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Ex) Article Title, Author, Keywords

  • Editorial | 2024-02-28

  • Invited article / Review | 2024-02-28

    Abstract

    International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) is an independent international organization that advances the science of radiological protection for the public benefit, particularly by providing recommendations and guidance on all aspects of protection against ionizing radiation. The ICRP is a community of more than 380 globally-recognized experts in radiological protection science, policy, and practice from more than 50 countries. As of January 2024, the ICRP is comprised of a Main Commission, the Scientific Secretariat, four Standing Committees, and 30 Task Groups under the four committees. The ICRP has released well over one hundred publications on all aspects of radiological protection. Most address a particular area within radiological protection, but a handful of the publications, the so-called fundamental recommendations, describe the overall system of radiological protection. The system for radiological protection is based on the current understanding of the science of radiation exposure and its effects along with value judgements. The ICRP offers recommendations to regulatory and advisory agencies and provides advice to management and professional staff with responsibilities for radiological protection. Legislation in most countries adheres closely to ICRP recommendations. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) International Basic Safety Standards are based heavily on ICRP recommendations. ICRP recommendations form the core of radiological protection standards, legislation, programs, and practice worldwide.

  • Original Article | 2024-02-28

    Jaemin Woo1 , Jihun Shin1* , Gihong Min1 , Dongjun Kim1 , Kyunghwa Sung2 , Mansu Cho1 , Byunglyul Woo1 , Wonho Yang1,2*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2024; 50(1): 6-15

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2024.50.1.6
    Abstract

    Background: People’s activities have been restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes in activity patterns may lead to a decrease in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations. Additionally, the level of population exposure to PM2.5 may be changed.
    Objectives: This study aimed to analyze the impact of population movement and meteorological factors on the distribution of PM2.5 concentrations before and after the outbreak of COVID-19.
    Methods: The study area was Guro-gu in Seoul. The research period was selected as January to March 2020, a period of significant population movement changes caused by COVID-19. The evaluation of the dynamic population was conducted by calculating the absolute difference in population numbers between consecutive hours and comparing them to determine the daily average. Ambient PM2.5 concentrations were estimated for each grid using ordinary kriging in Python. For the population exposure assessment, the population-weighted average concentration was calculated by determining the indoor to outdoor population for each grid and applying the indoor to outdoor ratio to the ambient PM2.5 concentration. To assess the factors influencing changes in the ambient PM2.5 concentration, a statistical analysis was conducted, incorporating population mobility and meteorological factors.
    Results: Through statistical analysis, the correlation between ambient PM2.5 concentration and population movement was positive on both weekends and weekdays (r=0.71, r=0.266). The results confirmed that most of the relationships were positive, suggesting that a decrease in human activity can lead to a decrease in PM2.5 concentrations. In addition, when population-weighted concentration averages were calculated and the exposure level of the population group was compared before and after the COVID-19 outbreak, the proportion of people exceeding the air quality standard decreased by approximately 15.5%.
    Conclusions: Human activities can impact ambient concentrations of PM2.5, potentially altering the levels of PM2.5 exposure in the population.

  • Original Article | 2024-02-28

    Dongjun Kim1 , Gihong Min1* , Jihun Shin1 , Youngtae Choe1 , Kilyoong Choi2 , Sang Hyo Sim3 , Wonho Yang1*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2024; 50(1): 16-24

