A broad spectrum of earth materials have been linked to, blamed for, and/or debated as sources for disease. In some cases, the links are clear. For example, excessive exposures to mineral dusts have long been recognized for their role in diseases such as: asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancers (asbestos); silicosis and lung cancer (silica dusts); and coal-workers pneumoconiosis (coal dust). Lead poisoning, particularly in toddlers and young children, has been conclusively linked to involuntary ingestion of soils or other materials contaminated with lead-rich paint particles, leaded gasoline combustion byproducts, and some types of lead-rich mine wastes or smelter particulates. Waters...

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