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Geologic aspects of environmental health

2011

Contents
Medical

geology Determination of health factors Geologic factors of environmental health Trace element and health Human use, trace substances and health

Medical Geology
Branch

of geology which deals with the studies of exposure to or deficiency of trace elements and minerals; inhalation of ambient and anthropogenic mineral dusts and volcanic emissions; transportation, modification and concentration of organic compounds; and exposure to radionuclide's, microbes and pathogens

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Biological community is highly dependent on complex interrelations among biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere Scientifically disease is an imbalance resulting from a poor adjustment between an individual and environment Geologist contribution is to help in isolating those aspects of the geo.envt that may influence the incidence of disease

Determination of health factors


Cultural and climatic factors are associated with the patterns of diseases and death rates Cultural aspects are the sum total of concepts and techniques that a group of people have developed to survive in their environment The nature and extent of linkages/isolation depends on local customs and degree of industrialization

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Climatic

factors such as temperature, humidity and amount of ppt are sometimes intimately related to patterns of diseases E.g.: malaria, snail fever, Burketts tumor etc

Geologic factors
Relationships

between geology and health are significant research The most important factors are natural abundance of elements and concentration & dispersion of chemical components

Natural abundance of elements


Between

atomic number of elements and natural abundance in universe there is inverse relationship Lighter elements are abundant as compared to heavier elements

Concentration and dispersion of chemical components


Movement

of chemical components through atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere makes up the geochemical cycles Natural and artificial processes release chemical material into different zones of earth These released elements are cycled and recycled by geochemical and rock forming processes These processes comprised of weathering, leaching, accretion, deposition and biological activity

Trace elements and Health


Trace

element is a chemical element whose concentration is less than 1000 ppm or 0.1% of a rock's composition The term is used mainly in igneous petrology Trace elements will either prefer liquid or solid phase Important trace elements comprised of fluorine, iodine, zinc and selenium Effects of trace element on a particular organism depends on the dose of the element Dose-response curve is used for concentration of trace elements

Human use, trace substances and health


Agricultural,

industrial and mining activities have all been responsible for releasing potentially hazardous and toxic elements into the environment. Different concentration of elements that are toxic to plants, animals and human health are categorized into five groups:

Elements that occur in anomalous amounts in the clay or sediment or both and are also found in many plants include Al, CU, Mo, Ni and Na.

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Elements that occur in anomalous concentrations in clay and sediment but are seldom found in anomalous amounts in plants include Ba, Be, Cr, and Va Elements that occur in relatively low amounts in the clay and sediment but are concentrated in some plants include B, Cd, Ca, and Zn Elements that are anomalous in clay or sediment but are not easily evaluated in plants include C, Se and Si.


Elements

whose concentrations and rates of movement through the local environment are not easily categorized at the time include This grouping suggests how some elements may influence the metabolic imbalances in living organisms.