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Gibbs J.P.,New York University | Rouhani S.,NewFields | Shams L.,NewFields
Journal of Herpetology | Year: 2017

A major challenge in amphibian ecotoxicology is understanding the population-level implications of laboratory-based, dose-response studies. We contrasted habitat occupancy among five species of frogs and toads in two adjacent segments of the upper Hudson River-one heavily contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, compounds reported to have adverse impacts on individual amphibians) and the other uncontaminated-while controlling for site and sampling covariates. Site occupancy was estimated via repeated night call surveys at 40 wetland sites during 2006 and 2007. Habitat occupancy varied strongly in response to whether breeding sites were hydrologically connected to the Hudson River but was independent of the degree of PCB contamination of a given river segment. The results highlight the uncertainties of extrapolating outcomes of laboratory-based, toxicological studies to wild amphibian populations. © 2017 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

Lin Y.-P.,National Taiwan University | Chu H.-J.,National Taiwan University | Huang Y.-L.,National Taiwan University | Tang C.-H.,National Taiwan University | Rouhani S.,NewFields
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2011

This study develops a stratified conditional Latin hypercube sampling (scLHS) approach for multiple, remotely sensed, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) images. The objective is to sample, monitor, and delineate spatiotemporal landscape changes, including spatial heterogeneity and variability, in a given area. The scLHS approach, which is based on the variance quadtree technique (VQT) and the conditional Latin hypercube sampling (cLHS) method, selects samples in order to delineate landscape changes from multiple NDVI images. The images are then mapped for calibration and validation by using sequential Gaussian simulation (SGS) with the scLHS selected samples. Spatial statistical results indicate that in terms of their statistical distribution, spatial distribution, and spatial variation, the statistics and variograms of the scLHS samples resemble those of multiple NDVI images more closely than those of cLHS and VQT samples. Moreover, the accuracy of simulated NDVI images based on SGS with scLHS samples is significantly better than that of simulated NDVI images based on SGS with cLHS samples and VQT samples, respectively. However, the proposed approach efficiently monitors the spatial characteristics of landscape changes, including the statistics, spatial variability, and heterogeneity of NDVI images. In addition, SGS with the scLHS samples effectively reproduces spatial patterns and landscape changes in multiple NDVI images. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Nowosiwsky A.,ExxonMobil | Prest D.,ExxonMobil | Moore J.D.,Esso Australia Pty. Ltd | Krieger G.R.,NewFields
Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE International Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility | Year: 2016

OBJECTIVE: Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are a tool that the international development community, including international financial institutions (IFIs) are increasingly utilizing for developing and / or enhancing critical public infrastructure assets and services. The PNG LNG Project, ExxonMobil PNG Ltd used the PPP approach in multiple instances to support positive development outcomes. In the health sector, a PPP- known as the Partnership in Health Program (PiHP) - was developed to support Project, community and broader national health objectives. This PPP was not based on either physical infrastructure, (e.g., clinics, hospitals) or traditional clinical services, (e.g., out and inpatient care). Instead, ExxonMobil PNG Ltd developed the PiHP as an initiative focused on higher end scientific / medical services that would provide crucial data for overall countrywide public health policy development, planning and program implementation. The lessons learned from this five-year effort will be presented. METHODS: The long-term revenue stream of the PNG LNG Project is potential transformative for PNG's macro-economic position. PNG has an extremely high burden of disease largely dominated by infectious diseases. However, the pattern and distribution of disease is extremely uneven and some areas of the country are likely undergoing an epidemiological transition, i.e., a movement from infectious to non-communicable diseases. As part of the overall impact mitigation and extended benefits planning for the PNG LNG, a novel use of the PPP model was developed. Both impact mitigation and extended countrywide benefits for the health sector were incorporated into a PPP involving the statutory research arm of the PNG Ministry of Health [(PNG Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR)] and ExxonMobil PNG Ltd. Formal "Memorandum of Understanding" and Sponsorship Agreements with key stakeholders were jointly developed. Scientific, financial and capacity development objectives were specified and included a set of key performance indicators. RESULTS: A five-year program was designed and implemented. Over 50,000 persons were covered and monitored by a comprehensive demographic surveillance system that was accepted into the 20 country international INDEPTH Network. This is the first PPP sponsored site accepted by INDEPTH in its 18-year history. A unique 2+ BSL infectious diseases research laboratory was developed under the PiHP and co-located within the PNG School of Medicine. Significant stewardship was provided and included financial accountability training and monitoring of PNGIMR. Important scientific discoveries involving tuberculosis, human papilloma virus, febrile surveillance and non-communicable diseases have been documented with significant public health policy implications. NOVEL / ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The PPP model can be successfully adapted to meet both impact mitigation and extended benefit needs for a large oil and gas project. There are, significant "lessons learned" when undertaking a PPP of this size and magnitude. The risk and management responsibility of this effort will be described. As noted through multiple engagements with the PNG government and donor community such an approach can be replicated by others in the extractives as well as non-extractives industries using field proven methods pioneered on the PNG LNG Project. In so doing the improvement in coverage and data quality can assist in improving public health policy development and implementation. Copyright 2016, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Nowosiwsky A.,ExxonMobil | Burke N.,ExxonMobil | Moore J.D.,Esso Australia Pty Ltd. | Krieger G.R.,NewFields
Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE International Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility | Year: 2016