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2024.50.1.16
    Abstract

    Background: Indoor PM2.5 concentrations in residential houses can be affected by various factors depending on the season. This is because not only do the climate characteristics depend on the season, but the activity patterns of occupants are also different.
    Objectives: The purpose of this study is to compare factors affecting indoor PM2.5 concentrations in apartments and detached houses in Daegu according to seasonal changes.
    Methods: This study included 20 households in Daegu, South Korea. The study was conducted during the summer (from July 10 to August 10, 2023) and the autumn (from September 11 to October 9, 2023). A sensor-based instrument for PM2.5 levels was installed in the living room of each residence, and measurements were taken continuously for 24 hours at intervals of one minute during the measurement period. Based on the air quality monitoring system data in Daegu, outdoor PM2.5 concentrations were estimated using ordinary kriging (OK) in Python. In addition, the indoor activities of the occupants were investigated using a time-activity pattern diary. The affecting factors of indoor PM2.5 concentration were analyzed using multiple regression analysis.
    Results: Indoor and outdoor PM2.5 concentrations of the residences during summer were 15.27±11.09 μg/m3 and 11.52±7.56 μg/m3, respectively. Indoor and outdoor PM2.5 concentrations during autumn were 13.82±9.61 μg/m3 and 9.57±5.50 μg/m3, respectively. The PM2.5 concentrations were higher in summer compared to autumn both indoors and outdoors. The primary factor affecting indoor PM2.5 concentration in summer was occupant activity. On the other hand, during the autumn season, the primary affecting factor was outdoor PM2.5 concentration.
    Conclusions: Indoor PM2.5 concentration in residential houses is affected by occupant activity such as the inflow of outdoor PM2.5 concentration, cooking, and cleaning, as found in previous studies. However, it was revealed that there were differences depending on the season.

  • Original Article | 2024-02-28

    Jee Hyun Rho1 , Byoung-Gwon Kim1,2* , Jung-Yeon Kwon1 , Hyunji Ju2 , Na-Young Kim2 , Hyoun Ju Lim2 , Seungho Lee1,2 , Byeng-Chul Yu3 , Suejin Kim4 , Young-Seoub Hong1,2

    J Environ Health Sci. 2024; 50(1): 25-35

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2024.50.1.25
    Abstract

    Background: There are concerns about the health effects of various environmental pollution exposures among residents living near coal-fired power plants (CFPP).
    Objectives: This study attempted to compare the concentrations of heavy metals in blood and urine and those of urinary volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolites according to the residential separation distance.
    Methods: Participants in the study totaled 334 people who have lived for more than 10 years in areas within 10 km of a CFPP. The separation distance was analyzed in quartiles by dividing it into Q1 (88 people), Q2 (89 people), Q3 (89 people), and Q4 (68 people). We explained the purpose of this study to the participants and collected blood and urine after obtaining signatures on a participation agreement.
    Results: The study participants were 102 males (30.5%) and 232 females (69.5%), with an average age of 71. The average length of residence and distance were 43.8 years and 4,800 meters. The geometric mean concentrations of Pb, Cd, and Hg in blood and As and Cd in urine were respective 1.35 μg/dL, 1.43 μg/L, 3.16 μg/L. They were 167.88 μg/g for creatinine and 1.58 μg/g creatinine. The metabolite concentrations of VOCs were 50.67 μg/g creatinine in t, t-muconic acid (t, t-MA), 10.73 μg/g creatinine in benzyl mercapturic acid, 317.05 μg/g creatinine in phenylglyoxylic acid, 123.55 μg/g creatinine in methylhippuric acid, and 190.82 μg/g creatinine in mandelic acid. The concentration of Pb in the blood and Cd and t, t-MA in the urine of residents within affected area of the CFPP showed statistically significant differences among distance groups.
    Conclusions: The concentration of urinary VOCs metabolites, especially t, t-MA, differed according to the distance groups of residents within the affected area of CFPP (p<0.05).

  • Original Article | 2024-02-28

    Eun-Ah Park1 , Seungyeon Eo1 , Yerin Oh1 , Na-Youn Park1 , Myoungho Lee2 , Younglim Kho1*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2024; 50(1): 36-42

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2024.50.1.36
    Abstract

    Background: The use of scented candles and incense sticks, both of which are household products that are burned for indoor deodorization and calming effects, is increasing. Fine dust has been designated as a group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) affect air pollution and can cause diseases.
    Objectives: This study aims to determine the effect on indoor air quality by measuring PM2.5 and VOCs generated when burning scented candles and incense sticks.
    Methods: Scented candles and incense sticks were selected as household products to burn. As for the target sample, top-selling products (five types of scented candles, five types of incense sticks) were purchased online. The PM2.5 concentration according to time was measured immediately next to the sample and three meters away from each other in an enclosed space using a real-time aerosol photometer. VOCs were collected as samples under the same conditions using Tenax tubes and were quantitatively analyzed by TD-GC/MS.
    Results: In the case of scented candles, the concentration of PM2.5 did not increase during combustion and after being extinguished by placing a cover on the candle. For the incense sticks, the concentration of PM2.5 averaged 1,901.27 μg/m3. After burning scented candles and incense sticks, some VOCs concentrations were increased such as ethyl acetate and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene).
    Conclusions: Therefore, when using scented candles, extinguishment by placing a cover on the candle can be expected to reduce PM2.5. It is advisable to avoid using incense sticks because PM2.5 concentration increases from the start of combustion.

  • Original Article | 2024-02-28

    Abstract

    Background: Exposure assessment is an important part of risk assessment for consumer products. Exposure models are used when estimating consumer exposures by considering exposure routes, subjects, and circumstances. These models differ based on their tiers, types, and target populations. Consequently, exposure estimates may vary between models.
    Objectives: This study aimed to compare the results of different exposure models using identical exposure factors.
    Methods: Chemical exposure from consumer products was calculated using four consumer exposure assessment models: Targeted Risk Assessment 3.1, Consumer Exposure Model 2.1 (CEM), ConsExpo web 1.1.1, and the Korean Exposure Algorithm (primary and detailed) issued by the Ministry of Environment, No. 972 (MOE). The same exposure factors were used in each model to calculate inhalation and dermal exposures to acetaldehyde, d-limonene, and naphthalene in all-purpose cleaners, leather coating sprays, and sealants.
    Results: In the results, TRA provided the highest estimate. Generally, MOE (detailed), CEM and ConsExpo showed lower exposures. The inhalation exposure for leather coating spray showed the largest differences between models, with differences reaching up to 1.2×107 times. Since identical inputs were used for the calculations, it is likely that the models significantly influenced the estimated results.
    Conclusions: Despite using the same exposure factors to calculate dermal and inhalation exposures, the results varied substantially based on the model’s exposure algorithm. Therefore, selecting an exposure model for assessing consumer products should be done with careful consideration.

  • Original Article | 2024-02-28

    Abstract

    Background: There is growing international recognition of the need for improvements to national chemical management systems for hazardous chemicals. The European Union has recently introduced the concept of ‘essential uses’ as a new approach to the management hazardous chemicals by limiting their uses.
    Objectives: This paper examines the concept of essential uses in chemical management and how to apply it through a case study of essential use. This approach is distinct from the current chemical management system, but seeks to improve its potential benefits by effectively restricting or gradually decreasing the use of hazardous substances.
    Methods: The concept of essential uses was introduced by reviewing the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Cousins’s three essentiality categories applied to PFAS, restriction options assessed in the PFAS restriction proposal under REACH, and the California Safer Consumer Products regulations prioritizing 6PPD in motor vehicle tires. Based on these essential uses concepts for PFAS and 6PPD, uses of benzene were classified in accordance with the essential uses approach for products using benzene in South Korea.
    Results: The essential use concept is able to manage the restriction and authorization of substances of concern through essential uses and non-essential uses and the feasible substitution of uses and substances.
    Conclusions: If the concept and methodology of essential uses are clearly established, they can be expected to shift the national chemical management paradigm from regulating substances to limiting uses under the existing substance management system.

  • Original Article | 2024-02-28

    Su-Jeong Yoon , Hui-Su Pyeon , Yoon-Hee Lee , So-Jung Park , Kyung-Ja Kang , Eun-Seon Hur , Il-Hyung Jeong , Beom-Ho Kim , Sun-Mok Kwon*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2024; 50(1): 66-72

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2024.50.1.66
    Abstract

    Background: Vibrio vulnificus is a serious opportunistic human pathogen that has a worldwide distribution in a variety of marine and estuarine environments.
    Objectives: For this reason, we investigated the distribution of Vibrio vulnificus in coastal areas of Gyeonggi-do Province from 2018 to 2022. Also, we analyzed the correlation between V. vulnificus leading to infection and two marine environmental factors (water temperature and salinity).
    Methods: We collected a total of 266 samples from six coastal area points (i.e., seawater, mudflats). Specimens were isolated using selective plating media and isolated strains were identified by a VITEK 2 system. To find the relevance of the isolation rates of V. vulnificus and number of cases of V. vulnificus infection, we summarized the data on 48 cases of V. vulnificus infection from the open data of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
    Results: Among the 266 samples taken during the investigation period, 47 strains were isolated, and the separation rates of V. vulnificus were 17.7%. The monthly isolation rates of V. vulnificus were ranked in the order of August (53.8%), September (33.3%), June (28.6%), and July (21.1%). There was a positive correlation with the temperature of seawater, but salinity was not significant. The number of cases of V. vulnificus infection reported in Gyeonggi-do Province were 18 (37.5%) in September, 14 (29.2%) in August, and eight (16.7%) in October. The proportion was 83.3%. It was relevant to the isolation rates of V. vulnificus in the marine environmental sources.
    Conclusions: Our data showed that the number of V. vulnificus infection cases could be affected by changes in the distribution of V. vulnificus due to rise the temperature of seawater in the marine environment.

  • Original Article | 2024-02-28

    Abstract

    Background: Career preparation behavior is a challenge among nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing students’ adaptation to a non-face-to-face educational environment, lack of interaction with others, and fear of infectious disease may affect career preparation behavior.
    Objectives: The purpose of this study was to identify factors that influence the career preparation behavior in the non-face-to-face educational environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Methods: Data were collected in October 2022 from 130 nursing students from a college in City A. A total of 119 questionnaires were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, a one-way ANOVA, Pearson correlation, and stepwise multiple regression.
    Results: The findings show that major satisfaction had a significant positive correlation with career preparation behavior (r=0.56, p<0.001). Nursing professionalism showed a significant positive correlation with career preparation behavior (r=0.57, p<0.001). The factors influencing career preparation behavior included major satisfaction, nursing professionalism, and satisfaction with clinical practice. Nursing professionalism was the most influential factor (β=0.35), followed by major satisfaction (β=0.33). Together they had an explanatory power of 37%.
    Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that nursing college students who experienced the COVID-19 pandemic should search for ways to increase their major satisfaction and nursing professionalism programs should be increased to improve career preparation behavior.

  • Editorial | 2023-12-31

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Hyewon Shin , Minseo Kim , Yeji Kim , Nayeon Park , Younglim Kho*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2023; 49(6): 289-294

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2023.49.6.289
    Abstract

    Background: Artificial sweeteners are chemically synthesized substances used to add sweetness to foods. Representative substances include aspartame and acesulfame-K, which are 200 times sweeter than sugar. Recently, the IARC classified aspartame as class 2B, but Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of South Korea announced that it would maintain the current usage standards. Acesulfame-K, which has the potential to cause cancer, was excluded from the list of possible carcinogens, raising questions about its safety. According to a survey by the Consumers Union of Korea, 85% of makgeolli includes artificial sweeteners, but the content labelling is not indicated. It is necessary to accurately determine the intake of artificial sweeteners through makgeolli.
    Objectives: This study aims to evaluate the safety of makgeolli consumption by identifying the content of artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfam-K) and preservatives (sorbic acid).
    Methods: Twenty makgeolli samples were purchased from large supermarkets and convenience stores by referring to the sales ranking of makgeolli products distributed in South Korea and the purchase ranking from online sites. The sample was sonicated to remove alcohol and carbon dioxide. Nine mL of acetonitrile was mixed with 1 mL of the prepared sample, centrifuged, and the supernatant was filtered and analyzed using HPLC.
    Results: As a result of the analysis, aspartame was detected in 17 products and acesulfame-K was detected in ten. The ADI of aspartame (40 mg/kgㆍbw/day) is higher than the EDI based on the maximum concentration 126.5 μg/mL. The ADI of acesulfame-K (15 mg/kgㆍbw/day) is higher than the EDI based on the highest concentration of 82.96 μg/mL. Although the health risk is low, IARC has raised the possibility of aspartame causing carcinogenesis, so there is a need to reevaluate the standards and regulations for artificial sweeteners.
    Conclusions: Through this study, we aimed to determine the content of aspartame and acesulfame-K contained in makgeolli currently distributed in South Korea and the safety of exposure to the human body when consumed.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Ho-Hyeong Yang1 , Hyung-Joo Kim2 , Sung-Won Bang3 , Heun-Woo Cho4 , Hyeong-Seok Lee5 , Seung-Won Han5 , Kwang-Jin Kim5 , Ho-Hyun Kim1,6*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2023; 49(6): 295-304

