Soil: Influence on Human Health

Authored by: Eric C. Brevik , Lynn C. Burgess

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120051138

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Abstract

Few people seem to recognize the connection between soils and human health, even though soils are actually very important to health. Soils influence health through the nutrients taken up by plants and the animals that eat those plants, nutrients that need to be passed onto humans for adequate nutrition for growth and development. Soils act as filters to purify water and are a major source of medications. Soils can also harm human health through exposures to heavy metals, radiation, organic chemicals, and pathogens. Soils interact with the atmosphere and are both affected by and influence climate change, which has implications for human health. Therefore, soils form an integral link in the holistic view of human health.

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