There are few studies on sick building syndrome (SBS) including clinical measurements for atopy and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO). Our aim was to study associations between SBS symptoms, selected personal factors, office characteristics and indoor office exposures among office workers from a university in Malaysia. Health data were collected by a questionnaire (n=695), skin prick test (SPT) (n=463) and FeNO test (n=460). Office settled dust was vacuumed and analyzed for endotoxin, (1,3)-β-glucan and house dust mites (HDM) allergens group 1 namely Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p 1) and Dermatophagoides farinae (Der f 1). Office indoor temperature, relative air humidity (RH), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) were measured by a direct reading instrument. Associations were studied by two-levels multiple logistic regression with mutual adjustment and stratified analysis. The prevalence of weekly dermal, mucosal and general symptoms was 11.9%, 16.0% and 23.0% respectively. A combination of SPT positivity (allergy to HDM or cat) and high FeNO level (≥25 ppb) was associated with dermal (p=0.002), mucosal (p<0.001) and general symptoms (p=0.05). Der f1 level in dust was associated with dermal (p<0.001), mucosal (p<0.001) and general (p=0.02) symptoms. Among those with allergy to D. farinae, associations were found between Der f 1 levels in dust and dermal (p=0.003), mucosal (p=0.001) and general symptoms (p=0.007). Office-related symptoms were associated with Der f 1 levels in dust (p=0.02), low relative air humidity (p=0.04) and high office temperature (p=0.05). In conclusion, a combination of allergy to cat or HDM and high FeNO is a risk factor for SBS symptoms. Der f 1 allergen in dust can be a risk factor for SBS in the office environment, particularly among those sensitized to Der f 1 allergen.
Dune slacks are important habitats, with many endangered plant species. A series of eleven dune slacks of 1-42years old was studied in SW-Texel, the Netherlands, with the EU-habitat directive species Liparis loeselii present in all except the youngest and oldest. Analysis of aerial photographs revealed that new slacks are currently formed every 4-5years. In each slack, topsoil and vegetation data were collected in 2010 and 2014-2015. During succession, vegetation changed from brackish pioneer stages to dune slacks with L. loeselii and Parnassia palustris and ultimately grassland species. Differences between dune slacks and sampling periods were mostly significant. Herb cover and soil C increased with slack age, and over the five year study period, while bare sand, bulk density and pH decreased. The annual pH-decrease was 0.055 and 0.075 for pH-H2O and pH-KCl respectively, and annual C-increase 0.16% and 35gm(-2). Liparis loeselii was only present between pHH2O 5.8-7.5 and pHKCl 5.6-7.6, and only occurred at C-content below 4.3%. In lime-poor dunes, environmental conditions thus become unsuitable approximately 34years after the start of succession. In the dune slacks, Liparis loeselii established within 6years, showed peak values after 11-16years, and declined until conditions became unsuitable. Rejuvenation may occur after large storms with fresh sand deposits. However, even with further succession, the present populations are not endangered and probably last until 2040. With new dune slacks every 5years, L. loeselii occurs in approximately eight different dune slacks at the same time, ensuring viable populations also in the future. This shows that adverse effects of succession can be counteracted by dynamics on local and landscape scale.
Understanding of the distribution patterns of sediment erosion, concentration and transport in river basins is critically important as sediment plays a major role in river basin hydrophysical and ecological processes. In this study, we proposed an integrated framework for the assessment of sediment dynamics, including soil erosion (SE), suspended sediment load (SSL) and suspended sediment concentration (SSC), and applied this framework to the Mekong River Basin. The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model was adopted with a geographic information system to assess SE and was coupled with a sediment accumulation and a routing scheme to simulate SSL. This framework also analyzed Landsat imagery captured between 1987 and 2000 together with ground observations to interpolate spatio-temporal patterns of SSC. The simulated SSL results from 1987 to 2000 showed the relative root mean square error of 41% and coefficient of determination (R(2)) of 0.89. The polynomial relationship of the near infrared exoatmospheric reflectance and the band 4 wavelength (760-900nm) to the observed SSC at 9 sites demonstrated the good agreement (overall relative RMSE=5.2%, R(2)=0.87). The result found that the severe SE occurs in the upper (China and Lao PDR) and lower (western part of Vietnam) regions. The SSC in the rainy season (June-November) showed increasing and decreasing trends longitudinally in the upper (China and Lao PDR) and lower regions (Cambodia), respectively, while the longitudinal profile of SSL showed a fluctuating trend along the river in the early rainy season. Overall, the results described the unique spatio-temporal patterns of SE, SSL and SSC in the Mekong River Basin. Thus, the proposed integrated framework is useful for elucidating complex process of sediment generation and transport in the land and river systems of large river basins.
