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Massive sandstorm blowing off the northwest African desert. (Norman Kuring, SeaWiFS Project)

Potential contaminants and pathogens in air, dusts, and soils

A variety of human health problems have been linked to exposures to dusts, other atmospheric aerosols, and soils. For example, inhalation exposures to asbestos, silica, and some metal-rich dusts in industrial or occupational settings have been recognized for decades as triggers for disease. Health concerns also arise from exposures to other anthropogenic atmospheric particulates, such as automobile exhaust, urban air pollution, smelting and coal combustion byproducts, and debris from disasters such as the World Trade Center collapse. Increasingly, environmental exposures to dusts and other atmospheric particulates (such as naturally-occurring asbestos, silica, volcanic ash, volcanic gas condensates, wildfire smoke, and dusts containing pathogens) are also being recognized as potential health concerns. Soils are recognized for their potential to affect human health, both as sources for deleterious dusts and pathogens, and, where contaminated by human activities, as sources for toxicity via ingestion exposures. A variety of USGS research activities are working to understand better the links between these geologic materials and human health.


Examples of Project Activities:

 
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Topics:
Air, Dust, and Soil contaminants and Pathogens
Drinking Water Contaminants
Consumption of Bioaccumulative Contaminants
Vector Borne and Zoonotic (animal to human) Disease
Contact With Recreational Waters
Animal Sentinels of Human Health

Studies/Data:
Places with Health Studies
Other USGS Data Sources

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Page Last Modified: 09-Feb-2007@14:25