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Water, Health, and Environment

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 July 2023) | Viewed by 34985

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Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: essential oils; bioactive phytochemicals; ethnopharmacology; antimicrobial resistance; one health; food security
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Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy
Interests: water contamination; emerging pollutants; microplastics; integrated online and on-site monitoring; water disinfection; modified electrodes; nanomaterials; electroanalysis
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Water Research Institute of Italian National Research Council, Bari, Italy
Interests: water contamination; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); heavy metals; bioremediation; pollutants monitoring
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increasing interest toward the qualitative aspects of water resources is ascribable to the fact that, in recent decades, a rise in water contamination by thousands of chemicals has been observed globally. Even the least persistent compounds can pose a serious danger to health and the environment if released in large quantities or affected by biotransformations that can increase their toxicity risk. Particular attention has to be devoted to the risk associated with the presence of emerging pollutants in aquatic environments, most of which are polar and biologically active and, actually, not yet regulated. A realistic assessment of the environmental and health risks associated with the presence of these contaminants in the aquatic environments requires evaluations related to their mobility, distribution, and interaction with the biological sphere, with particular regard to the assessment of the actual levels of exposure, of the possible bioaccumulation in living organisms, and the understanding of biological disturbance mechanisms. The presence of complex mixtures of chemicals and their metabolites, documented via the increasing frequency in the aquatic environments, determines the growing difficulty of being able to predict the effects or evaluate the quality of an ecosystem based on chemical analysis alone. Biomolecular and ecotoxicological methods are the appropriate tools for detecting the effects capable of altering the homeostasis of the aquatic ecosystem. The need to develop methodologies based on the coupling of chemical and biological techniques for the study of the complex interactions between toxic substances and environmental factors is increasingly important to guide monitoring activities of water resources, providing information on priorities and management methods, as well as defining suitable and eco-sustainable approaches for recovering contaminated waters.

Since water availability, quality, and safety are essential aspects for human health and the environment, in this Special Issue, the submission of papers focused on innovative methods and strategies for the assessment, monitoring, protection, and recovery of aquatic ecosystems and water resources is encouraged.

Dr. Marcello Iriti
Prof. Dr. Luigi Falciola
Dr. Valeria Ancona
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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.

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Keywords

  • water contamination
  • xenobiotics
  • organic pollutants
  • heavy metals
  • pesticides
  • fertilizers
  • endocrine disruptors
  • emerging water pollutants
  • microplastics
  • water resource monitoring
  • integrated online and on-site monitoring
  • water availability
  • water footprint
  • water disinfection
  • health
  • drinking water sanitation and hygiene
  • waterborne diseases
  • bioremediation
  • aquatic ecosystems
  • ecotoxicology
  • biomolecular and/or ecotoxicological methods

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Published Papers (14 papers)

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18 pages, 2668 KiB  
Article
Environmental, Human and Ecotoxicological Impacts of Different Rice Cultivation Systems in Northern Thailand
by Patharanun Toolkiattiwong, Noppol Arunrat and Sukanya Sereenonchai
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2738; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032738 - 3 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2417
Abstract
Sustainable practices in rice cultivation require effective farming management concerning environmental and human health impacts. In this study, three rice cultivation systems, namely low-land, upland, and terraced rice in the Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province, were assessed and the carbon footprint (CF), [...] Read more.