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2023.49.6.295
    Abstract

    Background: Adolescents are relatively more sensitive than adults to exposure to indoor pollutants. The indoor air quality in classrooms where students spend time together must therefore be managed at a safe level because it can affect the health of students.
    Objectives: In this study, three types of green-wall models were applied to classrooms where students spend a long time in a limited space, and the resulting effects on reducing PM were evaluated.
    Methods: In the middle school classrooms which were selected as the experimental subjects, IoT-based indoor air quality monitoring equipment was installed for real-time monitoring. Three types of plant models (passive, active, and active+light) were installed in each classroom to evaluate the effects on improving indoor air quality.
    Results: The concentration of PM in the classroom is influenced by outdoor air quality, but repeated increases and decreases in concentration were observed due to the influence of students’ activities. There was a PM reduction effect by applying the green-wall model. There was a difference in PM reduction efficiency depending on the type of green-wall model, and the reduction efficiency of the active model was higher than the passive model.
    Conclusions: The active green-wall model can be used as an efficient method of improving indoor air quality. Additionally, more research is needed to increase the efficiency of improving indoor air quality by setting conditions that can stimulate the growth of each type of plant.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Sung Ho Hwang1 , Minjung Kim2 , Mincheol Kim2 , Jeung Yeon Park2 , Hyunbin Jo2 , Myoung Ho Lee2 , Kiyoung Lee1,2 , Kyungduk Zoh1,2 , Chungsik Yoon1,2*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2023; 49(6): 305-311

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2023.49.6.305
    Abstract

    Background: The National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER)’s classification of and airborne fraction ratio for consumer chemical products (CCP) does not reflect the characteristics of various product classifications.
    Objectives: The purpose of this study was to reclassify the types of spray products according to the diverse spray characteristics of CCPs to evaluate the airborne fraction ratio of representative spray types and to compare them with previous CCPs types and airborne fraction ratios.
    Methods: One thousand seven hundred two products were selected through market research, and 932 newly reported products were selected. After that, 200 were selected to evaluate products with potential inhalation exposure. After classifying six product types that are expected to show differences in the airborne fraction ratio according to the type of product, a final 38 products were selected for use in the airborne fraction ratio through random sampling.
    Results: CCP has been reclassified from two to six types so that the characteristics of all products are well-reflected. The NIER simply had two airborne fraction ratios, but the results of experiments with six types of products showed a significant difference in values (p<0.01). Airborne fraction ratios of propellant general foam, pump general aerosol, and pump trigger foam in spray type, which were not previously present in NIER, were 7.1%, 24.4%, and 3.5%, respectively.
    Conclusions: For the diversified types of CCPs, the newly proposed classification was more appropriate than the existing NIER classification. The airborne fraction ratio was also different for each type, so a new value was suggested.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Abstract

