Environmental geochemistry and health : global perspectives

Fordyce, Fiona; Plant, Jane; Smith, Barry; Appleton, Don; Johnson, Chris; Smedley, Pauline; Williams, Lorraine. 1999 Environmental geochemistry and health : global perspectives. In: ICSU-IGU Setting an Agenda on Health and the Environment : Workshop 2 - Health and Environmental Resources, Kingston, Jamaica, 12-14 Nov 1999. Ontario, Canada, Queens University, 1-13. (Unpublished)

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There is increasing concern about the effect of chemicals in the environment on the health of man, animals, crops and the sustainability of the Earth’s surface life support systems. Concern centres on heavy metals, arsenic, fluoride, radioactive substances and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). In humans such potentially harmful substances (PHSs) have been associated with various diseases including cancer. There is also increasing recognition that changes in the chemistry of the Earth’s surface as a result of human activity are having an impact on the environment at the global scale. In the context of these concerns, there is a serious lack of monitoring and information on the concentration and distribution of PHSs in the environment and little information on associated exposure and effects on people and ecosystems. High-resolution systematic digital geochemical maps are of value for addressing such problems at the national to local scale. Typically, a range of potentially harmful elements, radioactive elements and essential trace elements has been determined. The resulting data facilitate the understanding of complex environmental geochemical problems. Unfortunately, the geochemical data currently available have been obtained mainly in the absence of any international standards and there have been considerable differences in survey methodologies. To address these problems, the IUGS and IAGC have established a Global Geochemical Baselines Working Group. The aims are to prepare a standardised global geochemical baseline, to document environmental problems and to provide a means of monitoring future changes in surface geochemistry. Such information can be used to refine, develop and validate models for the interaction of man and the environment at the local to global scale.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Chemical and Biological Hazards
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 06 Aug 2012 10:14 +0 (UTC)

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