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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
×

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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
×

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.

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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.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
×

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)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
×

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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
×

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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
×

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-

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
×

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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
×

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.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2007. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11809.
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A range of natural earth materials, like arsenic or fluoride, have long been linked to significant human health effects. Improved understanding of the pervasive and complex interactions between earth materials and human health will require creative collaborations between earth scientists and public health professionals. At the request of the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this National Research Council book assesses the current state of knowledge at the interface between the earth sciences and public health disciplines. The book identifies high-priority areas for collaborative research, including understanding the transport and bioavailability of potentially hazardous earth materials, using risk-based scenarios to mitigate the public health effects of natural hazards under current and future climate regimes, and understanding the health risks that result from disturbance of earth systems. Geospatial information - geological maps for earth scientists and epidemiological data for public health professionals - is identified as one of the essential integrative tools that is fundamental to the activities of both communities. The book also calls for increased data sharing between agencies to promote interdisciplinary research without compromising privacy.

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