The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health
face alteration on disease ecology, including emergence/resurgence and transmission of disease. The effects of land surface modifications on the bioaccessibility of the vectors responsible for disease outbreaks, deleterious chronic disease levels, and human senescence need to be measured individually and collectively in order to better safeguard public health. This will require a seamless integration of geological, hydrological, and epidemiological research efforts.
Determining the health effects associated with water quality changes induced by novel technologies and other strategies currently being implemented, or planned, for extending groundwater and surface water supplies to meet increasing demands for water by a growing world population. Water stored in a brackish aquifer during aquifer storage and recovery will experience an increase in total dissolved solids due to mixing with ambient brackish water and dissolution of minerals from the aquifer matrix, and this may introduce contaminants such as microbial pathogens, organic contaminants such as pesticides or solvents, and inorganic contaminants such as nitrates or metals. Of particular interest with respect to surface water are changes in water quality induced by urban and agricultural runoff, discharge of waste effluents from municipal or industrial sources (including the extractive mineral and energy industries), construction and operation of dams and reservoirs, drainage of wetlands, and channel modifications for purposes of flood control, navigation, or environmental improvement.
Understanding the importance of bridging the “interdisciplinary divide” will not, by itself, promote communication and collaboration. The following recommendations to facilitate research across the disciplinary boundaries are those the committee believes can realistically be implemented, particularly in the constrained fiscal environment that is likely to apply.
Interdisciplinary Spatial Analysis
Spatial attributes describe the distribution of natural earth materials and processes and the distribution of infectious and noninfectious diseases. The epidemiological analysis techniques commonly used by public health scientists, when linked with geospatial analysis techniques developed by earth scientists, provide a powerful tool for understanding the public health effects of earth science materials. The immense potential offered by modern spatial analysis tools provides a strong impetus to break down existing institutional barriers to making public health data