Sustainable practices in rice cultivation require effective farming management concerning environmental and human health impacts. In this study, three rice cultivation systems, namely low-land, upland, and terraced rice in the Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province, were assessed and the carbon footprint (CF), water footprint (WF), and human and ecotoxicological impacts were compared from pesticide application. The results showed that the highest CF intensity was observed in terraced rice with 1.15 kg CO2eq kg−1 rice yield, followed by lowland rice (1.02 kg CO2eq kg−1 rice yield) and upland rice (0.17 kg CO2eq kg−1 rice yield) fields. Moreover, lowland rice cultivation generated the highest total WF with 1701.6 m3 ton−1, followed by terraced rice (1422.1 m3 ton−1) and upland rice (1283.2 m3 ton−1). The lowland rice fields had the most impact on human health and freshwater ecotoxicity, followed by the terraced and upland rice cultivation systems. The results also showed that most of the pesticides remaining in soils were chlorpyrifos (98.88%), butachlor (96.94%), and fipronil (95.33%), respectively. The substances with the greatest distributions in freshwater were acephate (56.74%), glyphosate (50.90%), and metaldehyde (45.65%), respectively. This study indicated that, with more agricultural inputs, higher CF, WF, human health impacts, and freshwater ecotoxicity were generated. Although the use of pesticides in the study areas did not exceed the recommendations on the packaging, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos are restricted in Thailand, so it is necessary to monitor their use due to their long-term health effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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24 pages, 2202 KiB  
Article
New Approach to Modelling the Impact of Heavy Metals on the European Union’s Water Resources
by Monica Laura Zlati, Lucian Puiu Georgescu, Catalina Iticescu, Romeo Victor Ionescu and Valentin Marian Antohi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010045 - 21 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1948
Abstract
The present research aims to address the highly topical issue of heavy metal water pollution from an integrated European perspective, i.e., to quantify through modelling a general model of water pollution reduction in the EU. The objectives of the study are mainly aimed [...] Read more.
The present research aims to address the highly topical issue of heavy metal water pollution from an integrated European perspective, i.e., to quantify through modelling a general model of water pollution reduction in the EU. The objectives of the study are mainly aimed at identifying effective solutions to reduce heavy metal water pollution and providing supranational decision-makers with public policy directions in the field. The research methods consist of the foundation of working hypotheses based on the study of the literature, the consolidation of official statistical databases in the field, econometric modelling and the conceptualisation of a general model and its testing and validation by statistical methods. The results of the analysis consist of the following marginal contributions: the identification of a general model for combating heavy metal pollution; the calculation of the degree of contribution of regional policies to the general model; and the identification of effective solutions to improve the combating of heavy metal water pollution in Europe. The main conclusion of the analysis shows that significant progress has been achieved at the EU level in the field of combating heavy metal water pollution. However, the level of disparity and poor policy coordination are real vulnerabilities for the EU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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20 pages, 2593 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Metallic Off-Flavors in Drinking Water: Health, Consumption, and Sensory Perception
by Susan Mirlohi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16829; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416829 - 15 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1769
Abstract
Characterization of taste- and flavor-producing metals, namely iron and copper, in drinking water is a multifaceted subject. Both metals are essential nutrients, can be toxic, and are known to produce unpleasant tastes and flavor sensations in drinking water. Ingestion of trace metal contaminants [...] Read more.
Characterization of taste- and flavor-producing metals, namely iron and copper, in drinking water is a multifaceted subject. Both metals are essential nutrients, can be toxic, and are known to produce unpleasant tastes and flavor sensations in drinking water. Ingestion of trace metal contaminants through drinking water is a probable source of human exposure. Biochemical mechanisms of metallic flavor perception have been previously described; however, less is known about how variations in salivary constituents might impact individuals’ sensitivities to metallic flavors and beverage consumption behaviors. This research presents findings from in vitro experiments, using artificial human saliva, to better understand the role of salivary lipids and proteins on metallic flavor production as measured by biomarkers of metal-induced oxidative stress. The results indicate that metal-induced lipid oxidation, as measured by thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), is dominated by salivary proteins, is slightly inhibited in the presence of salivary nitrite, and is detectable by the TBARS method at and above respective concentrations of 9 µM (0.5 mg/L) and 90 µM (5 mg/L), which are both above the aesthetic standards for iron (0.3 mg/L) and copper (1.0 mg/L) in drinking water. Preliminary study with human subjects indicated that reduction in metallic flavor sensitivity, as measured by the best estimate flavor threshold for ferrous iron among 33 healthy adults aged 19–84 years old (22 females), corresponded with reduced drinking water consumption and increased caloric beverage intake among older subjects (>60 years), as determined by a validated self-reported beverage intake questionnaire. These findings provide insights for further research to examine how salivary constituents can impact humans’ sensory abilities in detecting metallic off-flavors in water, and how reduced metallic flavor sensitivity may influence beverage choices and drinking water consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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20 pages, 15719 KiB  
Article
Natural Clay Minerals as Potential Arsenic Sorbents from Contaminated Groundwater: Equilibrium and Kinetic Studies
by Ambrin Rehman, Shah Rukh, Samha Al Ayoubi, Seema Anjum Khattak, Ayaz Mehmood, Liaqat Ali, Ahmad Khan, Kouser Majeed Malik, Abdul Qayyum and Hikmat Salam
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 16292; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192316292 - 5 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1910
Abstract
Arsenic (As) contaminated groundwater is a worldwide concern due to its chronic effects on human health. The objectives of the study were to evaluate natural inexpensive raw laterite (RL) and kaolinite (RK) for their potential use as As sorbents and to understand the [...] Read more.