A catchment-scale investigation of the prevalence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in the Kuang River Basin was carried out during the dry and rainy seasons. Water samples were collected from the Kuang River and its tributaries as well as a major irrigation canal at the study site. We also investigated the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasitic infection among dairy and beef cattle hosts. Cryptosporidium and/or Giardia were detected in all the rivers considered for this study, reflecting their ubiquity within the Kuang River Basin. The high prevalence of Cryptosporidium/Giardia in the upper Kuang River and Lai River is of a particular concern as both drain into the Mae Kuang Reservoir, a vital source of drinking-water to many local towns and villages at the research area. We did not, however, detected neither Cryptosporidium nor Giardia were in the irrigation canal. The frequency of Cryptosporidium/Giardia detection nearly doubled during the rainy season compared to the dry season, highlighting the importance of water as an agent of transport. In addition to the overland transport of these protozoa from their land sources (e.g. cattle manure, cess pits), Cryptosporidium/Giardia may also be re-suspended from the streambeds (a potentially important repository) into the water column of rivers during storm events. Faecal samples from dairy and beef cattle showed high infection rates from various intestinal parasites - 97% and 94%, respectively. However, Cryptosporidium and Giardia were only detected in beef cattle. The difference in management style between beef (freeranging) and dairy cattle (confined) may account for this disparity. Finally, phylogenetic analyses revealed that the Cryptosporidium/Giardia-positive samples contained C. ryanae (non-zoonotic) as well as Giardia intestinalis assemblages B (zoonotic) and E (non-zoonotic). With only basic water treatment facilities afforded to them, the communities of the rural area relying on these water supplies are highly at risk to Cryptosporidium/Giardia infections.
The impacts of environmental stressors on polyploid organisms are largely unknown. This study investigated changes in morphometric, molecular, and biochemical parameters in full-sibling diploid and triploid African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) in response to chlorpyrifos (CPF) exposures. Juvenile fish were exposed to three concentrations of CPF (mean measured μg/L (SD): 9.71 (2.27), 15.7 (3.69), 31.21 (5.04)) under a static-renewal condition for 21days. Diploid control groups had higher hepatosomatic index (HSI), plasma testosterone (T), and brain GnRH and cyp19a2 expression levels than triploids. In CPF-exposed groups, changes in HSI, total weight and length were different between the diploid and triploid fish. In contrast, condition factor did not alter in any of the treatments, while visceral-somatic index (VSI) changed only in diploids. In diploid fish, exposure to CPF did not change brain 11β-hsd2, ftz-f1, foxl2, GnRH or cyp19a2 mRNA levels, while reduced tph2 transcript levels compared to the control group. In contrast, 11β-hsd2 and foxl2 expression levels were changed in triploids following CPF exposures. In diploids, plasma T levels showed a linear dose-response reduction across CPF treatments correlating with liver weight and plasma total cholesterol concentrations. In contrast, no changes in plasma cholesterol and T concentrations were observed in triploids. Plasma cortisol and 17-β estradiol (E2) showed no response to CPF exposure in either ploidy. Results of this first comparison of biomarker responses to pesticide exposure in diploid and polyploid animals showed substantial differences between diploid and triploid C. gariepinus.
