The #ecology of #human – #nature #interactions (Proc Roy Soc B., abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

The ecology of human–nature interactions

Masashi Soga and Kevin J. Gaston

Published: 15 January 2020 / DOI:



The direct interactions between people and nature are critically important in many ways, with growing attention particularly on their impacts on human health and wellbeing (both positive and negative), on people’s attitudes and behaviour towards nature, and on the benefits and hazards to wildlife. A growing evidence base is accelerating the understanding of different forms that these direct human–nature interactions take, novel analyses are revealing the importance of the opportunity and orientation of individual people as key drivers of these interactions, and methodological developments are increasingly making apparent their spatial, temporal and socio-economic dynamics. Here, we provide a roadmap of these advances and identify key, often interdisciplinary, research challenges that remain to be met. We identified several key challenges, including the need to characterize individual people’s nature interactions through their life course, to determine in a comparable fashion how these interactions vary across much more diverse geographical, cultural and socio-economic contexts that have been explored to date, and to quantify how the relative contributions of people’s opportunity and orientation vary in shaping their nature interactions. A robust research effort, guided by a focus on such unanswered questions, has the potential to yield high-impact insights into the fundamental nature of human–nature interactions and contribute to developing strategies for their appropriate management.

Keywords: Environmental pollution; Society.


#Blood #screening for heavy #metals and organic #pollutants in #cancer #patients exposed to #toxic #waste in southern #Italy: A pilot study (J Cell Physiol., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Cellular Physiology, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Blood screening for heavy metals and organic pollutants in cancer patients exposed to toxic waste in southern Italy: A pilot study

Iris Maria Forte,  Paola Indovina,  Aurora Costa,  Carmelina Antonella Iannuzzi,  Luigi Costanzo,  Antonio Marfella,  Serena Montagnaro,  Gerardo Botti,  Enrico Bucci,  Antonio Giordano

First published: 15 December 2019 / DOI:



In Italy, in the eastern area of the Campania region, the illegal dumping and burning of waste have been documented, which could potentially affect the local population’s health. In particular, toxic waste exposure has been suggested to associate with increased cancer development/mortality in these areas, although a causal link has not yet been established. In this pilot study, we evaluated blood levels of toxic heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in 95 patients with different cancer types residing in this area and in 27 healthy individuals. While we did not find any significant correlation between the blood levels of POPs and the provenance of the patients, we did observe high blood concentrations of heavy metals in some municipalities, including Giugliano, where many illegal waste disposal sites have previously been documented. Our results showed that patients with different cancer types from Giugliano had higher blood levels of heavy metals than healthy controls. Despite the obvious limitations of this exploratory study, our preliminary observations encourage further research assessing the possible association between exposure to hazardous waste, increased blood metals, and increased risk of cancer.


Open Research

DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT: The data sets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.

Keywords: Toxic chemicals; Environmental pollution; Environmental disasters; Italy; Cancer.


#PCB levels in #adipose tissue of #dogs from illegal #dumping sites in #Campania region (Italy) (Chemosphere, abstract)

[Source: Chemosphere, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Chemosphere / Volume 244, April 2020, 125478

PCB levels in adipose tissue of dogs from illegal dumping sites in Campania region (Italy)

Maria Carmela Ferrante b1, Paola Di Vaio a1, Elisa Magli a, Francesco Frecentese a, Rosaria Meli a, Giuseppe Caliendo a, Angela Corvino a, Ferdinando Fiorino a, Flavia Giordano a, Anna Monnolo b, Irene Saccone a, Vincenzo Santagada a, Beatrice Severino a, Giacomo Calabria d, Cosimo Manzo c, Elisa Perissutti a

{a} Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, Via D. Montesano, 49, 80131, Naples, Italy; {b} Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, University of Naples Federico II, Via Delpino, 1, 80137, Naples, Italy; {c} Avantech Group s.r.l, Via Masuccio Salernitano, 28, 84012, Angri (SA), Italy; {d} Veterinary Clinic “Giacomo Calabria VET”, Via S. Francesco D’Assisi, 41, 80034, Marigliano (NA), Italy

Received 1 April 2019, Revised 19 November 2019, Accepted 25 November 2019, Available online 27 November 2019.

Handling Editor: Andreas Sjodin




  • PCB concentrations in dog’s adipose tissue from an area with illegal waste dumping.
  • Animals like sentinels for biomonitoring of PCBs.
  • PCB concentrations positively related to cancer disease.



The aim of the study is to investigate the potential relationship between exposure to PCBs and cancer. In doing so we relied on a sample of dogs coming from a peculiar area of the Campania region (Italy), that has been suffering for illegal waste dumping and open air burning of plastic waste for many years. The latter determined the release of organic and inorganic pollutants, such as the PCBs. By comparing dogs with cancer and healthy dogs, we found much higher PCB concentrations in the former, with a significant difference (p < 0.05) for the non-indicator ∑10NDL-PCB and the DL-PCBs. A regression analysis, controlling for three potentially confounding factors, that are sex, age and weight, confirmed the higher ∑10NDL-PCB concentration in dogs with cancer. Hence, our evidence suggests a potential health hazard for animals and likewise people living in a risky area due to the presence of environmental organic pollutants.

