Topic Editors

1. H & TRC—Health & Technology Research Center, ESTeSL—Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Saúde, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, 1990-096 Lisbon, Portugal
2. Public Health Research Centre, NOVA National School of Public Health, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, 1099-085 Lisbon, Portugal
3. Comprehensive Health Research Center (CHRC), NOVA Medical School, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, 1169-056 Lisbon, Portugal
H&TRC—Health & Technology Research Center, ESTeSL—Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, 1990-096 Lisbon, Portugal

Assessing Indoor Pollution and Its Impacts on the Human Health

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closed (19 January 2022)
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Indoor air pollution is a menace to human health, causing diverse health outcomes, and the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has increased the awareness of this topic’s importance. Several pollutants can result in indoor air pollution, and they can be generated indoors due occupants’ activities and include carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), aerosol, biological pollutants, and many others. Thus, it is of critical importance to identify their main sources and concentrations and to conceive strategies for the control increasing indoor air quality (IAQ). Identification and discussion of health issues related to an IAQ decline, as well as novel solutions for IAQ monitoring, will be also covered as hot topics in this Topic.

Prof. Dr. Carla Viegas
Prof. Dr. Elisabete Carolino
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • indoor pollutants
  • indoor air quality
  • health outcomes
  • control measures
  • indoor air quality monitoring

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Atmosphere
atmosphere
2.9 4.1 2010 17.7 Days CHF 2400
Pollutants
pollutants
- - 2021 21.7 Days CHF 1000
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
ijerph
- 5.4 2004 29.6 Days CHF 2500

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Published Papers (36 papers)

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12 pages, 2632 KiB  
Article
Enzyme Activities in Reduction of Heavy Metal Pollution from Alice Landfill Site in Eastern Cape, South Africa
by Nontobeko Gloria Maphuhla, Francis Bayo Lewu and Opeoluwa Oyehan Oyedeji
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12054; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912054 - 23 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1694
Abstract
Heavy metals are unbreakable, and most of them are poisonous to animals and people. Metals are particularly concerning among environmental contaminants since they are less apparent, have extensive effects on ecosystems, are poisonous, and bioaccumulate in ecosystems, biological tissues, and organs. Therefore, there [...] Read more.
Heavy metals are unbreakable, and most of them are poisonous to animals and people. Metals are particularly concerning among environmental contaminants since they are less apparent, have extensive effects on ecosystems, are poisonous, and bioaccumulate in ecosystems, biological tissues, and organs. Therefore, there is a need to use biological agents and phytoremediation processes such as enzymes because they have a high potential for effectively transforming and detoxifying polluting substances. They can convert pollutants at a detectable rate and are potentially suitable for restoring polluted environments. We investigated heavy metal concentrations in different soil samples collected in four sections in Alice and determined the enzyme activity levels present in the soil. The Pearson correlation analysis was conducted to check whether there was any relationship between heavy metal concentrations and enzyme activities in the soil. Samples were randomly collected in three weeks, and the microwave digestion method was used for sample treatment and preparation. Quantitation was achieved by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The enzyme assay through incubation method was implemented for discovering the four selected enzymes (urease, invertase, catalase, and phosphatase), and their activity levels were examined colorimetrically by colorimetry spectrophotometer. The ICP-MS results revealed 16 predominating elements, namely: Al, Ba, Ca, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Sr, and Zn, and the presence of a non-mental, which is phosphorus (P), and a metalloid in the form of silicon (Si) in all soil samples. Significant differences in metal concentrations were observed among the collection sites. The Al, Fe, K, Mg, and Ca concentrations were above WHO’s permissible limits. While Ba, Mn, Na, and P were in moderate concentration, Cu, Cr, Co, Zn, Sr, and Ni were in small amounts recorded mostly below the permissible values from WHO. Four soil enzyme activities were determined successfully (urease, invertase, phosphatase, and catalase). A negative non-significant correlation existed between urease, invertase, phosphatase enzyme activity, and the concentration levels of all selected metals (Al, Ba, Ca, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Cr, Sr, and Zn. In contrast, the content of catalase activity was associated non-significantly but positively with the range of selected heavy metals. This study suggests proper monitoring of residences’ areas, which can provide detailed information on the impact of high heavy metal content on people’s health. They are easily dispersed and can accumulate in large quantities in the soil. The necessary implementation of waste management programs will help the municipality adopt a strategy that will promote recycling programs and protect the residence health from this threat. Full article
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22 pages, 3969 KiB  
Article
Exposure to Air Pollution from Road Traffic and Incidence of Respiratory Diseases in the City of Meknes, Morocco
by Ibrahim El Ghazi, Imane Berni, Aziza Menouni, Mohammed Amane, Marie-Paule Kestemont and Samir El Jaafari
Pollutants 2022, 2(3), 306-327; https://doi.org/10.3390/pollutants2030020 - 4 Jul 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3810
Abstract
For monitoring spatio-temporal variations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) content, passive diffusive samplers have been deployed in 14 near-road and residential sites for 14 days. In parallel with the winter campaign to measure the NO2 tracer, road traffic counting sessions were carried [...] Read more.
For monitoring spatio-temporal variations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) content, passive diffusive samplers have been deployed in 14 near-road and residential sites for 14 days. In parallel with the winter campaign to measure the NO2 tracer, road traffic counting sessions were carried out on the city’s main roads. The coupling of the results of the measurement campaigns and the counting sessions under Arcgis 9.3 made it possible to determine the areas most affected by automobile pollution and to carry out a high spatial resolution mapping of the pollutant prospected. The results of this study show that atmospheric NO2 concentrations reach maximum values in the city center and decrease towards its periphery. The analysis of the epidemiological situation of the principal diseases related to air pollution in the city of Meknes during the study period (2010–2014) showed that among subjects aged five years and older, acute respiratory diseases occurred more in women than men. The most affected age group was between 15 and 49 years, while asthma attacks were noted mainly among women aged 50 years and older. Acute respiratory illness and asthma attacks were prevalent in the winter and fall. Among children under five years of age, the age group most affected by pneumonia was those under 11 months. Our integrative approach combined spatialized GIS-based health indicators of these diseases, the location of stationary and mobile sources of air pollution, and measured NO2 levels. This combination has made it possible to detect that residents in areas with heavy road traffic are likely to be more affected than those in areas near industrial activity. The habitat type also contributes significantly to the development and exacerbation of the pathologies studied, especially in the districts of the old Medina. Full article
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10 pages, 652 KiB  
Article
Positive Effect of Air Purifier Intervention on Baroreflex Sensitivity and Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease: A Randomized Crossover Intervention Trial
by Sang-Yong Eom, Aryun Kim, Ju-Hee Lee, Sang Min Kim, Sang-Yeub Lee, Kyung-Kuk Hwang, Hyun-Joung Lim, Myeong-Chan Cho, Yong-Dae Kim, Jang-Whan Bae, Jun Hyung Kim and Dae-In Lee
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7078; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127078 - 9 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1921
Abstract
Exposure to fine particulate matter increases the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Few studies have tested the beneficial effect of indoor air filtration intervention in patients with cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of air filtration [...] Read more.
Exposure to fine particulate matter increases the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Few studies have tested the beneficial effect of indoor air filtration intervention in patients with cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of air filtration on mitigating cardiovascular health in patients with coronary artery disease. This randomized, double-blind, crossover study is conducted with 38 coronary artery disease patients. The intervention consists of the following three periods: two-week active and sham air filtration interventions, with a two-week washout period. The indoor PM2.5 concentration is continuously monitored during the entire study period. We measure the blood pressure, heart rate variability, baroreflex sensitivity, autonomic function test results, and endothelial function. The two-week active air filtration intervention for two weeks reduces the average indoor concentration of PM2.5 by 33.9%. The indoor PM2.5 concentration is significantly correlated to cross-correlation baroreflex sensitivity. Active air filtration is significantly associated with a decrease in the indicator of oxidative stress represented as 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine. This study shows that a short-term air filtration intervention improved baroreflex sensitivity and might reduce oxidative stress in coronary artery disease patients. These findings suggest that the use of an air purifier could mitigate the recurrence of cardiovascular disease events in patients with coronary artery disease. Full article
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11 pages, 1474 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Mercury Content in Various Types of Tea (Camellia sinensis) and Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis)
by Barbara Brodziak-Dopierała and Agnieszka Fischer
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5491; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095491 - 1 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2096
Abstract
Due to the content of active ingredients, teas can be used prophylactically, but most of all they are consumed for taste reasons. As with food or water, these products can be contaminated with heavy metals, including mercury. Mercury (Hg) is a toxic element, [...] Read more.