Arsenic (As) contaminated groundwater is a worldwide concern due to its chronic effects on human health. The objectives of the study were to evaluate natural inexpensive raw laterite (RL) and kaolinite (RK) for their potential use as As sorbents and to understand the As sorption on laterite and kaolinite by employing sorption and kinetic models. Raw laterite and RK were tested for EC, pH, XRF and CEC as basic parameters. Batch sorption and kinetic experiments data were fitted in the sorption (Langmuir and Freundlich) model and kinetic (pseudo-first and pseudo-second order) reaction equations, respectively. Morphological and structural changes were observed in RL and RK samples before and after As saturation by employing FTIR and SEM. The major constituent in RL was Fe and Al oxides while in RK major oxides were silica and Al. The Freundlich sorption model well explained the experimental data, indicating a greater sorption capacity of RL on a hetero-layered surface compared to RK. The kinetic reaction equations showed that equilibrium was achieved after a contact time of 240 min and the adsorption was chemisorption in nature. The RL and RK were found to be effective sorbents for As removal, however, RL showed maximum As adsorption and thus superior in comparison with RK. Structural and morphological characterization reveals the role of Fe and Al oxides in the case of RL, and Al oxides in the case of RK, in the adsorption of As. Hence this study concludes that these naturally occurring inexpensive resources can be used as sorbent agents for As-contaminated drinking water treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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25 pages, 4422 KiB  
Article
Comprehensive Assessment of Tailing Dumps’ Impact on Water Quality of Rivers, Lakes, and Wells from Mining Areas
by Ovidiu Murarescu, Cristiana Radulescu, Ioana Daniela Dulama, George Muratoreanu, Gica Pehoiu, Raluca Maria Stirbescu, Ioan Alin Bucurica, Sorina Geanina Stanescu, Constantin Aurelian Ionescu and Andreea Laura Banica
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(22), 14866; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192214866 - 11 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1711
Abstract
This study is the third in a series of investigations conducted by the authors, and certainly the most comprehensive research regarding the former uranium, copper, and charcoal mines from a particular geographical area of Romania. In this respect, the present scientific incursion focused [...] Read more.