    Background: Environmental concentrations of substances can be estimated by K-CHESAR based on main, industrial, and use categories (MC/IC/UC) and ECETOC TRA based on environmental or specific environmental categories (ERC or spERC).
    Objectives: Three different systems for estimating environmental concentrations were compared to figure out their order with possible reasons along with relationship of regional predicted environmental concentrations (PECregional) and final PEClocal for various uses of a substance.
    Methods: Typical uses of the case substance and their corresponding ERCs were selected from the webpage of the European Chemical Agency. Proper MC/IC/UC and spERC were assigned to each ERC. Emission fractions were compared for each assessment code from the available database. PECs were calculated by three estimating systems: K-CHESAR using MC/IC/UC, ECETOC TRA using ERC, and ECETOC TRA using spERC with their default values for input parameters. Percentage of PECregional to PEClocal were manually calculated for each use.
    Results: Emission factors decreased in the order of ERC > MC/IC/UC > spERC. Values of the final PEClocal derived as sum of PECregional and Clocal decreased in the order of calculations using ECETOC TRA-ERC>K-CHESAR with MC/IC/UC>ECETOC TRA-spERC for all environmental media. Percentages of PECregional,water to PEClocal,water ranged from 0 to 10.3% in industrial uses calculated with MC/IC/UC and ERC but 96.3 to 100% in wide dispersive uses of ERC and spERC where values of Clocal,water are estimated to be very low.
    Conclusions: ECETOC TRA generated the most refined PNEC values with spERC and the least with ERC, while K-CHESAR with MC/IC/UC generated values between the two results. The ratio of PECregional to PEClocal can be a good measure for performing suitable estimation of PNECs according to use.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    SaHo Chun1,2 , Khawon Lee2 , SeungJung Kim2 , SeungPyo Jung2 , DaYoung Kang2 , Ki-Tae Kim1,3*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2023; 49(6): 324-333

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2023.49.6.324
    Abstract

    Background: Human exposure to phthalates in indoor environments occurs via dermal absorption, oral ingestion of indoor dust, and inhalation of indoor air. However, systematic studies to investigate the exposure rate to phthalates among the three exposure routes in indoor environments are currently limited.
    Objectives: A theoretical exposure ratio between inhalation and oral exposure was calculated based on the total amount of di(2-ethyl-hexyl) phthalate (DEHP) emitted into indoor air and deposited into floor dust in a test house.
    Methods: Flooring and wallpaper containing DEHP were installed in a test house and the concentration of DEHP in both indoor air and floor dust were monitored for five months. Based on the measured DEHP concentrations, the theoretical total amount ratio of DEHP that could be exposed through inhalation and oral ingestion was calculated.
    Results: Considering the period of operation in the test house, the theoretical total amount of DEHP through inhalation and oral ingestion exposures in the entire test house space was calculated to be 0.014 mg and 5.5 mg, respectively. The exposure ratio of the two routes between inhalation and oral exposure corresponding to the total DEHP amount in flooring and wallpaper was 6.0×10–7% and 2.3×10–4%, indicating that theoretical oral exposure to DEHP is approximately 380 times higher than inhalation.
    Conclusions: Monitoring results from a test house has shown that oral exposure is the main exposure route for DEHP in indoor environments. The experimental design employed in this study and theoretical exposure ratio obtained can be applied to investigate actual exposure to DEHP and to determine the exposure characteristics of various types of semi-volatile organic compounds.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Hyun Soo Kim1 , Daeyeop Lee1 , Kyung Sook Woo1 , Si-Eun Yoo1 , Inhye Lee2 , Kyunghee Ji3 , Jungkwan Seo1 , Hun-Je Jo1*

