Medical Geology: Impacts of the Natural Environment on Public Health
Centeno, José A.
Finkelman, Robert B.
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Summary in foreign language
All living organisms are composed of major, minor, and trace elements, given by nature and supplied by geology. Medical geology is a rapidly growing discipline dealing with the influence of natural geological and environmental risk factors on the distribution of health problems in humans and animals [1–3]. As a multi-disciplinary scientific field, medical geology has the potential of helping medical and public health communities all over the world in the pursuit of solutions to a wide range of environmental and naturally induced health issues. The natural environment can impact health in a variety of ways. The composition of rocks and minerals are imprinted on the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and the food that we eat. For many people this transference of minerals and the trace elements they contain is beneficial as it is the primary source of nutrients (such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and about a dozen other elements) that are essential for a healthy life. However, sometimes the local geology may contain minerals than contain certain elements that naturally dissolve under oxidizing/reducing conditions in groundwater.
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