This study is the third in a series of investigations conducted by the authors, and certainly the most comprehensive research regarding the former uranium, copper, and charcoal mines from a particular geographical area of Romania. In this respect, the present scientific incursion focused on two areas containing former extraction uranium ore sites, Ciudanovita and Lisava, as well as copper ore from Moldova Noua and charcoal mines from Anina, Banat Region, Romania. It highlighted that, for the first time, the heavy metal concentration was correlated with the values of physicochemical indicators of water (i.e., EC, DO, pH, resistivity, salinity, and ORP), by using multivariate analysis, to shape a regional based model on spatial distributions and the variability of toxic contaminants from the hydrographic basin of Banat, Romania, as a consequence of former uranium, copper, and charcoal mines. In this regard, 11 metals including Al, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Co, Cu, Zn, Sr, Cd, and Pb from different water samples (well, spring, river, and lake), collected from three mining areas (uranium, copper, and coal mines) were investigated. Non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic health risks of seven heavy metals were assessed using the EDI, DIM, and THQ. The obtained THQ values were within the acceptable limits for cancer risks for adults, but as regards children, eight samples out of 18 proved toxic. However, the HRI and THQ average values for Cd (0.265 adults/0.996 children) and Pb (0.025 adults/0.095 children) for children were 3–4 times higher than those for adults. This is a source of concern as their prevalence in well water exposes children and residents in the Banat Region to the risk of various types of cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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30 pages, 7878 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Shallow Groundwater Quality at Regional Scales Using Adaptive Water Quality Indices
by Petre Bretcan, Danut Tanislav, Cristiana Radulescu, Gheorghe Serban, Serban Danielescu, Michael Reid and Daniel Dunea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710637 - 26 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2516
Abstract
Groundwater, which is the main source of water for human consumption in many rural areas, has its quality determined by the complex interaction of environmental factors and anthropogenic activities. The present study evaluated the quality of shallow groundwater (1 to 25 m depth) [...] Read more.
Groundwater, which is the main source of water for human consumption in many rural areas, has its quality determined by the complex interaction of environmental factors and anthropogenic activities. The present study evaluated the quality of shallow groundwater (1 to 25 m depth) in the rural area of the Târgovişte Plain, a densely populated area (200 inhabitants/km2) using 80 water samples collected from public wells. In order to explain the spatial distribution of the concentrations of the 19 physicochemical parameters considered (including heavy metals), the evaluation of groundwater quality for human consumption and potential impact on human health was conducted using the Water Quality Index (WQI), Integrated Weight Water Quality Index (IwWQI), Total Hazard Index (THI), and cumulative carcinogenic risk (CCR). For the WQI/IwWQI the comparative analysis of the two indices showed that for the WQI, it is important to select an optimal set of parameters, because use of a large number of physicochemical parameters can eclipse the values that exceed WHO guideline limits. In contrast, the use of entropy in the calculation of the IwWQI did not lead to eclipsing of exceedance, no matter the number of parameters used. Areas with poor and very poor groundwater quality according to the WQI/IwWQI overlapped, with a moderate risk to human health (THI > 1) for noncarcinogenic contaminants and also a risk of developing cancer according to the CCR average value (1.15 × 10−2). The health of 43% of the rural population in the Târgovişte Plain can be affected if they drink contaminated groundwater, and it is estimated that about 600 people can develop cancer during their lifetime. If the risk of developing cancer is reduced only in the rural population that does not have access to a water source from a centralized and verified network, the results suggest that 385 people (1.15%) can develop cancer as a result of consuming groundwater contaminated with heavy metals based on the average value of CCR. This value is lower than the general mortality rate in areas with high CCR and below the average number of cancer patients in Romania (2.65%). The quality of groundwater and the risk of developing diseases and cancer due to water consumption is directly proportional to the intensity of agricultural land use and inversely proportional to the depth of the groundwater layer, the distance from the main hydrographic network and the reservoirs, and the distance from the main city, Târgovişte. The complex and integrated analysis of groundwater quality using quality indices and indicators of health risk for the population, validated by hot-spot analysis and compared to the mortality rate, is an approach with practical applicability. This integrated approach allows public authorities, policymakers, and health services to implement an efficient monitoring program and optimize anthropogenic activities in order to prevent groundwater contamination and finally improve the quality of life for the residents in the area of this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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17 pages, 2240 KiB  
Article
Enhanced Natural Attenuation of Groundwater Cr(VI) Pollution Using Electron Donors: Yeast Extract vs. Polyhydroxybutyrate
by Marina Tumolo, Angela Volpe, Natalia Leone, Pietro Cotugno, Domenico De Paola, Daniela Losacco, Vito Locaputo, Maria Concetta de Pinto, Vito Felice Uricchio and Valeria Ancona
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9622; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159622 - 4 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1827
Abstract
Remediation interventions based on the native bacteria’s capability to reduce Cr(VI) represent a valid strategy in terms of economic and environmental sustainability. In this study, a bioremediation test was carried out using viable microcosms set with groundwater and deep soil (4:1), collected from [...] Read more.