Keywords: Sentinel animals – Dogs – Campania region – Polychlorinated biphenyls – Cancer

(1) These two authors equally contributed.

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Environmental pollution; Environmental disaster; Cancer; Italy; Dogs.


#Air #pollution and chronic #airway #disease: is the #evidence always clear? (Lancet, summary)

[Source: The Lancet, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Air pollution and chronic airway disease: is the evidence always clear?

Prof Peter Burney, MD, André F S Amaral, PhD

Published: November 21, 2019 / DOI:



Air pollution has become a major cause for concern to the public. Since the 1980s, when interest in the topic was low, there has been heavy investment in research, leading to a major improvement in knowledge of the subject. However, in some important areas the quality of evidence remains poor, and some major assumptions are largely unchallenged and therefore under-researched. One fundamental weakness of the research into the effects of air pollution on health is that many questions are imprecisely formulated. The common practice of measuring many pollutants and many outcomes but reporting these selectively compounds this problem.

Keywords: Environmental pollution.


#Timing of secondhand #smoke, #pet, #dampness or #mould exposure and #lung function in #adolescence (Thorax, abstract)

[Source: Thorax, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Timing of secondhand smoke, pet, dampness or mould exposure and lung function in adolescence

Edith B Milanzi 1, Gerard H Koppelman 2,3, Henriette A Smit 4, Alet H Wijga 5, Judith M Vonk 2,6, Bert Brunekreef 1,4, Ulrike Gehring 1

Author affiliations: 1 Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 2 Groningen Research Institute for Asthma and COPD (GRIAC), University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; 3 Department of Pediatric Pulmonology and Pediatric Allergology, Beatrix Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; 4 Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 5 Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands; 6 Department of Epidemiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

Correspondence to Dr Ulrike Gehring, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht 3508TD, The Netherlands;




The relevance of timing of exposure in the associations of secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS), pets, and dampness or mould exposure with lung function is unclear. We investigated the relevance of timing of these exposures for lung function in adolescence.


We used data from participants of the Dutch Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) cohort with spirometric measurements at ages 12 and 16 years (n=552). Data on residential exposure to SHS, pets, and dampness or mould were obtained by repeated parental questionnaires. We characterised timing of exposure through longitudinal patterns using latent class growth modelling and assessed associations of these patterns with FEV1 and FVC at ages 12 and 16 and FEV1 and FVC growth between ages 12 and 16 using linear regression models.


Childhood SHS exposure was associated with reduced FEV1 growth/year (95% CI) (−0.34% (−0.64% to −0.04%)). Late childhood and early life pet exposure was associated with increased FEV1 growth (0.41% (0.14% to 0.67%)) and reduced FVC growth (−0.28% (−0.53% to −0.03%)), respectively, compared with very low exposure. Early life dampness or mould exposure was associated with reduced lung function growth. All time windows of SHS exposure tended to be associated with lower attained lung function and pet exposure tended to be associated with higher FEV1.


SHS exposure during childhood could lead to reduced lung function growth and lower attained lung function in adolescence. While pet exposure in late childhood may not adversely affect lung function, early childhood pet exposure may slow down FVC growth in adolescence.




BB and HAS were responsible for the conception and design of the PIAMA study. GHK, AHW, HAS and UG secured funding for the present study. EBM and UG designed the study and had full access to the data. EBM carried out the statistical analysis and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. All authors (1) provided substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of the data for the work, (2) revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content and (3) approved the final version for submission.


The research leading to these results has received funding from Dutch Lung Foundation (Project no. In addition, the PIAMA study has received funding from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, the Netherlands Asthma Fund, the Netherlands Ministry of Spatial Planning, Housing, and the Environment, and the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (PIAMA).


The funders did not play any role in the design of the study, data collection, analysis and interpretation of data, and in writing the manuscript.

Competing interests 

GHK received grants from the Dutch Lung Foundation, grants from Ubbo Emmius Foundation, grants from Teva The Netherlands and grants from Stichting Astma Bestrijding, outside the submitted work. UG reports receiving grants from the Dutch Lung Foundation during the conduct of this study.

Patient consent for publication 

Parental/guardian consent obtained.

Ethics approval 

Ethical approval was obtained from participating institutes (ethical approval nos.: Rotterdam, MEC 132.636/1994/39 and 137.326/1994/130; Groningen, MEC 94/08/92; Utrecht, MEC-TNO 95/50).

Provenance and peer review 

Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Data availability statement 

Data are available on reasonable request.

Copyright information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Keywords: Environmental pollution; Pulmonology; Pediatrics.