This paper studied associations between ocular symptoms, rhinitis, throat and dermal symptoms, headache and fatigue in students by ethnicity and in relation to exposure to chemical microbial markers and fungal DNA in vacuumed dust in schools in Malaysia. A total of 462 students from 8 randomly selected secondary schools in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, participated (96% response rate). Dust was vacuumed from 32 classrooms and analysed for levels of five types of endotoxin as 3-hydroxy fatty acids (C10, C12, C14, C16 and C18 3-OH), muramic acid, ergosterol and five sequences of fungal DNA. Multiple logistic regression was applied. Totally 11.9% reported weekly ocular symptoms, 18.8% rhinitis, 15.6% throat and 11.1% dermal symptoms, 20.6% headache and 22.1% tiredness. Totally 21.1% reported pollen or furry pet allergy (atopy) and 22.0% parental asthma or allergy. Chinese students had less headache than Malay and Indian had less rhinitis and less tiredness than Malay. Parental asthma/allergy was a risk factor for ocular (odds ratio=3.79) and rhinitis symptoms (OR=3.48). Atopy was a risk factor for throat symptoms (OR=2.66), headache (OR=2.13) and tiredness (OR=2.02). There were positive associations between amount of fine dust in the dust samples and ocular symptoms (p<0.001) and rhinitis (p=0.006). There were positive associations between C14 3-OH and rhinitis (p<0.001) and between C18 3-OH and dermal symptoms (p=0.007). There were negative (protective) associations between levels of total endotoxin (LPS) (p=0.004) and levels of ergosterol (p=0.03) and rhinitis and between C12 3-OH and throat symptoms (p=0.004). In conclusion, the amount of fine dust in the classroom was associated with rhinitis and other SBS symptoms and improved cleaning of the schools is important. Endotoxin in the school dust seems to be mainly protective for rhinitis and throat symptoms but different types of endotoxin could have different effects. The ethnic differences in symptoms among the students deserve further attention.
A total of 40 marine mussel Perna viridis populations collected (2002-2009) from 20 geographical sites located in two busy shipping lanes namely the Straits of Malacca (10 sites; 16 populations) and the Straits of Johore (8 sites; 21 populations) and three populations (2 sites) on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, was determined for Cd, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb and Zn concentrations. In comparison with the maximum permissible limits (MPLs) set by existing food safety guidelines, all metal concentrations found in all the mussel populations were lower than the prescribed MPLs. In terms of the provisional tolerable weekly intake prescribed by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and oral reference doses (ORDs) by the USEPA, all the studied metals (except for Pb) were unlikely to become the limiting factors or unlikely to pose a risk for the consumption of the mussel populations. The estimated daily intake (EDI) for average level mussel (ALM) and high level mussel (HLM) consumers of mussels was found to be lower than the ORD guidelines for Cd, Cu, Fe, Ni and Zn. Furthermore, the target hazard quotient (THQ) was found to be less than 1 for ALM consumers but higher than 1 for HLM consumers in some sites. Therefore, there were no potential human health risks to the ALM consumers of the mussels. However, for Pb THQ values, the Pb levels in some mussel populations could create a health risk problem. Present results indicate that the consumption amounts of mussels should be limited for minimizing potential health risks of heavy metals to the HLM consumers.
Beta-agonists and sulfonamides are widely used for treating both humans and livestock for bronchial and cardiac problems, infectious disease and even as growth promoters. There are concerns about their potential environmental impacts, such as producing drug resistance in bacteria. This study focused on their spatial distribution in surface water and the identification of pollution sources in the Langat River basin, which is one of the most urbanized watersheds in Malaysia. Fourteen beta-agonists and 12 sulfonamides were quantitatively analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). A geographic information system (GIS) was used to visualize catchment areas of the sampling points, and source profiling was conducted to identify the pollution sources based on a correlation between a daily pollutant load of the detected contaminant and an estimated density of human or livestock population in the catchment areas. As a result, 6 compounds (salbutamol, sulfadiazine, sulfapyridine, sulfamethazine, sulfadimethoxine and sulfamethoxazole) were widely detected in mid catchment areas towards estuary. The source profiling indicated that the pollution sources of salbutamol and sulfamethoxazole were from sewage, while sulfadiazine was from effluents of cattle, goat and sheep farms. Thus, this combination method of quantitative and spatial analysis clarified the spatial distribution of these drugs and assisted for identifying the pollution sources.
Application of ozonation in water treatment involves complex oxidation pathways that could lead to the formation of various by-products, some of which may be harmful to living organisms. In this work, ozonation by-products of ofloxacin (OFX), a frequently detected pharmaceutical pollutant in the environment, were identified and their ecotoxicity was estimated using the Ecological Structure Activity Relationships (ECOSAR) computer program. In order to examine the role of ozone (O3) and hydroxyl radicals (∙OH) in the degradation of ofloxacin, ozonation was performed at pH2, 7 and 12. In this study, 12 new structures have been proposed for the ozonation by-products detected during the ozonation of ofloxacin. According to the identified ozonation by-products, O3 and ∙OH were found to react with ofloxacin during ozonation. The reaction between ofloxacin and O3 proceeded via hydroxylation and breakdown of heterocyclic ring with unsaturated double-bond. The reaction between ofloxacin and ·OH generated various by-products derived from the breakdown of heterocyclic ring. Ecotoxicity assessment indicated that ozonation of OFX could yield by-products of greater toxicity compared with parent compounds.
The study of a Posidonia australis sedimentary archive has provided a record of changes in element concentrations (Al, Fe, Mn, Pb, Zn, Cr, Cd, Co, As, Cu, Ni and S) over the last 3000 years in the Australian marine environment. Human-derived contamination in Oyster Harbor (SW Australia) started ~100 years ago (AD ~1900) and exponentially increased until present. This appears to be related to European colonization of Australia and the subsequent impact of human activities, namely mining, coal and metal production, and extensive agriculture. Two contamination periods of different magnitude have been identified: Expansion period (EXP, AD ~1900-1970) and Establishment period (EST, AD ~1970 to present). Enrichments of chemical elements with respect to baseline concentrations (in samples older than ~115 cal years BP) were found for all elements studied in both periods, except for Ni, As and S. The highest enrichment factors were obtained for the EST period (ranging from 1.3-fold increase in Cu to 7.2-fold in Zn concentrations) compared to the EXP period (1.1-fold increase for Cu and Cr to 2.4-fold increase for Pb). Zinc, Pb, Mn and Co concentrations during both periods were 2- to 7-fold higher than baseline levels. This study demonstrates the value of Posidonia mats as long-term archives of element concentrations and trends in coastal ecosystems. We also provide preliminary evidence on the potential for Posidonia meadows to act as significant long-term biogeochemical sinks of chemical elements.
A field remediation treatment was carried out to examine the long-term effect of biochar on the immobilisation of metals and the revegetation of a contaminated site in Castleford, UK. The extracted concentrations of nickel (Ni) (II) and zinc (Zn) (II) in the carbonic acid leaching tests were reduced by 83-98% over three years. The extracted Ni (II) and Zn (II) concentrations three years after the treatment were comparable to a cement-based treatment study carried out in a parallel manner on the same site. The sequential extraction results indicated that biochar addition (0.5-2%) increased the residue fractions of Ni (II) (from 51% to 61-66%) and Zn (II) (from 7% to 27-35%) in the soils through competitive sorption, which may have resulted in the reduction of leachabilities of Ni (II) (from 0.35% to 0.12-0.15%) and Zn (II) (from 0.12% to 0.01%) in the plots with biochar compared with that without biochar three years after the treatment. The germination of grass in the plots on site failed. Further laboratory pot study suggested that larger amounts of biochar (5% or more) and compost (5% or more) were needed for the success of revegetation on this site. This study suggests the effectiveness and potential of biochar application in immobilising heavy metals in contaminated site in the long term.
The behavior of veterinary antibiotics in the soil is commonly studied using the following methods to add antibiotics to the soil: (A) adding manure collected from animals fed a diet that includes antibiotics; (B) adding antibiotic-free animal manure spiked with antibiotics; and (C) the direct addition of antibiotics. However, most studies have only used methods (B) and (C) in their research, and few studies have simultaneously compared the different antibiotic addition methods. This study used tylosin A (TYLA) as a model antibiotic to compare the effects of these three commonly used antibiotic addition methods on the dissipation rates of TYLA and the numbers of resistance genes in laboratory incubation experiments. The results showed that the three treatment methods produced similar TYLA degradation trends; however, there were significant differences (P<0.05) in the TYLA degradation half-life (t1/2) among the three methods. The half-life of TYLA degradation in treatments A, B and C was 2.44 ± 0.04, 1.21 ± 0.03 and 5.13 ± 0.11 days, respectively. The presence of manure resulted in a higher electrical conductivity (EC), higher relative abundance of Citrobacter amalonaticus, higher macrolide resistant gene (ermB, ermF and ermT) count and lower ecological toxicity in the soil, which could partially explain the higher TYLA degradation rate in the treatments containing manure. The higher degradation rate of TYLA in treatment B when compared to treatment A could be due to the lower concentrations of tylosin B (TYLB) and tylosin D (TYLD). The main route for veterinary antibiotics to enter the soil is via the manure of animals that have been administered antibiotics. Therefore, the more appropriate method to study the degradation and ecotoxicity of antibiotic residues in the soil is by using manure from animals fed/administered the particular antibiotic rather than by adding the antibiotic directly to the soil.
The aim of this study was to develop a risk-based decision-making framework for the selection of sediment dredging option. Descriptions using case studies of the newly integrated, holistic and staged framework were followed. The first stage utilized the historical dredging monitoring data and the contamination level in media data into Ecological Risk Assessment phases, which have been altered for benefits in cost, time and simplicity. How Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) can be used to analyze and prioritize dredging areas based on environmental, socio-economic and managerial criteria was described for the next stage. The results from MCDA will be integrated into Ecological Risk Assessment to characterize the degree of contamination in the prioritized areas. The last stage was later described using these findings and analyzed using MCDA, in order to identify the best sediment dredging option, accounting for the economic, environmental and technical aspects of dredging, which is beneficial for dredging and sediment management industries.
As basic information for assessing reactivity and functionality of wetland-associated dissolved organic matter (DOM) based on their composition and structural properties, chemical characteristics of N in ultrafiltered DOM (UDON; >1 kD) isolated from wetland-associated rivers in three climates (cool-temperate, Hokkaido, Japan; sub-tropical, Florida, USA; tropical, Sarawak, Malaysia) were investigated. The UDON was isolated during dry and wet seasons, or during spring, summer, and autumn. The proportion of UDON present as humic substances, which was estimated as the DAX-8 adsorbed fraction, ranged from 47 to 91%, with larger values in the Sarawak than at the other sites. The yield of hydrolyzable amino acid N ranged 1.24 to 7.01 mg g(-1), which correlated positively to the total N content of UDOM and tended to be larger in the order of Florida>Hokkaido>Sarawak samples. X-ray photoelectron N1s spectra of UDON showed a strong negative correlation between the relative abundances of amide/peptide N and primary amine N. The relative abundances of amide/peptide N and primary amine N in the Sarawak samples were smaller (70-76%) and larger (20-23%) respectively compared to those (80-88% and 4-9%) in the Florida and Hokkaido samples. Assuming terminal amino groups and amide N of peptides as major constituents of primary amine N and amide/peptide N, respectively, the average molecular weight of peptides was smaller in the Sarawak samples than that in the Florida and Hokkaido samples. Seasonal variations in UDON composition were scarce in the Sarawak and Florida samples, whereas the distribution of humic substance-N and nonhumic substance-N and compositions of amino acids and N functional groups showed a clear seasonality in the Hokkaido samples. While aromatic N increased from spring to autumn, contributions from fresh proteinaceous materials were also enhanced during autumn, resulting in the highest N content of UDOM for this season.
In this study the environmental impact of consolidated rice farms (CF) - farms which have been integrated to increase the mechanization index - and traditional farms (TF) - small farms with lower mechanization index - in Guilan Province, Iran, were evaluated and compared using Life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology and adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS). Foreground data were collected from farmers using face-to-face questionnaires and background information about production process and inventory data was taken from the EcoInvent®2.0 database. The system boundary was confined to within the farm gate (cradle to farm gate) and two functional units (land and mass based) were chosen. The study also included a comparison of the input-output energy flows of the farms. The results revealed that the average amount of energy consumed by the CFs was 57 GJ compared to 74.2 GJ for the TFs. The energy ratios for CFs and TFs were 1.6 and 0.9, respectively. The LCA results indicated that CFs produced fewer environmental burdens per ton of produced rice. When compared according to the land-based FU the same results were obtained. This indicates that the differences between the two types of farms were not caused by a difference in their production level, but rather by improved management on the CFs. The analysis also showed that electricity accounted for the greatest share of the impact for both types of farms, followed by P-based and N-based chemical fertilizers. These findings suggest that the CFs had superior overall environmental performance compared to the TFs in the study area. The performance metrics of the model based on ANFIS show that it can be used to predict the environmental burdens of rice production with high accuracy and minimal error.
The degradation behavior of veterinary antibiotics in soil is commonly studied using the following methods of adding antibiotics to the soil: (i) adding manure collected from animals fed with a diet containing antibiotics, (ii) adding antibiotic-free animal manure spiked with antibiotics and (iii) directly adding antibiotics. No research simultaneously comparing different antibiotic addition methods was found. Oxytetracycline (OTC) was used as a model antibiotic to compare the effect of the three commonly used antibiotic addition methods on OTC degradation behavior in soil. The three treatment methods have similar trends, though OTC degradation half-lives show the following significant differences (P<0.05): manure from swine fed OTC (treatment A)
Repeated applications of animal manure as fertilizer are normal agricultural practices that may release veterinary antibiotics and hormones into the environment from treated animals. Broiler manure samples and their respective manure-amended agricultural soil samples were collected in selected locations in the states of Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka in Malaysia to identify and quantify veterinary antibiotic and hormone residues in the environment. The samples were analyzed using ultrasonic extraction followed by solid phase extraction (SPE) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The broiler manure samples were found to be contaminated with at least six target analytes, namely, doxycycline, enrofloxacin, flumequine, norfloxacin, trimethoprim and tylosin. These analytes were detected in broiler manure samples with maximum concentrations reaching up to 78,516 μg kg(-1) dry weight (DW) (doxycycline). For manure-amended agricultural soil samples, doxycycline and enrofloxacin residues were detected in every soil sample. The maximum concentration of antibiotic detected in soil was 1331 μg kg(-1) DW (flumequine). The occurrence of antibiotics and hormones in animal manure at high concentration poses a risk of contaminating agricultural soil via fertilization with animal manure. Some physico-chemical parameters such as pH, total organic carbon (TOC) and metal content played a considerable role in the fate of the target veterinary antibiotics and progesterone in the environment. It was suggested that these parameters can affect the adsorption of pharmaceuticals to solid environmental matrices.
Rural background stations provide insight into seasonal variations in pollutant concentrations and allow for comparisons to be made with stations closer to anthropogenic emissions. In Malaysia, the designated background station is located in Jerantut, Pahang. A fifteen-year data set focusing on ten major air pollutants and four meteorological variables from this station were analysed. Diurnal, monthly and yearly pollutant concentrations were derived from hourly continuous monitoring data. Statistical methods employed included principal component regression (PCR) and sensitivity analysis. Although only one of the yearly concentrations of the pollutants studied exceeded national and World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline standards, namely PM10, seven of the pollutants (NO, NO2, NOx, O3, PM10, THC and CH4) showed a positive upward trend over the 15-year period. High concentrations of PM10 were recorded during severe haze episodes in this region. Whilst, monthly concentrations of most air pollutants, such as: PM10, O3, NOx, NO2, CO and NmHC were recorded at higher concentrations between June and September, during the southwest monsoon. Such results correspond with the mid-range transport of pollutants from more urbanised and industrial areas. Diurnal patterns, rationed between major air pollutants and sensitivity analysis, indicate the influence of local traffic emissions on air quality at the Jerantut background station. Although the pollutant concentrations have not shown a rapid increase, an alternative background station will need to be assigned within the next decade if development projects in the surrounding area are not halted.
