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Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology attempts to provide concise, critical reviews of timely advances, philosophy and significant areas of accomplished or needed endeavor in the total field of xenobiotics, in any segment of the environment, as well as toxicological implications.



Trends and Health Risks of Dissolved Heavy Metal Pollution in Global River and Lake Water from 1970 to 2017

Heavy metal pollution in surface water is a global environmental problem. This study analyzed the trends, health risks, and sources of eight dissolved heavy metal species in river and lake water across five continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America; Oceania was excluded owing to a lack of data) for the period 1970–2017. We wanted to assess the effects of various implemented countermeasures to pollution and to determine those that could be adopted worldwide. Collectively, the water system showed increasing trends for Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Mn, and Fe and decreasing trends for Pb and Zn. The mean dissolved concentrations of most heavy metals were highest in Asia and lowest in Europe. Most heavy metals had low non-carcinogenic risks over this period. The cancer risks associated with Pb were lower than the hazardous level on all five continents over the five decades, whereas the cancer risks related to Cr exceeded the hazardous level in the 1970s, 2000s, and 2010s, and in Africa, Asia, and North America over the entire period. Mining and manufacturing were consistently found to be critical sources of metal pollution from 1970 to 2017. However, the heavy metal sources differed significantly by continent, with waste discharge and rock weathering dominant in Africa; mining and manufacturing, along with rock weathering, are dominant in Asia and South America; fertilizer and pesticide use, along with rock weathering, are dominant in North America; and mining and manufacturing, waste discharge, and rock weathering are dominant in Europe. Global trends in the metal loadings in water and in relevant pollution-control measures suggest that countermeasures in Europe have successfully controlled heavy metal pollution. The successful measures include implementing rigorous standards for metal emissions, limiting the metal concentrations in products, and rigorously treating metal-contaminated waste. Therefore, the measures implemented in Europe should be extended worldwide to treat heavy metal pollution in water.
Youzhi Li, Qiaoqiao Zhou, Bo Ren, Jia Luo, Jinrui Yuan, Xiaohui Ding, Hualin Bian, Xin Yao

Anaerobic Microbial Degradation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: A Comprehensive Review

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of hazardous organic contaminants that are widely distributed in nature, and many of them are potentially toxic to humans and other living organisms. Biodegradation is the major route of detoxification and removal of PAHs from the environment. Aerobic biodegradation of PAHs has been the subject of extensive research; however, reports on anaerobic biodegradation of PAHs are so far limited. Microbial degradation of PAHs under anaerobic conditions is difficult because of the slow growth rate of anaerobes and low energy yield in the metabolic processes. Despite the limitations, some anaerobic bacteria degrade PAHs under nitrate-reducing, sulfate-reducing, iron-reducing, and methanogenic conditions. Anaerobic biodegradation, though relatively slow, is a significant process of natural attenuation of PAHs from the impacted anoxic environments such as sediments, subsurface soils, and aquifers. This review is intended to provide comprehensive details on microbial degradation of PAHs under various reducing conditions, to describe the degradation mechanisms, and to identify the areas that should receive due attention in further investigations.
Kartik Dhar, Suresh R. Subashchandrabose, Kadiyala Venkateswarlu, Kannan Krishnan, Mallavarapu Megharaj

Climate Change and Bivalve Mass Mortality in Temperate Regions

One of the fastest-growing global food sectors is the bivalve aquaculture industry. Bivalves particularly oysters, mussels and clams are important sources of animal protein (Tan and Ransangan 2016a, b). Bivalve aquaculture represents 14–16% of the average per capita animal protein for 1.5 billion people and supports over 200,000 livelihoods, mostly in developing countries (FAO 2018). Most of the bivalves produced around the world (89%) are from aquaculture (FAO 2016). To date, mollusc aquaculture have accounted for 21.42% (17.14 million tonnes) of the total aquaculture production, with Asia being the largest contributor (92.27%) (FAO 2018).
Tan Kar Soon, Huaiping Zheng

Review of the Effects of Perinatal Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Animals and Humans

Maternal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is associated with long-term hormone-dependent effects that are sometimes not revealed until maturity, middle age, or adulthood. The aim of this study was to conduct descriptive reviews on animal experimental and human epidemiological evidence of the adverse health effects of in utero and lactational exposure to selected EDCs on the first generation and subsequent generation of the exposed offspring. PubMed, Web of Science, and Toxline databases were searched for relevant human and experimental animal studies on 29 October 29 2018. Search results were screened for relevance, and studies that met the inclusion criteria were evaluated and qualitative data extracted for analysis. The search yielded 73 relevant human and 113 animal studies. Results from studies show that in utero and lactational exposure to EDCs is associated with impairment of reproductive, immunologic, metabolic, neurobehavioral, and growth physiology of the exposed offspring up to the fourth generation without additional exposure. Little convergence is seen between animal experiments and human studies in terms of the reported adverse health effects which might be associated with methodologic challenges across the studies. Based on the available animal and human evidence, in utero and lactational exposure to EDCs is detrimental to the offspring. However, more human studies are necessary to clarify the toxicological and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these effects.
William Nelson, Ying-Xiong Wang, Gloria Sakwari, Yu-Bin Ding
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