on health expenditure has become a hot topic worldwide. However, few studies aim at the spatial spillover effects of air pollution on the health expenditure of rural residents (HE-RR), including the impact on the health expenditure in neighboring areas. Objective: Based on the existing research, this paper further introduces the spatial dimension and uses the Spatial Durbin model to discuss the impact of environmental pollution on the health expenditure of rural residents (HE-RR). Methods: Based on provincial panel data during 2002–2015 in China, the Spatial Durbin model was used to investigate the spatial spillover effect of the average annual concentration of PM2.5 (AAC-PM2.5) on the health expenditure of rural residents (HE-RR). Results: There was a significant positive correlation between AAC-PM2.5 and health expenditure of rural residents (HE-RR) in neighboring areas at a significant level of 5% (COEF: 2.546, Z: 2.340), that is, AAC-PM2.5 has a spatial spillover effect on PC-HE-RR in neighboring areas, and the spatial spillover effect is greater than the direct effect. The migration and diffusion of PM2.5 pollution will affect the air quality of neighboring areas, leading to the health risk not only from the local PM2.5 pollution but also the nearby PM2.5 pollution. Conclusion: The results show a significant positive relationship between air pollution and HE-RR in neighboring areas, and the spatial spillover effect is greater than the direct effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
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Review

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14 pages, 743 KiB  
Review
Composting of Organic Solid Waste of Municipal Origin: The Role of Research in Enhancing Its Sustainability
by Grazia Policastro and Alessandra Cesaro
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010312 - 25 Dec 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4885
Abstract
The organic solid waste of municipal origin stands as one of the residual streams of greatest concern: the great amounts continuously produced over time as well as its biochemical and physical characteristics require its proper handling via biological processes, pursuing the recovery of [...] Read more.
The organic solid waste of municipal origin stands as one of the residual streams of greatest concern: the great amounts continuously produced over time as well as its biochemical and physical characteristics require its proper handling via biological processes, pursuing the recovery of material and/or the generation of energy. At the European level, most of the industrial plants treating the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) rely on composting, which is a well-established and reliable process that is easy to operate in different socio-economic contexts. Nevertheless, when regarded in a life cycle perspective as well as in the view of the principles of circular economy underlying waste management, several issues (e.g., the presence of toxic substances in compost) can be recognized as technical challenges, requiring further studies to identify possible sustainable solutions. This work aims at discussing these challenges and figuring out the state of the art of composting in a circular perspective. Firstly, the main mentioned issues affecting compost quality and process sustainability are briefly reviewed. Next, to promote the effective use of composting in light of the circular economy principles, research experiences are critically presented to highlight the current technical challenges concerning the environmental and health impact reduction and possible scientific perspectives to overcome issues affecting the compost quality. Based on the critical analysis of reviewed studies, it emerged that further research should be aimed at unveiling the hazard potential of emerging contaminants as well as to address the understanding of the mechanisms underlying their potential removal during composting. Moreover, the adoption of a multidisciplinary perspective in the design of research studies may play a key role towards the definition of cost-effective and environmentally friendly strategies to overcome the technical issues affecting the process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
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22 pages, 865 KiB  
Review
A Future Perspective on Waste Management of Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles in Lao PDR: Current Status and Challenges
by Vongdala Noudeng, Nguyen Van Quan and Tran Dang Xuan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 16169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192316169 - 2 Dec 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5551
Abstract
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have become a hot topic worldwide because they are not only the best alternative for energy storage systems but also have the potential for developing electric vehicles (EVs) that support greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction and pollution prevention in the [...] Read more.
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have become a hot topic worldwide because they are not only the best alternative for energy storage systems but also have the potential for developing electric vehicles (EVs) that support greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction and pollution prevention in the transport sector. However, the recent increase in EVs has brought about a rise in demand for LIBs, resulting in a substantial number of used LIBs. The end-of-life (EoL) of batteries is related to issues including, for example, direct disposal of toxic pollutants into the air, water, and soil, which threatens organisms in nature and human health. Currently, there is various research on spent LIB recycling and disposal, but there are no international or united standards for LIB waste management. Most countries have used a single or combination methodology of practices; for instance, pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, direct recycling, full or partial combined recycling, and lastly, landfilling for unnecessary waste. However, EoL LIB recycling is not always easy for developing countries due to multiple limitations, which have been problems and challenges from the beginning and may reach into the future. Laos is one such country that might face those challenges and issues in the future due to the increasing trend of EVs. Therefore, this paper intends to provide a future perspective on EoL LIB management from EVs in Laos PDR, and to point out the best approaches for management mechanisms and sustainability without affecting the environment and human health. Significantly, this review compares the current EV LIB management between Laos, neighboring countries, and some developed countries, thereby suggesting appropriate solutions for the future sustainability of spent LIB management in the nation. The Laos government and domestic stakeholders should focus urgently on specific policies and regulations by including the extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme in enforcement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
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27 pages, 405 KiB  
Review
Recycling Plastics from WEEE: A Review of the Environmental and Human Health Challenges Associated with Brominated Flame Retardants
by Cecilia Chaine, Andrew S. Hursthouse, Bruce McLean, Iain McLellan, Brian McMahon, Jim McNulty, Jan Miller and Evi Viza
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020766 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 5556
Abstract
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) presents the dual characteristic of containing both hazardous substances and valuable recoverable materials. Mainly found in WEEE plastics, brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are a component of particular interest. Several actions have been taken worldwide to regulate their [...] Read more.
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) presents the dual characteristic of containing both hazardous substances and valuable recoverable materials. Mainly found in WEEE plastics, brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are a component of particular interest. Several actions have been taken worldwide to regulate their use and disposal, however, in countries where no regulation is in place, the recovery of highly valuable materials has promoted the development of informal treatment facilities, with serious consequences for the environment and the health of the workers and communities involved. Hence, in this review we examine a wide spectrum of aspects related to WEEE plastic management. A search of legislation and the literature was made to determine the current legal framework by region/country. Additionally, we focused on identifying the most relevant methods of existing industrial processes for determining BFRs and their challenges. BFR occurrence and substitution by novel BFRs (NBFRs) was reviewed. An emphasis was given to review the health and environmental impacts associated with BFR/NBFR presence in waste, consumer products, and WEEE recycling facilities. Knowledge and research gaps of this topic were highlighted. Finally, the discussion on current trends and proposals to attend to this relevant issue were outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hazardous Waste and Human Health)
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