Research Areas

  1. Arsenic geochemistry and Health

This project is to investigate arsenic in irrigated groundwater and arsenic accummulation in paddy soils. The study will be carried out in four different provinces in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia. Irrigation groundwater will be collected from Kandal, Kratie, Prey Veng and Kampong Cham. Concurrently ten paddy soils will be sampled along with irrigation groundwater from each province study area. Sampling will be conducted based upon the accessibilities to tube wells, the willingness of farm owners to provide their groundwater samples, and  farmer claims of tube well use for irrigation purposes. Irrigation groundwater will collected after flushing standing water in the tube. It is expected that our research outcomes will be used as a baseline database to monitor and manage arsenic concentrations in irrigated groundwater in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) tools will be developed to educate farmers about the effects of arsenic contamination in food chains and the adverse human health impacts from ingesting the arsenic contaminated foodstuffs.

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  1. Climate Change and Health

The aim of this project is to investigate the prevalence of heat stress and work injury among workers exposed to high ambient temperature, how this is influenced by their age, gender, BMI and work tasks, and how this impacts on their work productivity. The study hypotheses are that workers who are older, female, overweight, and have heavier work tasks; are more at risk of having higher core body temperature, heat stress and work injury; and that heat stress significantly affects their work productivity. In this study, personal attributes, BMI, health status, work tasks and work injuries of worker will be determined using field observations and questionnaires. Heat exposure will be measured as WBGT index which will account for the effect of temperature, humidity, wind speeds and heat radiation on humans. Core body temperature will be measured using a clinical thermometer inserted into the external ear. Work tasks and productivity will be determined by developed observational guide and work output/capacity, respectively.

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  1. Urban Soil quality

The project is to investigate the health risks of trace metals in urban top soil of adults and children residing in Phnom Penh city through ingestion pathway.  The objectives are to (1) determine total and bioavailable concentrations of heavy metals (Fe, Cu, Zn, Co, Cr, Al, Pb, and Cd) in the top soil of urban city of Phnom Penh, (2) assess the human health risks of bioavailable heavy metal concentrations and (3) identify the relationship between bioavailable heavy metals and their sources.

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  1. Wetland Water Quality and Metal Bioaccumulation

This project is to assess human health and ecological risks of trace metals in natural wetlands receiving sewage from Phnom Penh capital of Cambodia. This study is carried out in Kob Srov natural wetlands of Phnom Penh city which is believed to play a key role in treatment of wastewater from the city prior to discharge to the Tonle Sap River. The objectives are to (1) investigate seasonal change of water quality of the natural wetlands receiving sewage from Phnom Penh; (2) determine spatial and temporal distribution of trace metals in water of the natural wetlands and; and (3) assess health risks of trace metals of residents living in the natural wetland through water, fishery and vegetable consumption.

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