OBJECTIVE: Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind. However, in many locations around the world, tuberculosis has now become a "re-emerging infectious disease" that can significantly impact workforce operations. As part of the PNG LNG Project, a comprehensive TB management strategy was developed that included both the workforce and key proximal communities. Pre-placement evaluations, ongoing surveillance and community incidence and prevalence studies were conducted in an integrated fashion. Innovative technology, including use of the GeneXpert platform, was systematically utilized at both key worksite locations and target communities to support pro-active TB mitigation efforts. METHODS: Based on the findings of pre-project health risk and impact assessments (i.e. inside and outside the fence evaluations) and building on the corporate approach for TB control in Company workplaces, the Project determined that a comprehensive TB management program was essential. PNG has a significant underlying burden of TB with an increasing burden of multi-drug resistant TB (MDRTB), while local health capacity to accurately diagnose and treat TB is variable. Importantly, there are no current indications that the PNG TB burden is related to HIV co-infection. Given the large workforce used during the Project's construction phase and focus on maximizing local hires, a comprehensive program to rapidly assess potential workforce TB status was needed. Existing assessment methods including questionnaires, TB skin tests, and chest x-rays. As all of these methods had significant limitations a more rapid, sensitive and specific diagnostic system - the GeneXpert platform - was required. Comprehensive pre-employment evaluation was performed utilizing a combination of questionnaires, physical examinations and state of the art interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA) with the GeneXpert platform applied to suspect cases to enable rapid assessment and referral. In the proximal worksite communities, the PNG Institute of Medical Research performed systematic TB incidence and prevalence studies. In addition, TB knowledge, attitudes, practices and belief surveys were conducted along with an assessment of local public health capacity for TB diagnosis and treatment. Enhanced laboratory diagnostics, including GeneXpert and improved microscopy training, were added. RESULTS: In line with the Project team's expectation, the underlying burden of TB was extremely high in local proximal worksite communities. TB incidence and prevalence levels were 2-4 times higher than reported government data. In one area, the TB burden recorded is one of the highest ever documented in the world. HIV co-infection was not significant as HIV rates were <2%. Not surprisingly, workforce pre-employment burden of both latent and active TB were significant and reflected the local population burden of disease. Detailed data will be presented regarding workforce IGRA experience, active surveillance results and the benefits of the GeneXpert platform. NOVEL / ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The development of an integrated, (workforce and community) comprehensive TB management and monitoring program represents a new benchmark both for PNG and the oil and gas industry. As noted through multiple engagements with the PNG government and donor community such an approach can be replicated by others in the extractives as well as non-extractives industries using field proven methods pioneered on the PNG LNG Project. In so doing the improvement in coverage and data quality can assist in improving public health policy development and implementation. Copyright 2016, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Douglas G.S.,NewFields | Hardenstine J.H.,NewFields | Liu B.,NewFields | Uhler A.D.,NewFields
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2012