#Drivers of improved #PM2.5 #air #quality in #China from 2013 to 2017 (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Drivers of improved PM2.5 air quality in China from 2013 to 2017

Qiang Zhang, Yixuan Zheng, Dan Tong, Min Shao, Shuxiao Wang, Yuanhang Zhang, Xiangde Xu, Jinnan Wang, Hong He, Wenqing Liu, Yihui Ding, Yu Lei, Junhua Li, Zifa Wang, Xiaoye Zhang, Yuesi Wang, Jing Cheng, Yang Liu, Qinren Shi, Liu Yan, Guannan Geng, Chaopeng Hong, Meng Li, Fei Liu, Bo Zheng, Junji Cao, Aijun Ding, Jian Gao, Qingyan Fu, Juntao Huo, Baoxian Liu, Zirui Liu, Fumo Yang, Kebin He, and Jiming Hao

PNAS first published November 18, 2019 / DOI:

Edited by Steven C. Wofsy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved October 17, 2019 (received for review May 8, 2019)



The high frequency of haze pollution in China has attracted broad attention and triggered, in 2013, the promulgation of the toughest-ever clean air policy in the country. In this study, we quantified the air quality and health benefits from specific clean air actions by combining a chemical transport model with a detailed emission inventory. As tremendous efforts and resources are needed for mitigating emissions from various sources, evaluation of the effectiveness of these measures can provide crucial information for developing air quality policies in China as well as in other developing and highly polluting countries. Based on measure-specific analysis, our results bear out several important implications for designing future clean air policies.



From 2013 to 2017, with the implementation of the toughest-ever clean air policy in China, significant declines in fine particle (PM2.5) concentrations occurred nationwide. Here we estimate the drivers of the improved PM2.5 air quality and the associated health benefits in China from 2013 to 2017 based on a measure-specific integrated evaluation approach, which combines a bottom-up emission inventory, a chemical transport model, and epidemiological exposure-response functions. The estimated national population–weighted annual mean PM2.5 concentrations decreased from 61.8 (95%CI: 53.3–70.0) to 42.0 µg/m3 (95% CI: 35.7–48.6) in 5 y, with dominant contributions from anthropogenic emission abatements. Although interannual meteorological variations could significantly alter PM2.5 concentrations, the corresponding effects on the 5-y trends were relatively small. The measure-by-measure evaluation indicated that strengthening industrial emission standards (power plants and emission-intensive industrial sectors), upgrades on industrial boilers, phasing out outdated industrial capacities, and promoting clean fuels in the residential sector were major effective measures in reducing PM2.5 pollution and health burdens. These measures were estimated to contribute to 6.6- (95% CI: 5.9–7.1), 4.4- (95% CI: 3.8–4.9), 2.8- (95% CI: 2.5–3.0), and 2.2- (95% CI: 2.0–2.5) µg/m3 declines in the national PM2.5 concentration in 2017, respectively, and further reduced PM2.5-attributable excess deaths by 0.37 million (95% CI: 0.35–0.39), or 92% of the total avoided deaths. Our study confirms the effectiveness of China’s recent clean air actions, and the measure-by-measure evaluation provides insights into future clean air policy making in China and in other developing and polluting countries.

clean air actions – PM2.5 – emission abatements – air quality improvements – health benefits

Keywords: Environmental pollution; China.


Association between #particulate matter #air #pollution and #lung #cancer (Thorax, abstract)

[Source: Thorax, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Association between particulate matter air pollution and lung cancer

Zhenyu Zhang 1, Dawei Zhu 2, Bin Cui 3, Ruoxi Ding 4, Xuefeng Shi 5, Ping He 2

Author affiliations: 1 Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; 2 China Center for Health Development Studies, Peking University, Beijing, China; 3 School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China; 4 Institute of Population Research, Peking University, Beijing, China; 5 School of Management, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China

Correspondence to Professor Ping He, China Center for Health Development Studies, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China;; Professor Xuefeng Shi;



Long-term exposure to particulate matter 2.5 μm (PM2.5) air pollution is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. However, the evidence is limited in low-income and middle-income countries. We estimated the association between the incidence of lung cancer and PM2.5 air pollution exposure in the Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) beneficiaries in China. A total of 16 483 new lung cancer cases diagnosed from 12 966 137 UEBMI beneficiaries from 36 cities between 2013 and 2016. The relative risk for lung cancer associated with a 10 µg/m3 increase in 3-year PM2.5 exposure was 1.12 (95% CI 1.00 to 1.26). The population attributable risk estimated for a reduction in PM2.5 concentration to 35 µg/m3 corresponded to a decrease of 14% in cases of lung cancer. Reducing PM2.5 air pollution has a significant public health benefit.





XS and PH are joint senior authors.

ZZ and DZ contributed equally.


This work was supported by the Peking University’s Start-up Fund (BMU2018YJ004)

Competing interests 

None declared.

Patient consent for publication 

Not required.

Ethics approval 

The study was deemed as exempt from ethical approval by the institutional review board of the Beijing University of Chinese medicine (No.2019BZHYLL0201).

Provenance and peer review 

Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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Copyright information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Keywords: Environmental pollution; Cancer; China.