Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010 Mar;7(3):1205-23. doi: 10.3390/ijerph7031205. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Impact of direct soil exposures from airborne dust and geophagy on human health.

Author information

  • 1Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School, 1241 E. Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5618, USA. dsing@umich.edu


Over evolutionary time humans have developed a complex biological relationship with soils. Here we describe modes of soil exposure and their biological implications. We consider two types of soil exposure, the first being the continuous exposure to airborne soil, and the second being dietary ingestion of soils, or geophagy. It may be assumed that airborne dust and ingestion of soil have influenced the evolution of particular DNA sequences which control biological systems that enable individual organisms to take advantage of, adapt to and/or protect against exposures to soil materials. We review the potential for soil exposure as an environmental source of epigenetic signals which may influence the function of our genome in determining health and disease.


dust; epigenetics; genetics; geophagy; microbiome; soil

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (1)Free text

Figure 1.
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk