| More


Views: 381 Downloads: 294
S. Varnavas
S. Varnavas


A considerable number of diseases are directly related to environmental impact. Toxic metals such as Hg, Pb, Cd, and As may damage significantly the human health when they exceed certain levels in the body. For example specific precautions should be taken for the diet of pregnant women and the children. Lead concentrations exceeding the safe values can cause severe damage to the development of central nervous system, as well as a general developmental delay of fetuses and young children, interfering with the functioning of almost every brain neurotransmitter. In particular for the pregnant women, it has been found that the exposure of the fetus on high lead values may cause, apart from neurological and behavioral problems, low birth weight, pre-term delivery, spontaneous abortion and stillbirth. Organic mercury (methyl mercury) is the most dangerous form of mercury, because it is the most easily absorbed orally and crosses into the brain and fetus so readily. Populations exposed to chemical compounds containing As, Ni, Cr, Cd, etc. are considered of high-risk in developing cancer. Environmental geochemical studies can help in assessing the quality of the environment as well as the determination of the sources of pollutants, their behaviour and other characteristics. This knowledge is necessary in any application of remediation methodologies and waste management for the prevention of pollutants in getting into the food chain. It is also used in determining safe criteria regarding the quality of soils, drinking water, construction of schools, playgrounds etc. In this work the importance of environmental geochemical research and its applications towards the protection of human health is demonstrated.


Medical geochemistry; metals in human health; metals in cancer disease; metals in nervous diseases; Pb in fetus development; remediation methods; job diseases;

Full Text:



Ahlgren, S., Holmlund, J., 2002. Outcrop Scans Give New View. American Association of Petroleum

Geologists Explorer, July 2002. Available online at: http://www.aapg.org/explorer/geophysical_corner/2002/07gpc.cfm

Aloupi, M., Angelidis, M. O., Gavril, A. M., Koulousaris, M. and Verandas, S.P., 2009. Influence of geology

on arsenic concentrations in ground and surface water in central Lesvos, Greece. Environmental

Monitoring and Assessment, 151,(1-4), 383-396.

Apostolopoulou, K. 2010. Assessment of environmental geochemical conditions in the Patras port area.

On going Doctoral thesis, University of Patras.

Bailey, D. and Solomon, G., 2004. Pollution prevention at ports: clearing the air. Environmental Impact

Assessment Review, 24, (7-8).

Bennett, B.G., 1981. Exposure of man to environment arsenic - an exposure commitment assessment.

Science of the Total Environment, 20, 99-107.

Cooper, D.A., 2003. Exhaust emissions from ships at Berth, Atmospheric Environment, 37, 3817-3830.

Cook, K., 2001. Mercury in your fish, Located at www.mercola.com/2001/apr/25/mercury_fish.htm

Constantinou, G., 1979. Metallogenesis associated with Troodos ophiolite. In: Panayiotou A. (ed) Ophiolites:

Proceedings International Ophiolite Symposium, Cyprus Geological Survey Department,

Nicosia, Cyprus, 663-674.

Corbett, J.J. and Fishbeck, P., 1997. Emissions from ships, Science, 278, 823-824.

EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), 1984. Health assessments. Document for Chromium Final

Report. Washington D.C.

EPA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2002. What You Need to Know about Wood Pressure

Treated with Chromate Copper Arsenate (CCA).

Farley, D., 1998. Dangers of Lead Still Linger, FDA/CFSAN FDA Consumer.

Isakson, J., Persson,Τ. Α., and Selin Lindgren, E., 2001. Identification and assessment of ship emissions

and their effects in the harbour of Goteborg, Sweden. Atmospheric Environment 35.

Kalavrouziotis, I.K., Carter, J., Mehra, A., Varnavas S.P., Drakatos P.A., 2006, ‘Towards an understanding

of metal contamination in food and soils related to road traffic’, Fresenius Environmental Bulletin,

, (3), 170-175.

Κalavrouziotis, I.K., Carter, J., Varnavas, S.P., Mehra, A., Drakatos P.A., 2007a. Towards an understanding

of the effect of road pollution on adjacent food crops: Zea mays as an example. International Journal

Environment and Pollution, 30, (3-4), 576-592.

Kalavrouziotis, I.K., Jones, P.W., Carter, J., Varnavas, S.P., 2007 b. Uptake of trace metals of lycopersicum

XLIII, No 1 – 244

esculendum at a site Adjacent to the main road, - Athens-Thessaloniki, Greece. Fresenius Environmental

Bulletin, 16, (2), 133-139.

Kalavrouziotis I.K. and Koukoulakis P., 2009. The environmental impact of the platinum group elements

(Pt, Pd, Rh) emitted by the automobile catalyst converters. International Journal Water, Air and Soil

Pollution, 196, (1-4), 393-402.

Karaberou, G. and Varnavas, S.P., 2004. an investigation into the possibility of reducing the environmental

impacts resulting from the industrial use of wood. 1st National Congress on Green chemistry.

February 2004 (p19), Athens.

Karaberou, G. and Varnavas, S.P., 2007. Wood industrial activities as major metal contaminant sources.

nd National Congress on Green chemistry, March 2007, Patras.

Kondakis, XG., Makris, N., Leotsinidis, M., Prinu, M., 1989. Possible health effects of high Mn concentrations

in drinking water. Archives of Environmental Health, 44, 175-178.

Lappé, M. and Chalfin, N., 2002. Identifying Toxic Risks Before and During Pregnancy: A Decision Tree

and Action Plan. Located at http//www. Cetos. Org/articles/MoDFinalReport.pdf

Leotsinidis, M. and Kondakis, X., 1990. Trace metals in scalp hair of greek agriculture workers, Science

of the Total Environment, 6, 223-226.

Merian, E., (Edit), 1991. Metals and their compounds in the environment. VCH, Weinheim.

Moreno, T., Jones, T.P. and Richards, R.J., 2004. Characterizations of aerosol particulate matter from

urban and industrial environments: examples from Cardiff and Port Talbot, South Wales, UK. Science

of the Total Environment, 334-335, 337-346.

NIOSH. (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health), 1977. Criteria for recommended standards:

Occupational Exposure to Inorganic nickel, pp. 1-282, U.S. Department of Health, Education

and Welfare, Washington, D.C.

Nriagu, J. O. (edit), 1984. Nickel in the environment pp. 1-833, Wiley, New York.

Saxe, H., and Larsen, T., 2004. Air pollution from ships in three Danish ports. Atmospheric Environment,

, (24).

Spang, G., 1988. In vivo monitoring of Cadmium workers in Cadmium 86 Edited. Proceedings pp. 162-

Cadmium Council New York, IL 2RO Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Stone, V. and Donaldson, K., 1998. Small particles big problem. The Aerosol Society Newsletter 33, 12-14.

Tarantino, L.M., 2006. Letter to Manufacturers and Suppliers Concerning the Presence of Lead in Soft

Vinyl Lunchboxes, US FDA/CFSAN.

Varnavas, S.P. and Cronan, D.S., 1988. Arsenic, antimony and bismuth in sentiments and waters from the

Santorini hydrothermal field, Greece. Chemical Geology, 67, 295-305.

Varnavas, S.P., 1990. Formation of placer mineral deposits in high energy environments: The Cyprus

continental Shelf, Geo-Marine Letters, 10, 51-58.

Varnavas, S.P. and Cronan, D.S., 1991. Hydrothermal metallogenetic processes off the islands of Nissiros

and Kos on the Hellenic Volcanic Arc. Marine Geology, 99, 109-133.

Varnavas, S.P., Kritsotakis, K.G., Panagos, A.G., 1992. Metal pollution offshore Hermioni area, Greece,

related to mining activities. In: Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Environmental

Contamination, J. - P. Vernet (edit) C.E.P. Consultants Edinburgh U.K. pp. 78-81.

Varnavas, S.P., Panagos, A.G. and Kritsotakis, G., 1994. Environmental impact of mining activities on the

Hermioni area Greece. In: Environmental Contamination, J. - P. Vernet (edit) Elsevier, Amsterdam,

pp. 119-145.

Varnavas, S.P. (editor), 1994. Proceedings of Sixth International Conference on Environmental contamXLIII,

No 1 – 245

ination, Delfi, Greece, CEP. Consultants Ltd.

Varnavas, S.P., Forstner, U., Salomons, U., Balopoulos, E., Brill, J., Golik, A., Loizides, L., Zodiatis, G.,

Environmental impact of mining activities in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Oceanography of

the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, European Commission. Energy Environment and Sustainable

Development. pp. 412- 413.

Varnavas, S.P., Forstner, U. and Calmano, W., 2001. Environmental assessment and Human Health in a

highly metal polluted Coastal Zone Associated with Toxic Solid Waste. The Need of Immediate Action.

University of the Aegean, Dept. Environmental Studies. Global Nest, Ermoupolis, Syros island,

Greece, 3-6 September 2001. Volume B. T, D. Lekkas (ed). pp. 903- 908.

Varnavas, S.P., 2005. Environmental Conditions in a Polluted Lagoon. Implications for Decontamination

Planning and Management. IASME Transactions, 2, (5), 764-768.

Varnavas, P.S and Varnavas S.P., 2007. Health risks from toxic metals present in the diet of pregnant

women and the children. 2nd National Congress on Green chemistry (P10) March 2007, Patras.

Vissikirsky, V., Stepashko, V., Kalavrouziotis, I., Varnavas, S., 2008. The road pollution impact on Zea

Mays: Inductive modeling and Qualitative assessment. International Journal of Air, Soil and Water

Pollution, 195, 301-310.

Voutsinou-Taliadouri, F., Satsmadjis, J. and Iatridis, B., 1987. Granulometric and metal composition in

sediments from a group from Ionian lagoons. Marine Pollution Bulletin 18, 49-52.

Wilson, R., and Spengler, J., 1996. Particles in our air: concentrations and health effects, Boston. Harvard

University Press.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 S. Varnavas

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.