Due to the content of active ingredients, teas can be used prophylactically, but most of all they are consumed for taste reasons. As with food or water, these products can be contaminated with heavy metals, including mercury. Mercury (Hg) is a toxic element, it causes many side effects in the human body depending on the form of Hg, which can include respiratory failure, kidney damage, neurological disorders. At the cellular level, Hg and its compounds lead to a disturbance of metabolism and cell death. The aim of the study was to evaluate the mercury concentration of tea (Camellia sinensis) and Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis). Eighty-six samples were collected and analyzed, including the following kinds: black, green, white, Pu-erh, and Yerba Mate. The samples came from Poland. The Hg concentration was determined with an AMA 254 atomic absorption spectrometer. The study showed that the Hg content in each tea sample averaged 2.47 μg/kg. The Hg concentration in the tested types of tea differed significantly statistically (p = 0.000). It was the largest in Yerba Mate, followed by green, Pu-erh, and white tea, and was the smallest in black tea. Statistically significant differences in the Hg content (p = 0.004) were also dependent on the form of the product; in leaf tea samples, the concentration of Hg (2.54 µg/kg) was higher than in tea bags (1.16 µg/kg). The Hg concentration determined in the tested samples does not exceed the permitted EU standard. Consuming these teas poses no health risk in terms of the amount of Hg. Full article
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9 pages, 368 KiB  
Article
Surveillance of Indoor Air Concentration of Volatile Organic Compounds in Luxembourgish Households
by Daniel Alvarez-Vaca, Radu Corneliu Duca, Alicia Borras-Santos, Emilie Hardy, Matteo Creta, Carole Eicher, Laurence Wurth, Anne Vergison and An Van Nieuwenhuyse
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5467; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095467 - 30 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1872
Abstract
Exposure to air pollution is a well-known health risk. For instance, volatile and very volatile organic compounds (VOCs and VVOCs) are known to cause respiratory, haematologic or immune diseases, and even cancer. Based on the Luxembourgish indoor pollution surveillance program, we performed an [...] Read more.
Exposure to air pollution is a well-known health risk. For instance, volatile and very volatile organic compounds (VOCs and VVOCs) are known to cause respiratory, haematologic or immune diseases, and even cancer. Based on the Luxembourgish indoor pollution surveillance program, we performed an exploratory analysis for the period 2014–2019, in order (1) to evaluate the prevalence of VOCs and VVOCs in households, and (2) to estimate the risks of lifelong exposure to selected VOCs on the health of the adult population. The database included 715 indoor air samples from 159 different households. Observed VOC and VVOC levels were similar to those in neighbouring countries. Our health impact assessment identified some health risks associated with the observed concentrations in Luxembourg. Furthermore, this study shows the major public health importance of having a national indoor pollution surveillance system in place. Highlights: (1) This study provides an overview of the domestic indoor pollution in Luxembourg. (2) (V)VOCs levels in Luxembourg were similar to those in neighbouring countries. (3) The results clearly show the importance of having a surveillance system in place. Full article
16 pages, 3646 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Ecological and Human Health Risks Posed by Heavy Metals in Street Dust of Madrid City (Spain)
by María José Delgado-Iniesta, Pura Marín-Sanleandro, Elvira Díaz-Pereira, Francisco Bautista, Miriam Romero-Muñoz and Antonio Sánchez-Navarro
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5263; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095263 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2002
Abstract
In this work, sampling was carried out in the urban area of Madrid to analyze the content of total heavy metals (Zn, Pb, Cu, Cr, Ni, and Cd) in the street dust. Contamination was evaluated using various indices, such as the Contamination Factor [...] Read more.
In this work, sampling was carried out in the urban area of Madrid to analyze the content of total heavy metals (Zn, Pb, Cu, Cr, Ni, and Cd) in the street dust. Contamination was evaluated using various indices, such as the Contamination Factor (CF), Enrichment Factor (EF), Geo-accumulation Index (Igeo), Potential Ecological Risk Index (RI), Pollution Load Index (PLI), the Human Health Index Hazard Index (HI), and Cancer Risk (CR). Pollution indices were related to traffic density and color. Traffic density was the factor that most influenced the values of the pollution indexes, but no significant differences were found with the color of street dust. The concentration of heavy metals in the urban dust of Madrid had the following sequence: Zn (895) > Cu (411) > Pb (290) > Cr (100) > Ni (42) > Cd (1.25 mg kg−1). The pollution levels were high or very high in Pb, Zn, and Cd regarding the environmental pollution indexes. Ingestion was the main route of exposure to heavy metals contained in street dust. The CR for adults and children is less than 1 × 10−6, which means that there is no risk for the population. However, the HI was 10 times higher in children than in adults. Full article
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14 pages, 850 KiB  
Article
Association between Wood and Other Biomass Fuels and Risk of Low Birthweight in Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey Data
by Joshua Epuitai, Katherine E. Woolley, Suzanne E. Bartington and G. Neil Thomas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4377; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074377 - 5 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1905
Abstract
In utero exposure to household air pollution (HAP) from polluting cooking fuels has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes including low birthweight (LBW). No previous study in Uganda has attempted to investigate the association between the different types of biomass cooking fuels and [...] Read more.
In utero exposure to household air pollution (HAP) from polluting cooking fuels has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes including low birthweight (LBW). No previous study in Uganda has attempted to investigate the association between the different types of biomass cooking fuels and LBW. This study was conducted to investigate the association between wood and other biomass cooking fuel use with increased risk of LBW, using the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey for 15,270 live births within five years prior to interview. LBW, defined as birthweight of <2500 g, was estimated from maternal recall and health cards. Association between household exposure to the different solid biomass cooking fuels and LBW was determined using multivariable logistic regression. Biomass cooking fuels were used in 99.6% of the households, with few (0.3%) using cleaner fuels and 0.1% with no cooking, while the prevalence of LBW was 9.6% of all live-births. Although the crude analysis suggested an association between wood fuel use and LBW compared to other biomass and kerosene fuel use (AOR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.67–1.00), after adjusting for socio-demographic and obstetric factors, no association was observed (AOR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.72–1.22). LBW was significantly more likely among female neonates (AOR: 1.32 (95% CI: 1.13–1.55) and neonates born to mothers living in larger households (AOR: 1.03; 95% CI: 1.00–1.07). LBW was significantly less likely among neonates delivered at term (AOR: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.31–0.49), born to women with secondary or tertiary level of education (AOR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.64–1.00), living in households with a higher wealth index (AOR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.50–0.96), Eastern (AOR: 0.76; 95% CI:0.59–0.98) and Northern (AOR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.57–0.99) regions. The study findings suggest inconclusive evidence regarding the association between the use of wood compared to other biomass and kerosene cooking fuels and risk of LBW. Given the close observed association between socioeconomic status and LBW, the Ugandan government should prioritize public health actions which support female education and broader sustainable development to improve household living standards in this setting. Full article
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14 pages, 639 KiB  
Article
Cleaning Products Commonly Used in Oklahoma Family Child Care Homes: Implications for Respiratory Risk and Children’s Health
by Cassandra D. Querdibitty, Marianna S. Wetherill, Susan B. Sisson, Bethany Williams, Kan Aithinne, Haeyn Seo, Nancy R. Inhofe, Janis Campbell, Megan Slawinski and Alicia L. Salvatore
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4299; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074299 - 3 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2588
Abstract
Little is known about the cleaning products used by early care and education programs that contribute to childhood asthma, particularly in Oklahoma where rates of uncontrolled asthma are higher than national rates (60.0% vs. 50.3%, respectively). We conducted a cross-sectional study of cleaning [...] Read more.
Little is known about the cleaning products used by early care and education programs that contribute to childhood asthma, particularly in Oklahoma where rates of uncontrolled asthma are higher than national rates (60.0% vs. 50.3%, respectively). We conducted a cross-sectional study of cleaning products used by Oklahoma-licensed family child care homes (FCCHs) (n = 50) to characterize and identify potential respiratory-health risks associated with chemical contents. Overall, 386 chemicals were abstracted from the 132 reported products. Of these, 100 unique chemicals were identified. Four percent (4.2%) of providers used a product with a sensitizer that may cause allergy or asthma symptoms if inhaled and 35.4% used a product with an irritant that may cause irritation to the respiratory tract. Most (62.5%) reported using a product with a chemical that had a C=C double bond in its molecular structure that may make it highly reactive with other substances in the air and produce secondary air pollutants and 83.3% reported using a sodium hypochlorite containing product. Twenty-three percent reported products that contain carcinogens. Policy, educational, and technical assistance interventions are needed to promote the use of safer products and reduce respiratory and other health risks posed by chemicals in Oklahoma FCCHs. Full article
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12 pages, 1100 KiB  
Article
Facing the Realities of Pragmatic Design Choices in Environmental Health Studies: Experiences from the Household Air Pollution Intervention Network Trial
by William Checkley, Shakir Hossen, Ghislaine Rosa, Lisa M. Thompson, John P. McCracken, Anaite Diaz-Artiga, Kalpana Balakrishnan, Suzanne M. Simkovich, Lindsay J. Underhill, Laura Nicolaou, Stella M. Hartinger, Victor G. Davila-Roman, Miles A. Kirby, Thomas F. Clasen, Joshua Rosenthal, Jennifer L. Peel and on behalf of Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) Investigators
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 3790; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19073790 - 23 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3356
Abstract
Objective: Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) investigators tested a complex, non-pharmacological intervention in four low- and middle-income countries as a strategy to mitigate household air pollution and improve health outcomes across the lifespan. Intervention households received a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stove, [...] Read more.
Objective: Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) investigators tested a complex, non-pharmacological intervention in four low- and middle-income countries as a strategy to mitigate household air pollution and improve health outcomes across the lifespan. Intervention households received a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stove, continuous fuel delivery and regular behavioral reinforcements for 18 months, whereas controls were asked to continue with usual cooking practices. While HAPIN was designed as an explanatory trial to test the efficacy of the intervention on four primary outcomes, it introduced several pragmatic aspects in its design and conduct that resemble real-life conditions. We surveyed HAPIN investigators and asked them to rank what aspects of the design and conduct they considered were more pragmatic than explanatory. Methods: We used the revised Pragmatic Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary (PRECIS-2) to survey investigators on the degree of pragmatism in nine domains of trial design and conduct using a five-point Likert rank scale from very explanatory (1) to very pragmatic (5). We invited 103 investigators. Participants were given educational material on PRECIS-2, including presentations, papers and examples that described the use and implementation of PRECIS-2. Results: Thirty-five investigators (mean age 42 years, 51% female) participated in the survey. Overall, only 17% ranked all domains as very explanatory, with an average (±SD) rank of 3.2 ± 1.4 across domains. Fewer than 20% of investigators ranked eligibility, recruitment or setting as very explanatory. In contrast, ≥50% of investigators ranked the trial organization, delivery and adherence of the intervention and follow-up as very/rather explanatory whereas ≤17% ranked them as rather/very pragmatic. Finally, <25% of investigators ranked the relevance of outcomes to participants and analysis as very/rather explanatory whereas ≥50% ranked then as rather/very pragmatic. In-country partners were more likely to rank domains as pragmatic when compared to investigators working in central coordination (average rank 3.2 vs. 2.8, respectively; Wilcoxon rank-sum p < 0.001). Conclusion: HAPIN investigators did not consider their efficacy trial to be rather/very explanatory and reported that some aspects of the design and conduct were executed under real-world conditions; however, they also did not consider the trial to be overly pragmatic. Our analysis underscores the importance of using standardized tools such as PRECIS-2 to guide early discussions among investigators in the design of environmental health trials attempting to measure efficacy. Full article
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132 pages, 2076 KiB  
Review
Particulate Matter in Swine Barns: A Comprehensive Review
by Xufei Yang, Noor Haleem, Augustina Osabutey, Zhisheng Cen, Karlee L. Albert and Daniel Autenrieth
Atmosphere 2022, 13(3), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13030490 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4441
Abstract
Particulate matter (PM) represents an air quality management challenge for confined swine production systems. Due to the limited space and ventilation rate, PM can reach relatively high concentrations in swine barns. PM in swine barns possesses different physical, chemical, and biological characteristics than [...] Read more.
Particulate matter (PM) represents an air quality management challenge for confined swine production systems. Due to the limited space and ventilation rate, PM can reach relatively high concentrations in swine barns. PM in swine barns possesses different physical, chemical, and biological characteristics than that in the atmosphere and other indoor environments. As a result, it exerts different environmental and health effects and creates some unique challenges regarding PM measurement and mitigation. Numerous research efforts have been made, generating massive data and information. However, relevant review reports are sporadic. This study aims to provide an updated comprehensive review of swine barn PM, focusing on publications since 1990. It covers various topics including PM characteristics, sources, measurement methods, and in-barn mitigation technologies. As PM in swine barns is primarily of biological origins, bioaerosols are reviewed in great detail. Relevant topics include bacterial/fungal counts, viruses, microbial community composition, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes, endotoxins, and (1→3)-β-D-glucans. For each topic, existing knowledge is summarized and discussed and knowledge gaps are identified. Overall, PM in swine barns is complicated in chemical and biological composition and highly variable in mass concentrations, size, and microbial abundance. Feed, feces, and skins constitute the major PM sources. Regarding in-barn PM mitigation, four technologies (oil/water sprinkling, ionization, alternation of feed and feeders, and recirculating air filtration) are dominant. However, none of them have been widely used in commercial barns. A collective discussion of major knowledge gaps and future research needs is offered at the end of the report. Full article
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9 pages, 598 KiB  
Article
The Association between the Occurrence of Asthma and Antecedents of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Previous Year in Children: An Incidence-Density Study
by Hayat Bentouhami, Lidia Casas and Joost Weyler
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2888; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052888 - 2 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2029
Abstract
In previous studies, the strength of the association between childhood asthma and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) differed depending on the way ETS was assessed and the type of study conducted. We investigated the relationship between asthma occurrence in children and recent exposure to [...] Read more.
In previous studies, the strength of the association between childhood asthma and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) differed depending on the way ETS was assessed and the type of study conducted. We investigated the relationship between asthma occurrence in children and recent exposure to ETS based on an incidence-density study driven by the explicit formulation of a theoretical design. Additionally, we assessed whether the relationship is modified by perinatal ETS exposure and parental inhalation atopy. The event was conceptualized as ‘first doctor’s diagnosis of asthma’. Population time was probed by sampling population moments. Exposure to ETS was conceptualized as recent exposure (1 year prior to diagnosis or at sampling) and perinatal exposure (in utero and/or during the first year of life). Thirty-nine events and 117 population moments were included. There was no indication for effect modification by perinatal exposure to ETS or parental inhalation atopy. After adjustment for confounding, an association was observed between occurrence of a first asthma diagnosis and recent ETS exposure: incidence-density ratio 4.94 (95% confidence interval 1.21, 20.13). Asthma occurrence in children is associated with recent exposure to ETS, and this association seems not to be modified by perinatal ETS exposure or parental inhalation atopy. Full article
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11 pages, 616 KiB  
Article
Household Air Pollution and High Blood Pressure: A Secondary Analysis of the 2016 Albania Demographic Health and Survey Dataset
by Mustapha S. Abba, Chidozie U. Nduka, Seun Anjorin and Olalekan A. Uthman
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2611; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052611 - 24 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2002
Abstract
Background: Hypertension is a significant public health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to examine the association between household air pollution (HAP) and blood pressure using data from the 2016 Albania Demographic Health and Survey (DHS). Methods: We computed [...] Read more.
