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Multivariate relationships between soil composition and human mortality rates in Missouri

R. R. Tidball and H. I. Sauer
Multivariate relationships between soil composition and human mortality rates in Missouri
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (1975) (155): 41-59


Premature death among humans in the state of Missouri appears to have little relation to the composition of soils in the vicinity of their usual residency. Our conclusion contrasts with a considerable part of the literature, which implies that soil is a factor affecting human health. The difference may arise either because people living in a given environment may not expose themselves in such a way as to be affected by the soil or because other important factors may overshadow the effect of soils. Other studies have suggested a correlation between the incidence of either human disease or human mortality and soil characteristics. Most correlations have been of the simple bivariate type. The opportunity for a multivariate study has arisen only with the availability of chemical data on soils and mortality rates of humans from a common area. The distribution of elements in Missouri soils exhibits some regional pattern, but mortality distribution patterns are not regionally distinct. Therefore, stepwise multiple regression is used to define possible subtle relationships. This multivariate search tool identifies which of the 32 elements measured in 1,140 soil samples collected throughout Missouri best relate to human mortality risk. Differences in age, sex, and race are closely associated with mortality risk; adjustments for these factors have been made by direct methods. There is a possibility that other factors, presently not recognized, need to be measured and controlled before dismissing the idea of a soil influence on mortality. We are continuing the search for such factors.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Issue: 155
Serial Info: Trace element geochemistry in health and disease
Title: Multivariate relationships between soil composition and human mortality rates in Missouri
Affiliation: U. S. Geol. Surv., Denver, Colo., United States
Pages: 41-59
Published: 1975
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
Accession Number: 1976-020982
Categories: Environmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: tables, sketch maps
N36°00'00" - N40°34'60", W95°45'00" - W89°04'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Univ. Mo., United States,
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 1976
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