We describe a new and rapid quantitative approach to assess the extent of aerobic biodegradation of volatile and semivolatile hydrocarbons in crude oil, using Shushufindi oil from Ecuador as an example. Volatile hydrocarbon biodegradation was both rapid and complete ̄100% of the benzene, toluene, xylenes (BTEX) and 98% of the gasoline-range organics (GRO) were biodegraded in less than 2 days. Severe biodegradation of the semivolatile hydrocarbons occurred in the inoculated samples with 67% and 87% loss of the diesel-range hydrocarbons (DRO) in 3 and 20 weeks, respectively. One-hundred percent of the naphthalene, fluorene, and phenanthrene, and 46% of the chrysene in the oil were biodegraded within 3 weeks. Percent depletion estimates based on C30 17α,21β(H)-hopane (hopane) underestimated the diesel-range organics (DRO) and USEPA 16 priority pollutant PAH losses in the most severely biodegraded samples. The C28 20S-triaromatic steroid (TAS) was found to yield more accurate depletion estimates, and a new hopane stability ratio (HSR = hopane/(hopane + TAS)) was developed to monitor hopane degradation in field samples. Oil degradation within field soil samples impacted with Shushufindi crude oil was 83% and 98% for DRO and PAH, respectively. The gas chromatograms and percent depletion estimates indicated that similar levels of petroleum degradation occurred in both the field and laboratory samples, but hopane degradation was substantially less in the field samples. We conclude that cometabolism of hopane may be a factor during rapid biodegradation of petroleum in the laboratory and may not occur to a great extent during biodegradation in the field. We recommend that the hopane stability ratio be monitored in future field studies. If hopane degradation is observed, then the TAS percent depletion estimate should be computed to correct for any bias that may result in petroleum depletion estimates based on hopane. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Winkler M.S.,Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute | Winkler M.S.,University of Basel | Divall M.J.,NewFields | Krieger G.R.,NewFields LLC | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Impact Assessment Review | Year: 2011

Natural resources development projects are - and have been for more than 150. years - located in remote rural areas in developing countries, where local level data on community health is notoriously scarce. Health impact assessment (HIA) aims at identifying potential negative health consequences of such projects and providing the initial evidence-base for prevention and mitigation of diseases, injuries and risk factors, as well as promotion of positive effects. An important, but under-systematised early phase of the HIA process is scoping. It aims at organising diverse, often fragmentary, evidence and identifying potential project-related health impacts and underlying data gaps. It is also a key element in defining the terms of reference for the entire assessment. We present novel methodological features for the scoping process, emphasising the evaluation of quality of evidence, and illustrate its use in a contemporary HIA of the Simandou iron ore project in the Republic of Guinea. Assessment of data quality is integrated with specific content information via an analytical framework for the systematic identification of health outcomes and determinants of major concern. A subsequent gap analysis is utilised to assess the need for further baseline data collection and to facilitate the specification of a set of potential key performance indicators and strategies to inform the required evidence-base. We argue that scoping also plays a central role in the design of surveillance systems for longitudinal monitoring of health, equity and wellbeing following project implementation. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Salcito K.,NomoGaia | Wielga C.,NewFields | Wielga C.,University of Colorado at Denver | Singer B.H.,University of Florida
International Journal of Human Rights | Year: 2015

Between 2012 and 2013, we analysed and coded the human rights policies of the largest corporations in six of the world’s most globalised industries: finance, mining, oil and gas, food and beverage, apparel and agribusiness. Using the language of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as benchmarks, we developed a scoring mechanism to evaluate the level of responsibility companies had accepted to (1) respect human rights, (2) conduct human rights due diligence, and (3) provide remedies for human rights violations associated with their activities. Statistical analysis using both standard regression and ordinal logistic regression revealed that companies domiciled in the United States score poorly, nearly on par with sub- Saharan Africa, while companies based in Europe and Commonwealth countries demonstrate the highest adoption rate of human rights duties. Additionally, extractive industries produce, overall, the strongest human rights policies, while apparel companies are laggards. Furthermore, membership in socially responsible industry groups may not correlate with higher human rights scores. These findings are analysed in the context of the external influences that align most closely with shifts in corporate policies. The article considers explanations for the disparities, which have policy implications for home states and industry associations. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

PubMed | University of Houston, Industrial Economics Inc., Inc. RPI, Research South, Inc. and 4 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science & technology | Year: 2016

Deepwater Horizon was the largest marine oil spill in U.S. waters, oiling large expanses of coastal wetland shorelines. We compared marsh periwinkle (Littoraria irrorata) density and shell length at salt marsh sites with heavy oiling to reference conditions 16 months after oiling. We also compared periwinkle density and size among oiled sites with and without shoreline cleanup treatments. Densities of periwinkles were reduced by 80-90% at the oiled marsh edge and by 50% in the oiled marsh interior (9 m inland) compared to reference, with greatest numerical losses of periwinkles in the marsh interior, where densities were naturally higher. Shoreline cleanup further reduced adult snail density as well as snail size. Based on the size of adult periwinkles observed coupled with age and growth information, population recovery is projected to take several years once oiling and habitat conditions in affected areas are suitable to support normal periwinkle life-history functions. Where heavily oiled marshes have experienced accelerated erosion as a result of the spill, these habitat impacts would represent additional losses of periwinkles. Losses of marsh periwinkles would likely affect other ecosystem processes and attributes, including organic matter and nutrient cycling, marsh-estuarine food chains, and multiple species that prey on periwinkles.

