Can you imagine eating soil? It is hard to believe, but in some
parts of the world, particularly in less developed countries, people
may have to resort to eating soil when there is nothing else available.
However, research has shown that this can have serious health implications
such as anaemia and retarded growth.
Additionally, in particularly dry countries where soil is eroded
by the wind, people can become seriously ill simply by inhaling
soil particles. Research has shown that breathing in soil can cause
elephantiasis (which is the swelling of limbs due to the blockage
of the lymph nodes) and even cancer.
Investigating the links between soil and our health has become
an increasing priority for soil scientists. However, in order to
achieve this, they still need to work more closely with geochemists,
medical scientists and food and farming experts.