Abstract

The concentrations of certain chemical elements in native plants, garden vegetables, and soils were studied in two areas of Georgia, each made up of nine counties, that have greatly different heart disease mortality rates. The soils of the two areas were found to be geochemically distinct. The greater amounts of trace elements in soils occur in the counties that have the lower death rates, but the abundances of trace elements in trees and vegetables do not correspond closely to the abundances in the soils. The trace elements in soils, however, may have entered the human food chain in water, in other food plants, and in meat and milk that were not sampled in this study. If geochemical differences between the soils of the high-death-rate area and the low-death-rate area do, in fact, have a causal relationship to death from cardiovascular diseases, the cause would appear to be a deficiency, rather than an excess, of the elements that were studied.

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