Remediation interventions based on the native bacteria’s capability to reduce Cr(VI) represent a valid strategy in terms of economic and environmental sustainability. In this study, a bioremediation test was carried out using viable microcosms set with groundwater and deep soil (4:1), collected from the saturated zone of an industrial site in Southern Italy that was polluted by ~130 µg L−1 of Cr(VI). Conditions simulating the potential natural attenuation were compared to the enhanced natural attenuation induced by supplying yeast extract or polyhydroxybutyrate. Sterile controls were set up to study the possible Cr(VI) abiotic reduction. No pollution attenuation was detected in the unamended viable reactors, whereas yeast extract provided the complete Cr(VI) removal in 7 days, and polyhydroxybutyrate allowed ~70% pollutant removal after 21 days. The incomplete abiotic removal of Cr(VI) was observed in sterile reactors amended with yeast extract, thus suggesting the essential role of native bacteria in Cr(VI) remediation. This was in accordance with the results of Pearson’s coefficient test, which revealed that Cr(VI) removal was positively correlated with microbial proliferation (n = 0.724), and also negatively correlated with pH (n = −0.646), dissolved oxygen (n = −0.828) and nitrate (n = −0.940). The relationships between the Cr(VI) removal and other monitored parameters were investigated by principal component analysis, which explained 76.71% of the total variance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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11 pages, 2828 KiB  
Article
Hydrocalumite as well as the Formation of Scheelite Induced by Its Dissolution, Removing Aqueous Tungsten with Varying Concentrations
by Chen Yang, Qinghai Guo, Yaowu Cao and Georgii A. Chelnokov
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8630; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148630 - 15 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1384
Abstract
As a toxic element, tungsten (W) in elevated concentrations, originating from human activities or geological sources, poses a severe threat to the environment. However, there has been a lack of robust remediation techniques focusing on aqueous tungsten contamination with varying initial concentrations, because [...] Read more.
As a toxic element, tungsten (W) in elevated concentrations, originating from human activities or geological sources, poses a severe threat to the environment. However, there has been a lack of robust remediation techniques focusing on aqueous tungsten contamination with varying initial concentrations, because only recently have the toxicity and the environmental threat of tungsten been fully realized. In this study, the removal of tungsten from an aqueous solution by hydrocalumite was investigated for the first time. Systematic removal experiments were carried out at designated contact time, temperature, and initial tungsten concentration. The results showed that hydrocalumite is capable of effectively removing tungsten under various conditions, especially at high initial tungsten concentrations, with the maximum uptake capacity being up to 1120.5 mg (tungsten)/g (hydrocalumite). The mechanisms of tungsten removal were studied based on the measured chemical compositions of the solution samples and their PHREEQC simulations as well as the solid sample characterization by XRD, SEM–EDX, and XPS. At low initial tungsten concentrations (below 1 mmol/L), anion exchange between the tungsten in solution and the Cl in the hydrocalumite interlayers played a critical role in tungsten removal. At high initial tungsten concentrations (higher than 5 mmol/L), the removal of W from the solution was solely caused by the precipitation of scheelite (CaWO4), facilitated by the substantial release of Ca2+ from hydrocalumite dissolution. At moderate tungsten concentrations (1–5 mmol/L), however, both mechanisms were responsible for the uptake of tungsten, with scheelite precipitation being more important. Hydrocalumite is promising for wide use in the treatment of high-tungsten natural waters or wastewaters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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15 pages, 1107 KiB  
Article
Multi-Level System to Assess Toxicity in Water Distribution Plants
by Gabriele Magara, Katia Varello, Paolo Pastorino, Danila Raffaella Francese, Paola Arsieni, Marzia Pezzolato, Loretta Masoero, Erika Messana, Barbara Caldaroni, Maria Cesarina Abete, Sabina Pederiva, Stefania Squadrone, Antonia Concetta Elia, Marino Prearo and Elena Bozzetta
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148469 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
The toxicity of water samples from water distribution plants needs to be investigated further. Indeed, studies on the pro-oxidant effects driven by tap water are very limited. In this study, the water quality, pro-oxidant effects, and potential health risks driven by exposure to [...] Read more.