Historical trends of the accumulation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a typical tropical Asian environment were investigated using radio-dated sediment cores from Manila Bay, the Philippines and from the upper Gulf of Thailand. Vertical profiles indicated earlier usage of PCBs than of PBDEs which coincided with their industrial production. The increasing concentrations of total PBDEs and PCBs toward the surface suggested an increased consumption of PBDEs; and possible leakage of PCBs from old machineries into the aquatic environment in recent years. Current input of PCBs to the catchment of Manila Bay was supported by the analyses of air samples and plastic resin pellets. The vertical profiles of total PBDEs in the cores (i.e., rapidly increasing concentrations corresponding to the mid-1980s until mid-1990s, followed by a decrease until the early 2000s, and increasing again toward the surface) likely corresponded to the rapid economic growth in Asia in the 1990s, the Asian financial crisis in 1997, and the economic recovery since early 2000s. BDE-209 was predominant especially on the surface layers. BDEs 47 and 99 generally decreased toward the surface, reflecting the phase-out of the technical penta-PBDE products and the regulation by the Stockholm Convention in recent years. Increasing ratios of BDE-202/209, 206/209, 207/209 and decreasing % of BDE-209 down the core layers may provide evidence for the anaerobic debromination of BDE-209 in the sediment cores. Inventories in ng/cm(2) of total PCBs were higher than total PBDEs (92 vs. 34 and 47 vs. 11 in the Philippines; 47 vs. 33 in Thailand). However, the doubling times indicated faster accumulation of total PBDEs (6-7 years) and BDE-209 (6-7.5 years) than of PCBs (8-11 years). Furthermore, the temporal increase in BDE-209 was comparable to or faster than those reported in other water bodies around the world.
A sacred ritual well with continuously discharging of methane gas through its water body was studied for physicochemical and microbiological quality in three seasons and during ritual mass bathing. Most of the physicochemical parameters showed significant seasonal variations (P<0.05) and a sharp fluctuation during mass bathing. Dissolved oxygen (DO) was found negatively correlated with temperature (r=-0.384, P<0.05), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) (r=-0.58, P<0.001) and ammonia (r=-0.738, P<0.001), while BOD showed positive correlation with chemical oxygen demand (COD) (r=0.762, P<0.001) and ammonia (r=0.83, P<0.001). Simple regression analysis also yielded significant linear relationship in DO vs. temperature (r(2)=0.147, P<0.05), DO vs. ammonia (r(2)=0.544, P<0.001) and BOD vs. DO (r(2)=0.336, P<0.001). A total of eight microbial indicators were studied and found that all of them increased unusually during mass bathing comparing with their respective seasonal values. Total coliforms (TC) were found positively correlated with fecal coliforms (FC) (r=0.971), FC with Escherichia coli (EC) (r=0.952), EC with intestinal enterococci (IE) (r=0.921), fecal streptococci (FS) with IE (r=0.953) and Staphylococcus aureus (SA) with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) (r=0.946), which were significant at P<0.001. Some regression models showed significant linear relationship at P<0.001 with r(2) value of 0.943 for FC vs. TC, 0.907 for EC vs. FC, 0.869 for FS vs. FC, 0.848 for IE vs. EC and 0.909 for IE vs. FS. The overall results found in this study revealed that well water is suitable for bathing purpose but the religious activity considerably worsen its quality.