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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health EARTH MATERIALS AND HEALTH RESEARCH PRIORITIES FOR EARTH SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH Committee on Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies Board on Health Sciences Policy Institute of Medicine NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL AND INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations contained in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the U.S. Geological Survey. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. government. Supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. 0106060; the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, under Award No. 01HQAG0216; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Award No. NNS04AA14G. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10470-8 (Book) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10470-X (Book) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-66852-1 (PDF) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-66852-2 (PDF) Library of Congress Control Number: 2007921888 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Cover: Design by Michele de la Menardiere. The top right is an image illustrating successful models of blood clotting (image courtesy of Nicole Rager-Fuller, National Science Foundation). The top left image is a high resolution photo of fluorite (image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey; image source, AGI Image Bank, http://www.earthscienceworld.org/images). Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health COMMITTEE ON RESEARCH PRIORITIES FOR EARTH SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH H. CATHERINE W. SKINNER, Chair, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut HERBERT E. ALLEN, University of Delaware, Newark JEAN M. BAHR, University of Wisconsin, Madison PHILIP C. BENNETT, University of Texas, Austin KENNETH P. CANTOR, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland JOSÉ A. CENTENO, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. LOIS K. COHEN, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Bethesda, Maryland PAUL R. EPSTEIN, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts W. GARY ERNST, Stanford University, California SHELLEY A. HEARNE, Trust for America’s Health, Washington, D.C. JONATHAN D. MAYER, University of Washington, Seattle JONATHAN PATZ, University of Wisconsin, Madison IAN L. PEPPER, University of Arizona, Tucson Liaison from the Board on Health Sciences Policy BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania National Research Council Staff DAVID A. FEARY, Study Director (Board on Earth Sciences and Resources) CHRISTINE M. COUSSENS, Program Officer (Board on Health Sciences Policy) JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Financial Associate CAETLIN M. OFIESH, Research Associate AMANDA M. ROBERTS, Senior Project Assistant (until August 2006) NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Senior Project Assistant (from September 2006)
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park STEVEN R. BOHLEN, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C. KEITH C. CLARKE, University of California, Santa Barbara DAVID J. COWEN, University of South Carolina, Columbia ROGER M. DOWNS, Pennsylvania State University, University Park KATHERINE H. FREEMAN, Pennsylvania State University, University Park RHEA L. GRAHAM, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Albuquerque MURRAY W. HITZMAN, Colorado School of Mines, Golden V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada BARBARA A. ROMANOWICZ, University of California, Berkeley JOAQUIN RUIZ, University of Arizona, Tucson MARK SCHAEFER, Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Arlington, Virginia RUSSELL STANDS-OVER-BULL, BP American Production Company, Houston, Texas TERRY C. WALLACE, Jr., Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee National Research Council Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director PAUL M. CUTLER, Senior Program Officer ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer ANN G. FRAZIER, Program Officer SAMMANTHA L. MAGSINO, Program Officer RONALD F. ABLER, Senior Scholar CAETLIN M. OFIESH, Research Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative and Financial Associate JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Financial Associate JARED P. ENO, Senior Program Assistant NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Senior Program Assistant
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health BOARD ON HEALTH SCIENCE POLICY FRED H. GAGE, Chair, The Salk Institute, La Jolla, California GAIL H. CASSELL, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana JAMES F. CHILDRESS, University of Virginia, Charlottesville ELLEN WRIGHT CLAYTON, Vanderbilt University School of Law and School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee DAVID R. COX, Perlegen Sciences, Inc., Mountain View, California LYNN R. GOLDMAN, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania MARTHA N. HILL, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland ALAN I. LESHNER, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C. DANIEL R. MASYS, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine JONATHAN D. MORENO, University of Virginia, Charlottesville E. ALBERT REECE, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville MYRL WEINBERG, National Health Council, Washington, DC MICHAEL J. WELCH, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri OWEN N. WITTE, University of California, Los Angeles MARY WOOLLEY, Research! America, Alexandria, Virginia Institute of Medicine Staff ANDREW M. POPE, Director AMY HAAS, Board Assistant DAVID CODREA, Financial Associate