The toxicity of water samples from water distribution plants needs to be investigated further. Indeed, studies on the pro-oxidant effects driven by tap water are very limited. In this study, the water quality, pro-oxidant effects, and potential health risks driven by exposure to groundwater samples from two water plants (sites A and B) located in Northwestern Italy were investigated in a multi-level system. Physicochemical parameters and the absence of pathogens, cyanotoxins, and endocrine active substances indicated a good water quality for both sites. The 25 metals analyzed were found under the limit of quantification or compliant with the maximum limits set by national legislation. Water samples were concentrated by the solid-phase extraction system in order to assess the aquatic toxicity on Epithelioma papulosum cyprini (EPC) cell line. Levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione S-transferase, and glutathione reductase were evaluated through the Integrated Biomarkers Response (IBRv2) index. EPC cell line was found a sensible model for assessing the antioxidant responses driven by both water concentrates. A similar antioxidant response was shown by plots and IBRv2 suggesting a muted risk for the two sampling sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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26 pages, 7699 KiB  
Article
Retrieving Inland Reservoir Water Quality Parameters Using Landsat 8-9 OLI and Sentinel-2 MSI Sensors with Empirical Multivariate Regression
by Haobin Meng, Jing Zhang and Zhen Zheng
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7725; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137725 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2836
Abstract
Improving water quality is one of the top priorities in the global agenda endorsed by the United Nations. To ensure the achievement of this goal, governments have developed plans to continuously monitor the status of inland waters. Remote sensing provides a low-cost, high-frequency, [...] Read more.
Improving water quality is one of the top priorities in the global agenda endorsed by the United Nations. To ensure the achievement of this goal, governments have developed plans to continuously monitor the status of inland waters. Remote sensing provides a low-cost, high-frequency, and practical complement to monitoring systems that can cover a large area. However, it is crucial to evaluate the suitability of sensors for retrieving water quality parameters (WQPs), owing to differences in spatial and spectral sampling from different satellites. Taking Shanmei Reservoir in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province as a case study, this study collected and sorted the water quality data measured at the site in 2020 to 2022 and Landsat 8-9 OLI and Sentinel-2 MSI images, simulated the chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration, algae density, and turbidity using empirical multivariate regression, and explored the relationship between different WQPs using correlation analysis and principal component analysis (PCA). The results showed that the fitting effect of Landsat OLI data was better than that of the Sentinel-2 MSI data. The coefficient of determination (R2) values of Chl-a, algal density, and turbidity simulated by Landsat OLI data were 0.70, 0.81, and 0.80, respectively. Furthermore, the parameters of its validation equation were also smaller than those of Sentinel MSI data. The spatial distribution of three key WQPs retrieved from Landsat OLI data shows their values were generally low, with the mean values of the Chl-a concentration, algal density, and turbidity being 4.25 μg/L, 4.11 × 106 cells/L, and 1.86 NTU, respectively. However, from the end of February 2022, the values of the Chl-a concentration and algae density in the reservoir gradually increase, and the risk of water eutrophication also increases. Therefore, it is still necessary to pay continuous attention and formulate corresponding water quality management measures. The correlation analysis shows that the three key WQPs in this study have a high correlation with pH, water temperature (WT), and dissolved oxygen (DO). The results of PCA showed that pH, DO, Chl-a concentration, WT, TN, and CODMn were dominant in PC1, explaining 35.57% of the total variation, and conductivity, algal density, and WT were dominant in PC2, explaining 13.34% of the total variation. Therefore, the water quality of the Shanmei Reservoir can be better evaluated by measuring pH, conductivity, and WT at the monitoring station, or by establishing the regression fitting equations between DO, CODMn, and TN. The regression algorithm used in this study can identify the most important water quality features in the Shanmei Reservoir, which can be used to monitor the nutritional status of the reservoir and provide a reference for other similar inland water bodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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21 pages, 1717 KiB  
Article
History, Socioeconomic Problems and Environmental Impacts of Gold Mining in the Andean Region of Ecuador
by Carlos Mestanza-Ramón, Robinson Ordoñez-Alcivar, Carla Arguello-Guadalupe, Katherin Carrera-Silva, Giovanni D’Orio and Salvatore Straface
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031190 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4565
Abstract
Mining in Ecuadorian territory comprises three stages of Ecuadorian history: pre-Columbian, colonial, and republican times. In its beginnings, this activity did not have regulations or a legal foundation. The first Mining Law dates back to 1830, and it has been modified until the [...] Read more.