PubMed | NewFields, University of Florida, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Suite 303 CO
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Infectious diseases of poverty | Year: 2015

Global health institutions have called for governments, international organisations and health practitioners to employ a human rights-based approach to infectious diseases. The motivation for a human rights approach is clear: poverty and inequality create conditions for infectious diseases to thrive, and the diseases, in turn, interact with social-ecological systems to promulgate poverty, inequity and indignity. Governments and intergovernmental organisations should be concerned with the control and elimination of these diseases, as widespread infections delay economic growth and contribute to higher healthcare costs and slower processes for realising universal human rights. These social determinants and economic outcomes associated with infectious diseases should interest multinational companies, partly because they have bearing on corporate productivity and, increasingly, because new global norms impose on companies a responsibility to respect human rights, including the right to health.We reviewed historical and recent developments at the interface of infectious diseases, human rights and multinational corporations. Our investigation was supplemented with field-level insights at corporate capital projects that were developed in areas of high endemicity of infectious diseases, which embraced rights-based disease control strategies.Experience and literature provide a longstanding business case and an emerging social responsibility case for corporations to apply a human rights approach to health programmes at global operations. Indeed, in an increasingly globalised and interconnected world, multinational corporations have an interest, and an important role to play, in advancing rights-based control strategies for infectious diseases.There are new opportunities for governments and international health agencies to enlist corporate business actors in disease control and elimination strategies. Guidance offered by the United Nations in 2011 that is widely embraced by companies, governments and civil society provides a roadmap for engaging business enterprises in rights-based disease management strategies to mitigate disease transmission rates and improve human welfare outcomes.

PubMed | Newfields, University of Ghana, Kintampo Health Research Center, Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd and HealthLink Consulting
Type: | Journal: Malaria journal | Year: 2015

Malaria vector dynamics are relevant prior to commencement of mining activities. A baseline entomology survey was conducted in Asutifi and Tano (referred to as Ahafo) in the Brong-Ahafo geo-political region of Ghana during preparatory stages for mining by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited.Between November 2006 and August 2007, eight Centre for Disease Control light traps were set daily (Monday-Friday) to collect mosquitoes. Traps were hanged in rooms that were selected from a pool of 1,100 randomly selected houses. Types of materials used in construction of houses were recorded and mosquito prevention measures were assessed from occupants.A total of 5,393 mosquitoes were caught that comprised Anopheles gambiae (64.8%), Anopheles funestus (4.2%), as well as Culicines, comprising of Culex (30.4%) and Aedes species (0.6%). The entomological inoculation rate in Asutifi (279 infective bites/person/month) and Tano (487 infective bites/person/month) demonstrate relatively high malaria transmission in Ahafo. The presence or absence of Anopheles vectors in rooms was influenced by the type of roofing material (OR 2.33, 95%CI: 1.29-4.22, p=0.01) as well as the presence of eaves gaps (OR 1.80, 95%CI: 1.37-2.37, p<0.01). It was also associated with bed net availability in the room (OR 1.39, 95%CI: 1.08-1.80, p=0.01). Over 80% of the houses were roofed with corrugated zinc sheets. Over 60% of the houses in Ahafo had no eaves gaps to give access to mosquito entry and exit into rooms and mosquito bed net coverage was over 50%. Other measures used in preventing mosquito bites included; coil (22.1%), insecticide spray (9.4%), repellent cream (4.0%) and smoky fires (1.1%), contributed minimally to individual mosquito preventive measures in impact areas. Similarly, levels of protection; coil (16.9%), insecticide spray (2.8%) and repellent cream (0.3%) for the non-impact areas, depict low individual prevention measures.The survey identified areas where intensified vector control activities would be beneficial. It also demonstrates that transmission in Asutifi and Tano is high even before the commencement of mining operations. This study serves as baseline information to assess impact of mining activities in relation to future vector control interventions.

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