Background: Hypertension is a significant public health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to examine the association between household air pollution (HAP) and blood pressure using data from the 2016 Albania Demographic Health and Survey (DHS). Methods: We computed the odds ratio (OR) for the prevalence of hypertension between respondents exposed to clean fuels (e.g., electricity, liquid petroleum gas, natural gas, and biogas) and respondents exposed to polluting fuel (e.g., kerosene, coal/lignite, charcoal, wood, straw/shrubs/grass, and animal dung). Result: The results show that participants exposed to household polluting fuels in Albania were 17% more likely to develop hypertension than those not exposed to household air pollution (OR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.24). Subgroup analysis revealed that the odds of hypertension were more significant among women (OR = 1.22, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.31), rural residents (OR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.22), and participants aged >24 years (OR = 1.35, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.62) who were exposed to household polluting fuels compared to their counterparts who were not exposed. In summary, the results of the study show significant associations between household air pollution and hypertension risk overall, especially among women, rural dwellers, and people aged >24 years in Albania. Conclusion: In this study, an association between household air pollution and the risk of hypertension was found, particularly among low-income households, those with no education, women, and those who live in rural areas. Full article
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14 pages, 1785 KiB  
Article
Association between Bone Lead Concentration and Aggression in Youth from a Sub-Cohort of the Birth to Twenty Cohort
by Nonhlanhla Tlotleng, Nisha Naicker, Angela Mathee, Andrew C. Todd, Palesa Nkomo and Shane A. Norris
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042200 - 15 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2030
Abstract
Background: An association between blood-lead levels and aggression has been demonstrated in children and adolescent youth in South Africa. However, there are limited studies that have assessed aggression as an outcome for cumulative lead exposure using bone lead concentration. This study aims to [...] Read more.
Background: An association between blood-lead levels and aggression has been demonstrated in children and adolescent youth in South Africa. However, there are limited studies that have assessed aggression as an outcome for cumulative lead exposure using bone lead concentration. This study aims to assess the association between bone lead concentration and aggressive behaviour among a sample of youth in South Africa. Methods: Bone lead in 100 participants (53 males and 47 females) recruited and followed in the Birth to Twenty (BT20) Cohort were measured using 109 Cd-based, K-shell X-ray fluorescence (KXRF). The Buss–Perry Aggression questionnaire was used to measure aggressive behaviour. Linear regression models were fitted to determine the association between aggression score for physical, verbal, anger and hostility and bone lead, adjusting for known confounders. Results: A one-microgram-per-gram increase in bone lead was found to increase the score for all four scales of aggression, but significantly only for anger (β = 0.2 [95% CI 0.04–0.370]). Psychosocial factors such as a history of family violence and exposure to neighbourhood crime were significant predictors for aggression. Conclusions: The study provides a preliminary overview of the relationship between cumulative lead exposure and behavioural problems such as aggression. A larger sample, across exposed communities, may prove more definitive in further investigating the association between these two important public health factors and to maximize generalizability. Full article
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9 pages, 1231 KiB  
Review
Sources of Polonium 210Po and Radio-Lead 210Pb in Human Body in Poland
by Alicja Boryło, Bogdan Skwarzec and Jarosław Wieczorek
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 1984; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19041984 - 10 Feb 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2246
Abstract
This article contains and discusses the results of research on the source of polonium 210Po and radio-lead 210Pb in the human body of adults living in Poland. An adult inhabitant of Poland receives an effective annual radiation dose of 309 µSv [...] Read more.
This article contains and discusses the results of research on the source of polonium 210Po and radio-lead 210Pb in the human body of adults living in Poland. An adult inhabitant of Poland receives an effective annual radiation dose of 309 µSv from inhalation and absorption of 210Po and 210Pb. The main sources of both radionuclides in the body is cigarette and marijuana smoking. In terms of food, the consumption of fish, cereals, vegetables and fruit as well as mushrooms have the largest contribution to annual dose. This study highlights the importance of cigarette smoking and the growing importance of marijuana hash smoking as the main source of 210Po and 210Pb for adults living in Poland. The calculated dose that results from the decay of both radionuclides in body is 1/10 of the annual radiation dose received by a Polish inhabitant from natural sources (2.8 mSv) and is almost five times lower than the dose resulting from the inhalation of 222Rn. Full article
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17 pages, 737 KiB  
Article
Does Use of Solid Cooking Fuels Increase Family Medical Expenses in China?
by Boqiang Lin and Kai Wei
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031649 - 31 Jan 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3179
Abstract
China has tried to replace solid fuels with cleaner energy in households. The benefits of fuel switching need to be identified. This article shows that households using solid cooking fuels suffer heavier medical expenses than those using non-solid cooking fuels. After accounting for [...] Read more.
China has tried to replace solid fuels with cleaner energy in households. The benefits of fuel switching need to be identified. This article shows that households using solid cooking fuels suffer heavier medical expenses than those using non-solid cooking fuels. After accounting for family characteristics, using solid fuels is associated with 1.4–1.9% increases in medical care. Through the analysis of the impact mechanism, we found that solid cooking fuels harm the health conditions of family members and increase the probability of illness, thereby increasing medical expenses, while the ratio of fuel fees does not change significantly if switching cooking fuels. Furthermore, we explored heterogeneity to better understand the underlying relationship. For urban and higher-educated families with house ownership, the impact of solid fuels on medical expenses was weaker compared to rural and lower-educated households without owned houses. Therefore, considering the costs and benefits, we recommend continuing the conversion from solid fuels to non-solid fuels. In the fuel transition process, it is beneficial to raise residents’ awareness and improve behavior to avoid indoor air pollution. Full article
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15 pages, 1825 KiB  
Article
Indoor Air Pollution Increases the Risk of Lung Cancer
by Ke-Cheng Chen, Shih-Wei Tsai, Ruei-Hao Shie, Chian Zeng and Hsiao-Yu Yang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031164 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4762
Abstract
(1) Background: Cooking and burning incense are important sources of indoor air pollutants. No studies have provided biological evidence of air pollutants in the lungs to support this association. Analysis of pleural fluid may be used to measure the internal exposure dose of [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Cooking and burning incense are important sources of indoor air pollutants. No studies have provided biological evidence of air pollutants in the lungs to support this association. Analysis of pleural fluid may be used to measure the internal exposure dose of air pollutants in the lung. The objective of this study was to provide biological evidence of indoor air pollutants and estimate their risk of lung cancer. (2) Methods: We analyzed 14 common air pollutants in the pleural fluid of 39 cases of lung adenocarcinoma and 40 nonmalignant controls by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. (3) Results: When we excluded the current smokers and adjusted for age, the adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were 2.22 (95% confidence interval CI = 0.77–6.44) for habitual cooking at home and 3.05 (95% CI = 1.06–8.84) for indoor incense burning. In females, the adjusted ORs were 5.39 (95% CI = 1.11–26.20) for habitual cooking at home and 6.01 (95% CI = 1.14–31.66) for indoor incense burning. In pleural fluid, the most important exposure biomarkers for lung cancer were naphthalene, ethylbenzene, and o-xylene. (4) Conclusions: Habitual cooking and indoor incense burning increased the risk of lung adenocarcinoma. Full article
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14 pages, 15341 KiB  
Article
Air Pollution Role as Risk Factor of Cardioinhibitory Carotid Hypersensitivity
by Gianfranco Piccirillo, Federica Moscucci and Damiano Magrì
Atmosphere 2022, 13(1), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13010123 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1539
Abstract
Little is known about the impact of air pollution on neuroautonomic system. The authors have investigated possible influence of air pollution and outdoor temperature on the carotid sinus hypersensitivity (CSH), as main cause of neurally mediated syncope in forty-years-old subjects and older. Pollutants’ [...] Read more.
