Abstract

The scope of geomedicine is briefly discussed. An interest in geomedical problems has existed in Norway since the last century, involving goitre in dry inland regions (I deficiency), and osteomalaci in cattle (P deficiency). Geographical variations in precipitation chemistry (including Mg, Na, Cl, Br, I and Se) are summarized. Deficiencies can be remedied by changes in fertilization and foddering. Areas with strong naturally poisoned soils and plants occur (involving Pb, Cu, Ni, Zn and Cd). Cases of industrial pollution are known at Odda (Zn, Pb, Cd, Hg, Cu, As, Se and F), Røros (Cu), Kongsberg (Hg), Evje (Ni), Modum (As), and aluminium factories (F).

Regional geochemical maps based on systematic sampling of forest soils are being produced (Oppland, Buskerud, Nord-Trøndelag), plus stream sediment geochemical prospecting maps which will also be valuable in geomedicine. A large project on the effects of acid precipitation is nearly completed. Norwegian research councils and a cancer organisation have started geomedical projects (e.g. analysis of human blood serum; the relationship between soil conditions and the chemical composition of small-grain and other plant foods). Cooperation between the Scandinavian countries in geomedicine has already begun. World-wide contacts between scientists are desirable in such a multi-disciplinary subject.

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