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health Preface We live in an era with unparalleled opportunities to practice disease prevention based on knowledge of the earth environment. Although globally distributed early warning systems can monitor physical hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis, chemical hazards on the other hand—whether actual or potential and natural or anthropogenically induced—remain difficult to accurately identify in time and space. Such hazards often have lengthy asymptomatic latency periods before disability or disease becomes evident. The scientific information available from the earth sciences—knowledge about earth materials and earth processes, the normal environment, or potential hazards—is essential for the design and maintenance of livable environments and a fundamental component of public health. A global perspective is necessary when considering the interlinked geochemical and biochemical research issues at the intersection of the earth sciences and public health. The air that carries viruses or earth-sourced particulate matter is clearly global and circulates beyond human control. Pathogens in soil and water have enhanced potential for global spread as food is increasingly transported worldwide. And the availability of irrigation and potable water is increasingly acknowledged as a worldwide issue. As the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth (2008) approaches, it is particularly gratifying that “Earth and Health: Building a Safer Environment” is one of the 10 research themes. This presents an important opportunity for the earth science and public health research communities on a global scale; the committee hopes that this re-
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health port will provide research focal points and suggest mechanisms to improve communication and collaboration between these communities. The broad purview of the committee’s task has been a blessing rather than a curse. As the topics and issues addressed by the committee ranged from global to personal, remarkable opportunities arose for interaction among committee members from diverse backgrounds and with differing scientific vocabularies and knowledge bases. From the immense range of potential research opportunities, the committee members were able to achieve a consensus on the priority research directions and mechanisms that we believe will contribute to improved public health and better safeguarding of our earth environment. H. Catherine W. Skinner, Chair
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health Acknowledgments This report was greatly enhanced by input from participants at the workshop and public committee meetings held as part of this study: Ludmilla Aristilde, E. Scott Bair, Anthony R. Berger, Gordon E. Brown, Jr., Herbert T. Buxton, Margaret Cavanaugh, Rachael Craig, Ellen Marie Douglas, Barbara L. Dutrow, Jonathan E. Ericson, Rodney C. Ewing, Robert B. Finkelman, Charles P. Gerba, Charles G. Groat, Linda C.S. Gundersen, Mickey Gunter, Stephen C. Guptill, John A. Haynes, Richard J. Jackson, Michael Jerrett, K. Bruce Jones, Ann Marie Kimball, P. Patrick Leahy, Louise S. Maranda, Perry L. McCarty, Catherine Pham, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Donald Rice, Joshua P. Rosenthal, Carol H. Rubin, Harold H. Sandstead, Samuel M. Scheiner, Ellen K. Silbergeld, Barry Smith, Alan T. Stone, Lesley A. Warren, Robert T. Watson, Samuel H. Wilson, Scott D. Wright, Harold Zenick, and Herman Zimmerman. These presentations and discussions helped set the stage for the committee’s fruitful discussions in the sessions that followed. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: John C. Bailar III, Department of Health Studies, The University of Chicago (emeritus), Washington, D.C. Thomas A. Burke, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland Kristie L. Ebi, Health Sciences Practice, Exponent, Alexandria, Virginia Rodney Klassen, Applied Geochemistry, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa Ben A. Klinck, Chemical and Biological Hazards Programme, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, United Kingdom Jonathan M. Samet, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland Rien van Genuchten, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Riverside, California Philip Weinstein, School of Population Health, University of Western Australia, Crawley Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by David S. Kosson, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and Edward B. Perrin, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health Contents SUMMARY 1 SECTION I —INTRODUCTION 1 INTRODUCTION 9 Need for Collaborative Research, 10 Committee Charge and Scope of the Study, 10 2 EARTH PROCESSES AND HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY 15 Earth Processes, 16 Human Physiological Processes, 29 Geoavailability, Bioavailability, and Bioaccumulation, 37 SECTION II —EXPOSURE PATHWAYS 3 WHAT WE BREATHE 43 Inhalation of Particulate Material, 44 Gas Inhalation Hazards, 55 Inhalation of Biological Contaminants, 59 Opportunities for Research Collaboration, 61 4 WHAT WE DRINK 63 Health Benefits of Waterborne Earth Materials, 66 Health Hazards of Waterborne Earth Materials, 69 Opportunities for Research Collaboration, 80
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Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health 5 WHAT WE EAT 83 Eating Earth Materials (Geophagia/Geophagy), 83 Health Effects of Microbes in Earth Materials, 85 Health Effects of Trace Elements and Metals in Earth Materials, 87 Opportunities for Research Collaboration, 95 6 EARTH PERTURBATIONS AND PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACTS 99 Public Health Consequences of Natural Disasters, 99 Land Cover Change and Vectorborne Diseases, 103 Health Effects of Resource Extraction and Processing, 106 Opportunities for Research Collaboration, 110 SECTION III —FACILITATING COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: MECHANISMS AND PRIORITIES 7 GISCIENCE, REMOTE SENSING, AND EPIDEMIOLOGY: ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR COLLABORATION 115 Geospatial Analysis and Epidemiology, 115 Concepts and Components of Geospatial Analysis, 116 Types and Availability of Epidemiological Data, 119 Opportunities for Research Collaboration, 124 8 ENCOURAGING COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION 127 Existing Research Activity and Collaborations, 128 Models for Encouraging Collaborative Research, 131 Multiagency Support for Collaborative Research, 137 9 COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH PRIORITIES 140 Research Themes and Priorities, 141 Implementation Strategies, 144 REFERENCES 147 APPENDIXES A Committee and Staff Biographies 167 B Acronyms and Abbreviations 175