Little is known about the impact of air pollution on neuroautonomic system. The authors have investigated possible influence of air pollution and outdoor temperature on the carotid sinus hypersensitivity (CSH), as main cause of neurally mediated syncope in forty-years-old subjects and older. Pollutants’ concentrations and outdoor temperature of days in which 179 subjects with recurrent syncope underwent carotid sinus massage (CSM) were analyzed. Before this manoeuvre, cardiovascular control by short period heart and blood pressure spectral duration of segment between the end of P and R ECG-waves (PeR) were registred; RR variability on the same short period ECG recordings and their spectral coherence were also analyzed. CSH was found in 57 patients (28 with cardioinhibitory response and 29 subjects showed vasodepressor reaction), while 122 subjects had a normal response. CSM performed during high ozone concentrations was associated with slightly higher risk of cardioinhibitory response (odd ratio 1.012, 95% CI 1.001–1.023, p < 0.05), but neither this or other polluting agent nor outdoor temperature seemed to influence autonomic control in basal resting condition. Thus, ozone seemed to influence response to the CSM in CSH patients and it is probably able to facilitate a cardioinhibitory response, perhaps through an increase of nerve acetylcholine release. P→PR coherence could be useful in predicting a sinus cardioinhibitory hypersensitivity in those cases when CSM is contraindicated. Full article
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13 pages, 1819 KiB  
Article
Determination of Mercury, Methylmercury and Selenium Concentrations in Elasmobranch Meat: Fish Consumption Safety
by Arianna Storelli, Grazia Barone, Rita Garofalo, Antonio Busco and Maria Maddalena Storelli
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 788; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020788 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2436
Abstract
This study measures total mercury (THg), methylmercury (MeHg) and selenium (Se) concentrations in elasmobranch fish from an Italian market with the aim of evaluating the risk-benefit associated with their consumption, using estimated weekly intake (EWI), permissible safety level (MeHgPSL), selenium health [...] Read more.
This study measures total mercury (THg), methylmercury (MeHg) and selenium (Se) concentrations in elasmobranch fish from an Italian market with the aim of evaluating the risk-benefit associated with their consumption, using estimated weekly intake (EWI), permissible safety level (MeHgPSL), selenium health benefit value (HBVSe) and monthly consumption rate limit (CRmm) for each species. THg and Se were analysed by atomic absorption spectrometry, while MeHg was determined by HrGc/Ms. THg and MeHg concentrations ranged from 0.61 to 1.25 μg g−1 w.w. and from 0.57 to 0.97 μg g−1 w.w., respectively, whereas Se levels were 0.49–0.65 μg g−1 w.w. In most samples European Community limits for THg were surpassed, while for MeHg none of the fish had levels above the limit adopted by FAO/WHO. EWIs for THg and MeHg in many cases were above the provisional tolerable weekly intakes (PTWIs). MeHgPSL estimate showed that fish should contain approximately 50% of the concentration measured to avoid exceeding the PTWI. Nevertheless, the HBVSe index indicated that solely skates were safe for human consumption (HBVSe = 3.57–6.22). Our results highlight the importance of a constant monitoring of THg and MeHg level in fish, especially in apex predators, to avoid the risk of overexposure for consumers. Full article
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10 pages, 2256 KiB  
Article
Effect of Air Purification Systems on Particulate Matter and Airborne Bacteria in Public Buses
by Jae Jung Lee, Hyemin Hwang, Suk Chan Hong and Jae Young Lee
Atmosphere 2022, 13(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13010055 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2514
Abstract
The indoor air quality in public transport systems is a major concern in South Korea. Within this context, we investigated the effect of air purification systems on the indoor air quality of intercity buses, one of the most popular transport options in South [...] Read more.
The indoor air quality in public transport systems is a major concern in South Korea. Within this context, we investigated the effect of air purification systems on the indoor air quality of intercity buses, one of the most popular transport options in South Korea. Air purifiers were custom designed and equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to remove particulate matter and ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs) to remove airborne bacteria. To investigate the effectiveness of the air purification systems, we compared concentrations of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), airborne bacteria, and carbon dioxide (CO2) in six buses (three with air purification systems and three without) along three bus routes (BUS1, BUS2, BUS3) in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, between 6 April and 4 May 2021. Compared to the buses without air purification, those with air purification systems showed 34–60% and 25–61% lower average concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10, respectively. In addition, buses with air purification systems had 24–78% lower average airborne bacteria concentrations compared to those without air purification systems (when measured after 30 min of initial purification). Full article
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11 pages, 6355 KiB  
Article
Negative Ion Purifier Effects on Indoor Particulate Dosage to Small Airways
by Mengjie Duan, Lijuan Wang, Xingyan Meng, Linzhi Fu, Yi Wang, Wannian Liang and Li Liu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010264 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3747
Abstract
Indoor air quality is an important health factor as we spend more than 80% of our time indoors. The primary type of indoor pollutant is particulate matter, high levels of which increase respiratory disease risk. Therefore, air purifiers are a common choice for [...] Read more.
Indoor air quality is an important health factor as we spend more than 80% of our time indoors. The primary type of indoor pollutant is particulate matter, high levels of which increase respiratory disease risk. Therefore, air purifiers are a common choice for addressing indoor air pollution. Compared with traditional filtration purifiers, negative ion air purifiers (NIAPs) have gained popularity due to their energy efficiency and lack of noise. Although some studies have shown that negative ions may offset the cardiorespiratory benefits of air purifiers, the underlying mechanism is still unclear. In this study, we conducted a full-scale experiment using an in vitro airway model connected to a breathing simulator to mimic inhalation. The model was constructed using computed tomography scans of human airways and 3D-printing technology. We then quantified the effects of NIAPs on the administered dose of 0.5–2.5 μm particles in the small airway. Compared with the filtration purifier, the NIAP had a better dilution effect after a 1-h exposure and the cumulative administered dose to the small airway was reduced by 20%. In addition, increasing the negative ion concentration helped reduce the small airway exposure risk. NIAPs were found to be an energy-efficient air purification intervention that can effectively reduce the small airway particle exposure when a sufficient negative ion concentration is maintained. Full article
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22 pages, 7750 KiB  
Article
Study of Relationships between Ceiling Smoke Leakage Rate and Evacuation Time in the Ward
by Shuo-Hong Liu, Ching-Yuan Lin and Ying-Ji Chuang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 13280; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413280 - 16 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2128
Abstract
With reference to the requirements of CNS 15038 and testing principles, this study proposes a set of equipment for measuring the leakage volume of ceilings and provides detailed assembly specifications for future users. In this study, a total of 405 tests were conducted [...] Read more.
With reference to the requirements of CNS 15038 and testing principles, this study proposes a set of equipment for measuring the leakage volume of ceilings and provides detailed assembly specifications for future users. In this study, a total of 405 tests were conducted as part of a set of experiments for measuring the leakage volume of ceilings, using various ceiling materials, ceiling sizes, and construction methods, in conjunction with the principles of fluid mechanics, to propose a method for evaluating the leakage volume of ceilings of various sizes and materials. Two cases—bottom-up airflow and top-down airflow—were considered. According to our research findings, in the case of bottom-up airflow, the pressure difference, panel weight, and panel size were correlated with the leakage volume; the more significant the pressure difference, the larger the leakage volume; the heavier the panel weight, the more minor the leakage volume; and the larger the panel size, the more significant the leakage volume. On the other hand, in the case of top-down airflow, different leakage volumes were observed for different ceiling materials, even if the ceiling size was identical. On the other hand, when the ceiling material was the same, and the ceiling size was different, there was not a positive relationship between the leakage volume and a larger panel size; instead, the leakage volume observed for the largest panel was the smallest. Finally, in this study we propose a volumetric leakage assessment table for assessing a ceiling as a whole, which can be utilized by engineers in the future to calculate the smoke leakage value and to estimate the smoke fall time for ward escape designs. Full article
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12 pages, 1325 KiB  
Article
Direct and Indirect Effects of Indoor Particulate Matter on Blood Indicators Related to Anemia
by Youngrin Kwag, Shinhee Ye, Jongmin Oh, Dong-Wook Lee, Wonho Yang, Yangho Kim and Eunhee Ha
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 12890; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182412890 - 7 Dec 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2604
Abstract
Exposure to indoor particulate matter (PM) is a potential risk factor that increases systemic inflammation and affects erythropoiesis. This study investigated the association between exposure to indoor PM and blood indicators related to anemia (BIRA) in housewives. Indoor PM and blood folate status [...] Read more.