    J Environ Health Sci. 2023; 49(6): 334-343

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2023.49.6.334
    Abstract

    Background: South Korea’s Act on Registration and Evaluation, etc. of Chemicals (known as K-REACH) was established to protect public health and the environment from hazardous chemicals. 4,4’-Methylenedianiline (MDA), which is used as a major intermediate in industrial polymer production and as a vulcanizing agent in South Korea, is classified as a toxic substance under the K-REACH act. Although MDA poses potential ecological risks due to industrial emissions and hazards to aquatic ecosystems, no ecological risk assessment has been conducted.
    Objectives: The aim of this study is to assess the ecological risk of MDA by identifying the actual exposure status based on the K-REACH act.
    Methods: Various toxicity data were collected to establish predicted no effect concentrations (PNECs) for water, sediment, and soil. Using the SimpleBox Korea v2.0 model with domestic release statistical data and EU emission factors, predicted environmental concentrations (PECs) were derived for ten sites, each referring to an MDA-using company. Hazard quotient (HQ) was calculated by ratio of the PECs and PNECs to characterize the ecological risk posed by MDA. To validate the results of modeling-based assessment, concentration of MDA was measured using in-site freshwater samples (two to three samples per site).
    Results: PNECs for water, sediment, and soil were 0.000525 mg/L, 4.36 mg/kg dw, and 0.1 mg/kg dw, respectively. HQ for surface water and sediment at several company sites exceeded 1 due to modeling data showing markedly high PEC in each environmental compartment. However, in the results of validation using in-site surface water samples, MDA was not detected.
    Conclusions: Through an ecological risk assessment conducted in accordance with the K-REACH act, the risk level of MDA emitted into the environmental compartments in South Korea was found to be low.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Hyunji Ju1,2 , Seungho Lee1,2* , Jae-Hee Min1,2 , Yong-Sik Hwang3 , Young-Seoub Hong1,2

    J Environ Health Sci. 2023; 49(6): 344-352

    https://doi.org/10.5668/JEHS.2023.49.6.344
    Abstract

    Background: With its developed port and related industries, the concentration of fine dust is high in Busan compared to other cities in South Korea. Many studies have reported the health effects of fine dust, but there has been a lack of information regarding concentrations of volatile organic compounds among those who exposed to high levels of fine dust.
    Objectives: This study aimed to define an area with high concentrations of particulate matter and perform biomonitoring surveys among the residents of the area.
    Methods: Air quality data was collected and the mean level of each district in Busan was derived. We then defined the area with the highest concentrations of PM10 as a target site. Urine samples were collected from the 400 participants and analyzed for VOCs metabolites - trans,trans-Muconic Acid (t,t-MA) and N-Acetyl-S-(benzyl)-L-cysteine (BMA). Interviews were conducted by trained investigators to examine demographic information. The levels of t,t-MA and BMA were compared with representative South Korean population data (Korean National Environmental Health Survey). The association of the VOC metabolites and fine dust were analyzed by general linear regression analysis.
    Results: The mean of PM10 in the target site was 42.50 μg/m3 from 2018 to 2020. Among the 400 participants in the target site, 74.8% were female and the average age of the participants was 66 years. The geometric mean of t,t-MA was 71.15 μg/g creatinine and the BMA was 7.00 μg/g creatinine among the residents. The levels were higher than the geometric mean from the 4th KoNEHS. The levels of t,t-MA showed significance in BMI, smoking status, and household income. BMA showed significance in gender and age.
    Conclusions: Compared to the general population of South Korea, the target site’s residents had higher biomonitoring levels. Based on this study, continuous screening for high risk areas, including the target site, and biomonitoring of the residents are required.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Abstract

    Background: Noise has been linked to an increased risk of various health issues, including stress, anxiety, insomnia, and cardiovascular disorders. However, research on the relationship between residential traffic noise and mental health in South Korea is limited.
    Objectives: This study aims to examine the correlation between regional traffic noise levels and mental health using an ecological study design.
    Methods: In this ecological study, all data were collected from the Korean Statistical Information Service. Traffic noise data in residential areas and the prevalence of mental health indices in 44 cities with noise monitoring stations were obtained. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the relationship between regional traffic noise levels and mental health indices.
    Results: Daytime traffic noise levels were found to have a positive correlation with stress perception (r=0.428, p=0.004) and showed a borderline positive correlation with depressive symptom prevalence (r=0.273, p=0.073). In cities with airports, significant correlations was observed between 24-hour average noise levels and depressive symptoms (r=0.604, p=0.010), whereas this relationship was not observed in cities without airports (r=0.048, p=0.813). Multiple regression analysis, which adjusted for factors such as age, gender ratio, smoking, obesity, unemployment, urban size, and the presence of an airport, confirmed the relationship between 24-hour average noise levels and stress perception (beta=0.287, p=0.024).
    Conclusions: This study identified correlations between regional traffic noise levels and depressive symptoms or stress perception in adults, with a more pronounced effect in areas with airports. These findings suggest a potential impact of residential traffic noise on mental health, highlighting the importance of preventive measures like noise management in urban planning to promote mental well-being.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Abstract

