Geology and Health

Closing the Gap

by H. Catherine W. Skinner,

Geology and Health is an integration of papers from geo-bio-chemical scientists on health issues of concern to humankind worldwide, demonstrating how the health and well-being of populations now and in the future can benefit through coordinated scientific efforts. International examples on dusts, coal, arsenic, fluorine, lead, mercury, and water borne chemicals, that lead to health effects are documented and explored. They were selected to illustrate how hazards and potential hazards may be from natural materials and processes and how anthropomorphic changes may have contributed to disease and debilitation instead of solutions.Introductory essays by the editors highlight some of the progress toward scientific integration that could be applied to other geographic sites and research efforts. A global purview and integration of earth and health sciences expertise could benefit the future of populations from many countries. Effective solutions to combat present and future hazards will arise when the full scope of human interactions with the total environment is appreciated by the wide range of people in positions to make important and probably expensive decisions. A case to illustrate the point of necessary crossover between Geology and Health was the drilling of shallow tube wells in Bangladesh to provide non-contaminated ground water. This "good" solution unfortunately mobilized arsenic from rocks into the aquifer and created an unforeseen or 'silent' hazard: arsenic.Geologists produce maps of earth materials and are concerned with natural processes in the environment with long time-frame horizons. The health effects encountered through changing the water source might have been avoided if the hydrological characteristics of the Bangladesh delta had been known and any chemical hazards had been investigated and documented. A recurrence of this type of oversight should be avoidable when responsible parties, often government officials, appreciate the necessity of such integrated efforts. The book extols the virtues of cooperation between the earth, life and health sciences, as the most practical approach to better public health worldwide.
  • Oxford University Press; March 2003
  • ISBN: 9780195347524
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Geology and Health
  • Author: H. Catherine W. Skinner (ed.); Antony R. Berger (ed.)
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"Given the human occupation of our planet, now and in the near future, we must quantify all the factors that influence human health and quality of life. Congratulations to all involved in producing this classic on an urgent topic. . . . I would hope that this book will be used in all educational programs involving earth sciences, medical sciences, social sciences and engineering."--Professor William S. Fyfe, American Journal of Science
"More than a simple compilation of articles, this reference text reads quite well ... it prompts the reader to consider the broad impact of geological parameters with health issues that may be encountered. ... a useful addition to the library of the practicing industrial hygienist."--Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
"I recommend this book to all geoscientists and health professionals. This is a valuable book for both under- and post-graduate environmental geology and environmental health courses."--Professor A.B. Kampunzu, Episodes
"This book is a fascinating read...Altogether, Geology and Health is an inspiration and encouragement for earth scientists and medical researchers to work together toward understanding and ameliorating natural hazards to health in the geological environment."--Pat E. Rasmussen, Geoscience Canada