Exposure to indoor particulate matter (PM) is a potential risk factor that increases systemic inflammation and affects erythropoiesis. This study investigated the association between exposure to indoor PM and blood indicators related to anemia (BIRA) in housewives. Indoor PM and blood folate status are important factors in the risk of anemia. This was a housewife cohort study; we recruited 284 housewives in Seoul and Ulsan, Republic of Korea. Indoor exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 was measured by gravimetric analysis and sensors. We investigated the BIRA, such as hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular Hb (MCH), and mean corpuscular Hb concentration (MCHC). Statistical analysis was performed by multiple linear regression model and mediation analysis. The association between BIRA and PM was assessed by multiple linear regression models fitted by mediation analyses. The increase in the level of indoor PM2.5 was associated with a decrease in MCV (Beta coefficient (B): −0.069, Standard error (SE): 0.022) and MCH (B: −0.019, SE: 0.009) in gravimetric measurements. The increase in the level of indoor PM2.5 was associated with a decrease in Hb (B: −0.024, SE: 0.011), hematocrit (B: −0.059, SE: 0.033), and MCV (B: −0.081, SE: 0.037) and MCH (B: −0.037, SE: 0.012) in sensor measurements (PM2.5-Lag10). Further, we identified a serum folate-mediated PM effect. The indoor PM exposure was significantly associated with decreased Hb, MCV, and MCH in housewives. Taken together, our data show that exposure to indoor PM is a risk factor for anemia in housewives. Blood folate concentration can be a mediating factor in the effect of indoor PM on BIRA. Therefore, folate intake should be recommended to prevent anemia in housewives. Moreover, indoor PM exposure should be managed. Full article
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15 pages, 4578 KiB  
Article
Primary and Secondary Emissions of VOCs and PAHs in Indoor Air from a Waterproof Coal-Tar Membrane: Diagnosis and Remediation
by Rafael Piñeiro, Eva Jimenez-Relinque, Roman Nevshupa and Marta Castellote
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12855; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312855 - 6 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2207
Abstract
Primary and secondary emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from a waterproof coal tar membrane and their effect on the indoor air quality were investigated through a case study in a residential building situated in Madrid, Spain. The [...] Read more.
Primary and secondary emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from a waterproof coal tar membrane and their effect on the indoor air quality were investigated through a case study in a residential building situated in Madrid, Spain. The air contaminants were analyzed in situ using photoionization method and several samples of contaminants were taken using three sorbents: activated carbon, XAD2 and Tenax GR. It was found that various VOCs such as toluene, p- and m-Xylene, PAHs such as naphthalene, methyl-naphthalenes, acenaphthene, acenaphthylene, phenanthrene and fluorine, volatile organic halogens including chloroform and trichlorofluoromethane, and alkylbenzene (1,2,4-trimethylbenzene) were found at concentrations, which exceeded the limits established by international and national agencies (WHO, EPA, OSHA). Some of the above organic compounds were found also in the samples of construction and building materials, which were obtained at different heights and places. The analysis of possible sources of the contaminants pointed at the original coal-tar membrane, which was applied on the terrace to be waterproof. During a posterior reparation the membrane was coated with a new one that hindered dissipation of emitted contaminants. The contaminants leached out and were absorbed by construction materials down in the dwelling. These materials then acted as secondary emission sources. To remediate the emission problem as the contaminated materials were removed and then a ventilation system was installed to force the gasses being emitted from the rest of contaminated slab outside. Follow-up has validated the success of the remediation procedure. Full article
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11 pages, 426 KiB  
Article
Reduction in Indoor Airborne Endotoxin Concentration by the Use of Air Purifier and Its Relationship with Respiratory Health: A Randomized Crossover Intervention Study
by Yoshiko Yoda, Kenji Tamura, Naruhito Otani, Hideki Hasunuma, Shoji F. Nakayama and Masayuki Shima
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1523; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12111523 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2270
Abstract
Endotoxins are biological components of particulate matter that cause adverse respiratory system effects. Recently, air purifiers have been widely used; however, their effects on endotoxins are not fully understood. We conducted a randomized crossover intervention study to evaluate the effects of air purifiers [...] Read more.
Endotoxins are biological components of particulate matter that cause adverse respiratory system effects. Recently, air purifiers have been widely used; however, their effects on endotoxins are not fully understood. We conducted a randomized crossover intervention study to evaluate the effects of air purifiers on indoor endotoxins and occupants’ respiratory health. Thirty-two healthy subjects were randomly assigned to two groups; each group spent four weeks using either a true or sham (filter removed) air purifier. Subsequently, the subjects spent an additional four weeks using the alternative air purifier. The indoor endotoxins in fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10–2.5) particulate matter were continuously collected, and pulmonary function was tested repeatedly during the study period. Household characteristics were assessed using a questionnaire. The geometric mean of the PM2.5 endotoxin concentrations was 0.13 EU/m3, which was significantly lower with true purifiers compared with sham purifiers, after adjusting for household characteristics (0.17 EU/m3). In addition, the PM2.5 endotoxin concentrations were significantly greater in reinforced concrete houses than in wooden houses. The PM10–2.5 endotoxin concentrations were significantly greater in homes with two or more household members, and in those with pets. No association was found between endotoxin concentration and respiratory health among the subjects. Full article
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13 pages, 1714 KiB  
Article
Volatile Organic Compounds in Primary Schools in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Characterization and Health Risk Assessment
by Khang H. Lu, Danh C. Vu, Quang T. Nguyen and Xuyen T. Vo
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1421; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12111421 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2521
Abstract
Limited information about exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in primary schools in Vietnam is available. In this study, we aimed to characterize indoor VOCs in four primary schools situated in Ho Chi Minh City, a metropolis in the south of Vietnam and [...] Read more.
Limited information about exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in primary schools in Vietnam is available. In this study, we aimed to characterize indoor VOCs in four primary schools situated in Ho Chi Minh City, a metropolis in the south of Vietnam and assess health risks linked to the students’ exposure to VOCs. Indoor and outdoor air samples were collected in the schools and analyzed for volatile composition using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Different classes of VOCs, including aromatic hydrocarbons, alkanes, aldehydes, esters, cyclic terpenes, and chlorinated hydrocarbons, were identified and quantified in classrooms of the schools. The results showed that the concentrations of the VOCs differed significantly among the schools and between ground-floor and first floor classrooms. In addition, VOC profiles differed considerably between air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned classrooms. Limonene, a compound associated with fragrance products, was the most abundant VOC, with the median (range) concentration of 26.12 (10.29, 50.08) μg/m3. The concentrations of the compounds examined in the study were in general found to be higher indoors compared with outdoors, signifying indoor emission sources. Potential harmful effects are expected as a result of exposure to benzene, ethylbenzene, naphthalene, 1,4-dichlorobenzene and tetrachloroethylene in the investigated schools. Further research is needed to fully assess the health risks to students, teachers, and staff in these educational environments. Full article
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11 pages, 1018 KiB  
Article
Use of Theory-Driven Report Back to Promote Lung Cancer Risk Reduction
by Luz Huntington-Moskos, Mary Kay Rayens, Amanda T. Wiggins, Karen M. Butler and Ellen J. Hahn
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10648; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010648 - 11 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2036
Abstract
Report back is active sharing of research findings with participants to prompt behavior change. Research on theory-driven report back for environmental risk reduction is limited. The study aim is to evaluate the impact of a stage-tailored report back process with participants who had [...] Read more.
