Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM
GEOLOGY AND HEALTH: A BRIEF HISTORY FROM THE PLEISTOCENE TO TODAY
Humans have been relying on their geologic environment and its materials for their sustenance since time immemorial. That dependence has not changed, but a large body of knowledge has accumulated over time and across the ancient civilizations and continues to the present day as we employ scientific investigations on local environments and populations to increase our understanding of everything that impacts human health. We present an overview of the relationship between geology and health that illustrate the intelligence and understanding of humans over the past times. The presentation also includes contributions by physicians in Europe and the United States during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, followed by the developments in the twentieth century–particularly the post-World War II period–when the relationships between geology and health began to be actively investigated. The rapid evolution during the 1990s and the initiative and support of the International Union of Geological Sciences that culminated in the establishment of the International Medical Geology Association in 2004, and the Division of Geology and Health of the Geological Society of America in the United States in 2007, are discussed. Current status and future prospects of geology and health are highlighted.