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The 'Water and Human Health' section of Frontiers in Water aims to publish papers on timely and evolving topics at the disciplinary interfaces of water in the hydrologic cycle, natural and anthropogenic environmental disruptions, and human health.Read More
The ‘Water and Human Health’ section of Frontiers in Water aims to publish papers on timely and evolving topics at the disciplinary interfaces of water in the hydrologic cycle, natural and anthropogenic environmental disruptions, and human health. The multidisciplinary research at these interfaces is expected to advance science through discoveries and insights informing impactful, practical solutions addressing human health challenges locally and globally. The ongoing COVID-19 global health crisis has convincingly demonstrated that the protection of human health a global undertaking and highlights the need for the continuous advancement of science—in this case, dramatic. Sharing this responsibility through research and knowledge dissemination will help advance science and influence decisions, policy, and management to sustain water and protect human health. The impacts on a highly interconnected world through trade, travel, communication, migration, and shared resources are global, cutting across low, middle, and high-income countries. However, some of these impacts are disproportionally affecting the health of a large segment of economically disadvantaged populations around the world.
Water is primary to nature’s life support system. Water and human health are intimately connected. Local and global hydrologic systems control the storage and distribution of water. The interconnections and feedback between the hydrologic cycle and human activity, if well understood through research, monitored and quantified through observations, and analyzed using modeling tools, will help sustain water as a resource while protecting ecological and human health. Water is an essential natural resource central to human survival, wellbeing, and quality of life. Water supports human life through ecological flow, drinking and domestic use, industry, and playing the fundamental role of food production. During the continuous movement in the hydrologic cycle, water picks, stores, reacts, and transports agents and toxins that degrade its quality, which is detrimental to human health. The movement can also naturally attenuate pathogens and several classes of contaminants, helping to improve the quality. Natural disasters (e.g., floods, droughts, hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic activity, sea-level rise, forest fires, etc.) can disrupt the natural order of things that sustain sources of water and its distribution. In addition to damaging the water supply infrastructure, many of these disruptions can degrade the quality of water. Inevitable accelerated industrial growth to meet consumer needs followed by urbanization has resulted in waste chemicals and wastewater increasingly being discharged to the environment, threatening clean sources of drinking water. In some regions of the world, there is a need to increase food production while shrinking and degraded land available for agriculture, being and subject to climate change-driven water scarcity. The simultaneous need to increase food production has resulted in the proliferation of agrochemicals that introduce toxins to water, again affecting human health. During the last several years, a suite of new pollutants such as recalcitrant chemicals, PFAS (Polyfluroalkyl substances), nano- and microparticle contaminants, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals are receiving increased attention. The toxic constituents in these substances are suspected of threatening human health and have resulted in additional challenges.
The disciplinary interface of the hydrologic cycle and human health involves dealing with complex processes defined by physics, chemistry, biology/microbiology, and social activity. The research at this interface is evolving, thus providing many opportunities and challenges. Discoveries at the interface supplemented by the advances in the core sciences will help to protect human health. This new section of the journal is planning to play a leading role in this venture.
The journal seeks papers pertaining to a broad list of possible topics outlined below. However, considering the wide-ranging overlaps of science and human health, papers in other related multidisciplinary topics are also encouraged.
• Advancing the understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological/microbiological processes that contribute to the degradation of water quality that is directly and indirectly impacting human health.
• Framing the scientific knowledge base for policymaking at the interface of water and health.
• New technologies for the measurement of concentrations at high resolutions to develop risk and vulnerability indictors and indices to assist in health policy and regulations.
• Prediction of ultra-low concentrations of emerging contaminants in water with stringent regulatory standards to protect human health.
• Modeling tools to predict human exposure risks under uncertainties in sources and migration pathways of contaminants in natural systems.
• Vector-borne disease transmission models and regional, global, and seasonal climate drivers.
• Sources of waterborne pathogens in lake and river sediments and beaches driving infectious diseases – mechanisms of transmission.
• After effects of natural disasters and disruptions to water supply and degradation of quality affecting human health.
• Loading mechanisms and sources of toxic pollutants in irrigation water and entry of undesirable chemicals into the food cycle.
• Study of mechanisms of transport of disease-causing microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses in surface and subsurface water systems when subjected to hydrological and climate drivers.
• Fate and transport of toxins in production fluids in unconventional energy development in surface and subsurface water drinking water sources.
• Fate and transport of industrial wastes and chemicals and leachates from municipal wastes entering natural water systems affecting ecological and human health.
• Diseases and epidemics with multifactorial causes with water quantity and quality as a dominant factor.
• Adaptation and application of evolving information science and computational approaches such as artificial intelligence and machine learning for data analysis and modeling of risks to human health.
• Sensing and wireless sensor networking technologies for efficient gathering of water/environmental monitoring data for disease tracking, rapid response, and assessment of potential risks to human exposure.
• Application of methods in emerging field of combining machine learning and artificial intelligence to problems in the water and human health interface.
• Predicting adverse health outcomes of chemical mixtures in the water through effect directed analyses and sentinels.
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Water and Human Health welcomes submissions of the following article types: Correction, Data Report, Editorial, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Original Research, Perspective, Specialty Grand Challenge, Systematic Review, Technology and Code and Technology Report.
All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Water and Human Health, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.
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