Report back is active sharing of research findings with participants to prompt behavior change. Research on theory-driven report back for environmental risk reduction is limited. The study aim is to evaluate the impact of a stage-tailored report back process with participants who had high home radon and/or air nicotine levels. An observational one-group pre-post design was used, with data collection at 3, 9, and 15 months post intervention. Participants from the parent study (N = 515) were randomized to the treatment or control group and this sample included all 87 treatment participants who: (1) had elevated radon and/or air nicotine at baseline; and (2) received stage-tailored report back of their values. Short-term test kits measured radon; passive airborne nicotine samplers assessed secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure. Stage of action was categorized as: (1) ‘Unaware’, (2) ‘Unengaged’, (3) ‘Deciding’, (4) ‘Action’, and (5) ‘Maintenance’. Interventions were provided for free, such as in-person radon and SHS test kits and a brief telephonic problem-solving consultation. Stage of action for radon mitigation and smoke-free policy increased from baseline to 3 months and remained stable between 3 and 9 months. Stage of action for radon was higher at 15 months than baseline. Among those with high baseline radon, observed radon decreased by 15 months (p < 0.001). Tailored report back of contaminant values reduced radon exposure and changed the health behavior necessary to remediate radon and SHS exposure. Full article
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16 pages, 2346 KiB  
Article
Insecticidal Efficacy of Microbial-Mediated Synthesized Copper Nano-Pesticide against Insect Pests and Non-Target Organisms
by Perumal Vivekanandhan, Kannan Swathy, Adelina Thomas, Eliningaya J. Kweka, Afroja Rahman, Sarayut Pittarate and Patcharin Krutmuang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10536; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910536 - 8 Oct 2021
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 3835
Abstract
Currently, medical and stored grain pests are major concerns of public health and economies worldwide. The synthetic pesticides cause several side effects to human and non-target organisms. Copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) were synthesized from an aqueous extract of Metarhizium robertsii and screened for insecticidal [...] Read more.
Currently, medical and stored grain pests are major concerns of public health and economies worldwide. The synthetic pesticides cause several side effects to human and non-target organisms. Copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) were synthesized from an aqueous extract of Metarhizium robertsii and screened for insecticidal activity against Anopheles stephensi, Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus, Tenebrio molitor and other non-target organisms such as Artemia salina, Artemia nauplii, Eudrilus eugeniae and Eudrilus andrei. The synthesized copper nano-particles were characterized using, UV-vis spectrophotometer, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Energy Dispersive X-Ray analysis (EDaX), High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope (HR-SEM) and Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) analysis. Insects were exposed to 25 μg/mL concentration produced significant mortality against larvae of A. stephensi, A. aegypti, C. quinquefasciatus and T. molitor. The lower toxicity was observed on non-target organisms. Results showed that, M. robertsii mediated synthesized CuNPs is highly toxic to targeted pests while they had lower toxicity were observed on non-target organisms. Full article
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13 pages, 1800 KiB  
Article
Air Pollution and Outdoor Recreation on Urban Trails: A Case Study of the Elizabeth River Trail, Norfolk
by James E. McCann, Chris A. B. Zajchowski, Eddie L. Hill and Xihe Zhu
Atmosphere 2021, 12(10), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12101304 - 7 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2300
Abstract
Poor air quality represents a significant health risk for individuals engaging in recreation activities outdoors in urban parks and trails. This study investigated temporal variability in particulate matter (PM) exposure along an urban waterfront trail. We also used recreation choice frameworks to examine [...] Read more.
Poor air quality represents a significant health risk for individuals engaging in recreation activities outdoors in urban parks and trails. This study investigated temporal variability in particulate matter (PM) exposure along an urban waterfront trail. We also used recreation choice frameworks to examine the effects of visitors’ perceptions of air quality (AQ) and health benefits on trail use. Average air quality during the collection period was “good” (PM10) to “moderate” (PM2.5). We found that PM density was significantly higher (p < 0.001), though still in the “moderate” range, at 7–9 a.m., 11 a.m.–1 p.m., and 3–5 p.m., and on weekends. Visitors’ self-reported perceptions of health outcomes, but not air quality, significantly predicted trail use. Results suggest that these experiential factors may affect recreational choices depending on other factors, such as salience. Further research is merited to determine how experiential factors can be integrated with other theories of motivation to understand recreational decision-making. Full article
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6 pages, 703 KiB  
Article
Limonene Emissions: Do Different Types Have Different Biological Effects?
by Neda Nematollahi, Perran A. Ross, Ary A. Hoffmann, Spas D. Kolev and Anne Steinemann
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10505; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910505 - 7 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3441
Abstract
Limonene is one of the most abundant pollutants indoors, and it contributes to the formation of additional pollutants, such as formaldehyde and photochemical smog. Limonene is commonly used in fragranced consumer products, such as cleaning supplies and air fresheners, which have also been [...] Read more.
Limonene is one of the most abundant pollutants indoors, and it contributes to the formation of additional pollutants, such as formaldehyde and photochemical smog. Limonene is commonly used in fragranced consumer products, such as cleaning supplies and air fresheners, which have also been associated with health problems. Limonene can exist in different enantiomeric forms (R-limonene and S-limonene) and be derived from different sources. However, little is known about whether different forms and sources of limonene may have different effects. This research explored whether different types of limonene, at the same concentrations, could elicit different biological effects. To investigate this question, the study employed Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which have sophisticated olfactory abilities, in olfactometer tests of repellency/attraction. The results indicate that a synthetic source of R-limonene is more repellent than a natural source of R-limonene. In addition, synthetic sources of both R-limonene and S-limonene are not significantly different in repellency. These findings can contribute to our understanding and further exploration of the effects of a common fragrance compound on air quality and health. Full article
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13 pages, 1134 KiB  
Article
Urinary Concentrations of Bisphenol Mixtures during Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes: The MAKE Study
by Seyoung Kim, Eunjung Park, Eun-Kyo Park, Seulbi Lee, Jeoung-A Kwon, Bo-Hye Shin, Sora Kang, Eun-Young Park and Byungmi Kim
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10098; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910098 - 26 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2344
Abstract
Bisphenols are endocrine disruptors that may be associated with altered fetal growth in humans, and they have similar biological functions to mimic hormones. In addition, aggregated chemicals showed an adverse effect although individual concentration was at a low level. However, most studies between [...] Read more.
Bisphenols are endocrine disruptors that may be associated with altered fetal growth in humans, and they have similar biological functions to mimic hormones. In addition, aggregated chemicals showed an adverse effect although individual concentration was at a low level. However, most studies between bisphenols and birth outcomes have focused on the effect of individual bisphenol. Thus, we explored the associations of urinary bisphenol mixtures with birth outcomes. We conducted a prospective birth cohort study in South Korea. One hundred eighty mother-infant pairs were recruited from 2017 to 2019. Bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol F (BPF), and bisphenol S (BPS) in one spot urine were analyzed using ultra-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. We used two statistical approaches to examine potential associations of BPA, BPF, and BPS with birth weight and gestational age: (1) multivariable linear regression; (2) Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR). The geometric means of BPA, BPF, and BPS were 2.1, 0.2, and 0.1 μg/L, respectively. In stratified linear analyses by each median value, a higher BPF was positively associated with birth weight (g) (β = 125.5; 95% CI: 45.0 to 205.9). Mixture analyses using BKMR suggested an inverse association between bisphenol mixtures and birth weight. Our findings suggest that in utero bisphenol exposure may influence birth weight and that such relationships may differ considering non-linearity and the combined effect. Full article
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18 pages, 6208 KiB  
Article
In Situ Measurement of Airborne Particle Concentration in a Real Dental Office: Implications for Disease Transmission
by Maryam Razavi, Zahid Ahmad Butt, Helen Chen and Zhongchao Tan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 8955; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18178955 - 25 Aug 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2420
Abstract
Aerosols generated during dental procedures are one of the most significant routes for infection transmission and are particularly relevant now in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of an indoor air purifier on dental aerosol dispersion in [...] Read more.
Aerosols generated during dental procedures are one of the most significant routes for infection transmission and are particularly relevant now in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of an indoor air purifier on dental aerosol dispersion in dental offices. The spread and removal of aerosol particles generated from a specific dental operation in a dental office are quantified for a single dental activity in the area near the generation and corner of the office. The effects of the air purifier, door condition, and particle sizes on the spread and removal of particles were investigated. The results show that, in the worst-case scenario, it takes 95 min for 0.5-μm particles to settle and that it takes a shorter time for the larger particles. The air purifier expedited the removal time at least 6.3 times faster than the case with no air purifier in the generation zone. Our results also indicate that particles may be transported from the source to the rest of the room even when the particle concentrations in the generation zone dropped back to the background. Therefore, it is inaccurate to conclude that indoor purifiers help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Dental offices still need other methods to reduce the transmission of viruses. Full article
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10 pages, 1326 KiB  
Article
Personal Passive Air Samplers for Chlorinated Gases Generated from the Use of Consumer Products
by Yeonjeong Ha, Yerim Koo and Jung-Hwan Kwon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 8940; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18178940 - 25 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2139
Abstract
Various chlorine-based disinfectants are being used during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, only a few studies on exposure to harmful gases resulting from the use of these disinfectants exist. Previously, we developed a personal passive air sampler (PPAS) to estimate the exposure level to [...] Read more.