Mining in Ecuadorian territory comprises three stages of Ecuadorian history: pre-Columbian, colonial, and republican times. In its beginnings, this activity did not have regulations or a legal foundation. The first Mining Law dates back to 1830, and it has been modified until the most recent update in 2009. The Andean region consists of 10 provinces, 9 of which have registered gold concessions, the most important of which are Loja, Azuay, and in recent years, Imbabura and Pichincha, which are the provinces with the highest number of reported concessions. The objective of this study focused on analyzing the historical and current situation of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASGM) and the emergence of large-scale (industrial) mining. For the elaboration of this study, different methodological techniques were used, such as literature review, field interviews, and expert judgment validation. The main findings show that the provinces of Loja, Azuay, Imbabura, and Pichincha are the most conflictive areas in the region due to the impacts caused by mining activities. In socio-economic terms, there are conflicts between inhabitants in favor and against these activities and problems associated with human health. In environmental terms, the findings suggest historical contamination of water sources by heavy metals, which has altered the surrounding aquatic and terrestrial systems. Finally, the study concludes that implementing public policies should be promoted to balance socio-economic and environmental aspects in gold mining activities in the Andean region of Ecuador, strengthening the use of new technologies and education to raise awareness of the serious effects of mining activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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13 pages, 1408 KiB  
Article
Removal of Arsenic Oxyanions from Water by Ferric Chloride—Optimization of Process Conditions and Implications for Improving Coagulation Performance
by Muhammad Ali Inam, Rizwan Khan, Kang-Hoon Lee and Young-Min Wie
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9812; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189812 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2292
Abstract
The chronic ingestion of arsenic (As) contaminated water has raised significant health concerns worldwide. Iron-based coagulants have been widely used to remove As oxyanions from drinking water sources. In addition, the system’s ability to lower As within the maximum acceptable contamination level (MCL) [...] Read more.
The chronic ingestion of arsenic (As) contaminated water has raised significant health concerns worldwide. Iron-based coagulants have been widely used to remove As oxyanions from drinking water sources. In addition, the system’s ability to lower As within the maximum acceptable contamination level (MCL) is critical for protecting human health from its detrimental effects. Accordingly, the current study comprehensively investigates the performance of As removal under various influencing factors including pH, contact time, temperature, As (III, V) concentration, ferric chloride (FC) dose, and interfering ions. The optimum pH for As (V) removal with FC was found to be pH 6–7, and it gradually decreased as the pH increased. In contrast, As (III) removal increased with an increase in pH with an optimum pH range of 7–10. The adsorption of As on precipitated iron hydroxide (FHO) was better fitted with pseudo-second order and modified Langmuir–Freundlich models. The antagonistic effect of temperature on As removal with FC was observed, with optimum temperature of 15–25 °C. After critically evaluating the optimum operating conditions, the uptake indices of both As species were developed to select appropriate an FC dose for achieving the MCL level. The results show that the relationship between residual concentration, FC dose, and adsorption affinity of the system was well represented by uptake indices. The higher FC dose was required for suspensions containing greater concentration of As species to achieve MCL level. The As (V) species with a greater adsorption affinity towards FHO require a relatively smaller FC dose than As (III) ions. Moreover, the significant influence of interfering species on As removal was observed in simulated natural water. The author hopes that this study may help researchers and the drinking water industry to develop uptake indices of other targeted pollutants in achieving MCL level during water treatment operations in order to ensure public health safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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Review

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29 pages, 573 KiB  
Review
Freshwater as a Sustainable Resource and Generator of Secondary Resources in the 21st Century: Stressors, Threats, Risks, Management and Protection Strategies, and Conservation Approaches
by Doru Bănăduc, Vladica Simić, Kevin Cianfaglione, Sophia Barinova, Sergey Afanasyev, Ahmet Öktener, Grant McCall, Snežana Simić and Angela Curtean-Bănăduc
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16570; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416570 - 9 Dec 2022
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 3736
Abstract
This paper is a synthetic overview of some of the threats, risks, and integrated water management elements in freshwater ecosystems. The paper provides some discussion of human needs and water conservation issues related to freshwater systems: (1) introduction and background; (2) water basics [...] Read more.
