Analyses of surface water from 86 locations in 45 Ohio counties were studied to determine if any relationship existed between geologic setting, water chemistry, and disease. Concentrations of 11 ions, pH, total dissolved solids, and hardness were compared to geologic setting and to disease recorded in county death statistics for the years 1968 through 1971.
Linear correlation of these data did not indicate any relation between heart-attack death rates and pH, hardness, or calcium or magnesium content, as had been suggested by several earlier studies. A slight positive correlation between heart-attack deaths with sulfate concentration and a slight negative correlation with bicarbonate concentration is now indicated.
Counties having high heart-attack death rates and sulfate-rich water are nonglaciated areas underlain by coal-bearing strata, whereas counties having low heart-attack death rates and bicarbonate-rich water are in regions covered by Wisconsin glacial deposits.