Various chlorine-based disinfectants are being used during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, only a few studies on exposure to harmful gases resulting from the use of these disinfectants exist. Previously, we developed a personal passive air sampler (PPAS) to estimate the exposure level to chlorine gas while using chlorinated disinfectants. Herein, we investigated the color development of the passive sampler corresponding to chlorine exposure concentration and time, which allows the general population to easily estimate their gas exposure levels. The uptake and reaction rate of PPAS are also explained, and the maximum capacity of the sampler was determined as 1.8 mol of chlorine per unit volume (m3) of the passive sampler. Additionally, the effects of disinfectant types on the gas exposure level were successfully assessed using passive samplers deployed in a closed chamber. It is noteworthy that the same level of chlorine gas is generated from liquid household bleach regardless of dilution ratios, and we confirmed that the chlorine gas can diffuse out from a gel-type disinfectant. Considering that this PPAS reflects reactive gas removal, individual working patterns, and environmental conditions, this sampler can be successfully used to estimate personal exposure levels of chlorinated gases generated from disinfectants. Full article
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12 pages, 1959 KiB  
Article
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Kuwait: A Five-Year, Retrospective, Epidemiological Study
by Abdullah Al-Matrouk, Ali Al-Hemoud, Mohammed Al-Hasan, Yaqoub Alabouh, Amal Dashti and Haider Bojbarah
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8854; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168854 - 22 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2999
Abstract
Background: Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a major public health concern and a common cause of death worldwide. However, to our knowledge, no studies have been conducted on CO poisoning exposure and mortality in Kuwait. Objectives: Using epidemiological and forensic data analysis, we [...] Read more.
Background: Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a major public health concern and a common cause of death worldwide. However, to our knowledge, no studies have been conducted on CO poisoning exposure and mortality in Kuwait. Objectives: Using epidemiological and forensic data analysis, we investigated the prevalence and characteristics of CO poisoning-associated deaths in Kuwait over five years (2014–2018), using official police data. Methods: The Forensic Toxicology Laboratory analyzed 203 blood specimens of deceased individuals for potential CO poisoning during the study period. We obtained demographic information of the deceased and other information regarding the source of the CO, the type of death and the seasonal and geographical distribution of fatalities. The percentage of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb%) was assessed using a CO-oximeter. Results: CO poisoning was confirmed in ~29% (59 cases) of the analyzed specimens, of which CO poisoning was accidental in the majority of cases (~95%) and homicidal in the remaining of cases (~5%), with no reported suicides. The five-year cumulative mean of COHb% in the blood specimens of the 59 confirmed cases was ~63%. Most of the deceased were males (~68%). The mean age of male and female victims per year were similar (~23–38 years). Fatalities were more common (~44%) during the winter (December–February). Uncontrolled home fires and coal stoves contributed to the primary sources of CO poisoning at 61% and 22%, respectively. Recommendations: Based on our findings, we propose that the local government should mandate the installation of smoke alarms and CO detectors in residential settings and endorse health education, informing the local population about the causes of fire and potential for CO poisoning, with an emphasis on prevention. Practical measures that can be applied include proper installation and regular maintenance of home-heating appliances and appropriate ventilation. The present study could greatly benefit the government in directing efforts toward decreasing CO poisoning incidents in Kuwait in the future. Full article
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11 pages, 1072 KiB  
Article
Bioavailability Assessment of Heavy Metals Using Various Multi-Element Extractants in an Indigenous Zinc Smelting Contaminated Site, Southwestern China
by Jun-Xian Wang, Da-Mao Xu, Rong-Bing Fu and Jia-Peng Chen
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168560 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3014
Abstract
Despite recent studies have investigated the strong influences of smelting activities on heavy metal contamination in the soil environment, little studies have been conducted on the current information about the potential environmental risks posed by toxic heavy metals in smelting contaminated sites. In [...] Read more.
Despite recent studies have investigated the strong influences of smelting activities on heavy metal contamination in the soil environment, little studies have been conducted on the current information about the potential environmental risks posed by toxic heavy metals in smelting contaminated sites. In the present study, a combination of the bioavailability, speciation, and release kinetics of toxic heavy metals in the indigenous zinc smelting contaminated soil were reliably used as an effective tool to support site risk assessment. The bioavailability results revealed that the bioavailable metal concentrations were intrinsically dependent on the types of chemical extractants. Interestingly, 0.02 mol/L EDTA + 0.5 mol/L CH3COONH4 was found to be the best extractant, which extracted 30.21% of Cu, 31.54% of Mn, 2.39% of Ni and 28.89% of Zn, respectively. The sequential extraction results suggested that Cd, Pb, and Zn were the most mobile elements, which would pose the potential risks to the environment. The correlation of metal bioavailability with their fractionation implied that the exchangeable metal fractions were easily extracted by CaCl2 and Mehlich 1, while the carbonate and organic bound metal fractions could be extracted by EDTA and DTPA with stronger chelating ability. Moreover, the kinetic modeling results suggested that the chemical desorption mechanism might be the major factor controlling heavy metal release. These results could provide some valuable references for the risk assessment and management of heavy metals in the smelting contaminated sites. Full article
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14 pages, 3430 KiB  
Article
Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater Northeast of Mexico City: Strategy for Monitoring and Prevalence of COVID-19
by José Roberto González-Reyes, María de la Luz Hernández-Flores, Jesús Eduardo Paredes-Zarco, Alejandro Téllez-Jurado, Omar Fayad-Meneses and Lamán Carranza-Ramírez
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8547; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168547 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2997
Abstract
A month-long wastewater sampling project was conducted along the northeast periphery of Mexico City, specifically in the state of Hidalgo, to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2. To determine the prevalence of infection and obtain a range of COVID-19 cases in the main metropolitan [...] Read more.
A month-long wastewater sampling project was conducted along the northeast periphery of Mexico City, specifically in the state of Hidalgo, to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2. To determine the prevalence of infection and obtain a range of COVID-19 cases in the main metropolitan zones. Viral RNA residues (0–197,655 copies/L) were measured in wastewater from the five central municipalities in the state. By recording the number of RNA viral copies per liter, micro-basins delimitation, demographic and physiological data, an interval of infected people and virus prevalence was estimated using a Monte Carlo model (with 90% confidence) in the micro-basin of five municipalities with metropolitan influence or industrial activity. Our procedure determined that the percentage of the infected population ranges from 1.4% to 41.7%, while the official data reports 0.1–0.3%. This model is proposed as a helpful method of regional epidemiological monitoring through the analysis of viral prevalence. Full article
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10 pages, 636 KiB  
Article
Validity and Reliability of the Korean Version of the Fear of COVID-19 Scale
by Jeong-Won Han, Junhee Park and Hanna Lee
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7402; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147402 - 11 Jul 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2851
Abstract
Background: The present study aimed to translate the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) into the Korean language and test the validity and reliability of the translated Korean version. Methods: An online questionnaire survey was conducted with 300 adults (aged ≥19 years) living in [...] Read more.
Background: The present study aimed to translate the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) into the Korean language and test the validity and reliability of the translated Korean version. Methods: An online questionnaire survey was conducted with 300 adults (aged ≥19 years) living in South Korea. The data collection period was 1 June to 15 October 2020. The Korean version of the FCV-19S (KFCV-19S) was tested in terms of content validity, construct validity, criterion validity, item response theory, and reliability. Results: When the content and construct validity of the FCV-19S was tested, the results showed that all items could be retained in the Korean version. When the criterion validity was tested based on correlation analysis between the KFCV-19S and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the results showed a positive correlation (r = 0.53, p < 0.001). Item suitability test results showed that all items were within the reference value of 0.5–1.5. Internal consistency reliability test results showed a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.81. Conclusion: The applicability of the KFCV-19S for identifying the level of fear Korean people experience regarding COVID-19 was verified. This tool is recommended for use in future assessments of Korean populations regarding levels of fear and anxiety regarding COVID-19. Full article
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