This paper is a synthetic overview of some of the threats, risks, and integrated water management elements in freshwater ecosystems. The paper provides some discussion of human needs and water conservation issues related to freshwater systems: (1) introduction and background; (2) water basics and natural cycles; (3) freshwater roles in human cultures and civilizations; (4) water as a biosphere cornerstone; (5) climate as a hydrospheric ‘game changer’ from the perspective of freshwater; (6) human-induced stressors’ effects on freshwater ecosystem changes (pollution, habitat fragmentation, etc.); (7) freshwater ecosystems’ biological resources in the context of unsustainable exploitation/overexploitation; (8) invasive species, parasites, and diseases in freshwater systems; (9) freshwater ecosystems’ vegetation; (10) the relationship between human warfare and water. All of these issues and more create an extremely complex matrix of stressors that plays a driving role in changing freshwater ecosystems both qualitatively and quantitatively, as well as their capacity to offer sustainable products and services to human societies. Only internationally integrated policies, strategies, assessment, monitoring, management, protection, and conservation initiatives can diminish and hopefully stop the long-term deterioration of Earth’s freshwater resources and their associated secondary resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
18 pages, 1284 KiB  
Review
A Systematic Review of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Urban Poor in Low- and Middle-Income Countries during the COVID-19 Pandemic through a Gendered Lens
by Krushna Chandra Sahoo, Shubhankar Dubey, Girish Chandra Dash, Rakesh Kumar Sahoo, Mili Roopchand Sahay, Sapna Negi, Pranab Mahapatra, Debdutta Bhattacharya, Banamber Sahoo, Subhada Prasad Pani, Mariam Otmani del Barrio and Sanghamitra Pati
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 11845; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191911845 - 20 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2993
Abstract
Inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) among urban poor women is a major urban policy concern in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There was a paucity of systematic information on WASH among the urban poor during the pandemic. We reviewed the opportunities and [...] Read more.
Inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) among urban poor women is a major urban policy concern in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There was a paucity of systematic information on WASH among the urban poor during the pandemic. We reviewed the opportunities and challenges faced by the urban poor in LMICs during the COVID-19 pandemic. We used the PRISMA guidelines to conduct a comprehensive search of 11 databases, including MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and CINAHL, between November 2019 and August 2021. We used thematic analysis to synthesize the qualitative data and meta-analyses to estimate the pooled prevalence. We screened 5008 records, conducted a full-text review of 153 studies, and included 38 studies. The pooled prevalence of shared water points was 0.71 (95% CI 0.37–0.97), non-adherence to hygiene practices was 0.15 (95% CI 0.08–0.24), non-adherence to face masks was 0.27 (95% CI 0.0–0.81), and access to shared community toilets was 0.59 (95% CI 0.11–1.00). Insufficient facilities caused crowding and long waiting times at shared facilities, making physical distancing challenging. Women reported difficulty in maintaining privacy for sanitation, as men were present due to the stay-at-home rule. Due to unaffordability, women reported using cloth instead of sanitary pads and scarves instead of masks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water, Health, and Environment)
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