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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(3), 1205-1223; doi:10.3390/ijerph7031205

Impact of Direct Soil Exposures from Airborne Dust and Geophagy on Human Health

Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School, 1241 E. Catherine Street, 5928 Buhl Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5618, USA
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Received: 10 February 2010 / Revised: 3 March 2010 / Accepted: 16 March 2010 / Published: 19 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Epidemiology)
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Abstract

Over evolutionary time humans have developed a complex biological relationship with soils. Here we describe modes of soil exposure and their biological implications. We consider two types of soil exposure, the first being the continuous exposure to airborne soil, and the second being dietary ingestion of soils, or geophagy. It may be assumed that airborne dust and ingestion of soil have influenced the evolution of particular DNA sequences which control biological systems that enable individual organisms to take advantage of, adapt to and/or protect against exposures to soil materials. We review the potential for soil exposure as an environmental source of epigenetic signals which may influence the function of our genome in determining health and disease.
Keywords: soil; dust; geophagy; microbiome; genetics; epigenetics soil; dust; geophagy; microbiome; genetics; epigenetics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sing, D.; Sing, C.F. Impact of Direct Soil Exposures from Airborne Dust and Geophagy on Human Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 1205-1223.

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