    Background: PM2.5 pollution has been a persistent problem in South Korea, with concentrations consistently exceeding World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The aging of the population in the country further exacerbates the health impacts of PM2.5 since older adults are more susceptible to the adverse effects of air pollution.
    Objectives: This study aims to evaluate how the health impact (premature death) due to long-term exposure to PM2.5 in South Korea could change in the future according to the trend of change in the country’s population structure.
    Methods: The study employs a relative risk function, which accounts for age-specific relative risks, to assess the changes in premature deaths by age and region at the average annual PM2.5 concentration for 2022 and at PM2.5 concentration improvement levels. Premature deaths were estimated using the Global Exposure Mortality Model (GEMM).
    Results: The findings indicate that the increase in premature deaths resulting from the projected population structure changes up to 2050 would significantly outweigh the health benefits (reduction in premature deaths) compared to 2012. This is primarily attributed to the rising number of premature deaths among the elderly due to population aging. Furthermore, the study suggests that the effectiveness of the current domestic PM2.5 standard would be halved by 2050 due to the increasing impact of population aging on PM2.5-related mortality.
    Conclusions: The study highlights the importance of considering trends in population structure when evaluating the health benefits of air pollution reduction measures. By comparing and evaluating the health benefits in reflection of changes in population structure to the predicted PM2.5 concentration improvements at the provincial level, a more comprehensive assessment of regional air quality management strategies can be achieved.

  • Original Article | 2023-12-31

    Abstract

    Background: Laundry workers are known to be exposed to organic solvents in various works including dry cleaning. Long-term exposure to organic solvents may cause adverse health effects among laundry workers.
    Objectives: To investigate the association between exposure to organic solvents and symptom of headache or eyestrain among laundry workers.
    Methods: The subjects were total 267 laundry workers who participated in the 6th Korean Working Conditions Survey (KWCS). Responses to exposure to ‘inhalation of vapor from organic solvent’ was categorized into two (non-exposed: rarely or absolutely not exposed during working hours; exposed: ≥1/4 working hours) or three (non-exposed; low exposure: 1/4 of the working hours; high exposure: ≥1/2 working hours) groups. Logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the association between exposure to organic solvents and symptom of headache or eyestrain in the last 12 months among laundry workers. Odds ratios (ORs) and the 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for experience of the symptom of headache or eyestrain with adjustment for age, sex, education, workplace size (by the number of workers), working hours per week, and current working period (year).
    Results: The proportions of exposure groups, i.e., non-exposed, low exposure, and high exposure, were 80.4%, 11.1%, and 8.5%, respectively. The proportion of those who had symptom of headache or eyestrain in the last 12 months was 18.7%. There was a significant association between exposure to organic solvents and experience of headache or eyestrain (OR=3.2, 95% CI=1.4~7.4). And, the proportion of those who experienced symptom of headache or eyestrain tended to increase significantly as the level of exposure to organic solvents increased (Ptrend=0.002).
    Conclusions: Our results suggest that exposure to organic solvents are associated with symptom of headache or eystrain among laundry workers in Korea. However, further studies with more relevant design is needed to replicate the association.

The Korean Society of Environmental Health

Vol.50 No.1
February, 2024

pISSN 1738-4087
eISSN 2233-8616

Frequency: Bimonthly

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Aims and Scope

Journal of Environmental Health Sciences is an official journal of the Korean Society of Environmental Health. Abbreviated title is ‘J Environ Health Sci’ . This journal was launched in February 1974. The mission of Journal of Environmental Health Sciences is to promote research, policy, education, and practice in the field of environmental health by publishing papers of high scientific quality. All of the manuscripts are peer-reviewed. The journal is issued six times a year (February, April, June, August, October, and December) and the articles published in the Journal are indexed and abstracted in Korea Citation Index (KCI). Full text is freely available from: http://www.kseh.org. Circulation number of print copies is approximately 1,400. This journal is supported by the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies (KOFST) Grant funded by the Korean Government. +More

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