Theme Session 14

Medical Mineralogy Session and Panel Discussion

A. Umran Dogan, Ankara University, Turkey and University of Iowa
Meral Dogan, Hacettepe University, Turkey

Medical Geology is an established discipline and growing rapidly. You can reach the International Medical Geology Association via Medical Mineralogy is a subdiscipline of the Medical Geology and it deals with quantitatively characterizing health related (hazard/benefit) minerals and elements in rocks, soil, air, and water. These minerals and elements require state-of-the art techniques and must be characterized by certified labs or individuals.

The World Health Organization has classified erionite (a zeolite group mineral with three different species as erionite-K, erionite-Na, and erionite-Ca); chrysotile (a serpentine type asbestos); and tremolite, actinolite, grunerite (amosite), riebeckite (crocidolite), and anthophyllite (amphibole type asbestos); and cristobalite (silica group mineral) as human carcinogens. These minerals and some recently recognized health hazard minerals including edenite, winchite, richterite, magnesio-riebeckite, magnesio-arfvedsonite; and some elements (not classified as carcinogens yet) when inhaled, taken orally, or on dermatological contact, may play major roles in a range of human health problems.

To assess the potential toxicity of any of these minerals quantitative parameters including size, shape, aspect ratio, composition, crystal structure, surface structure, surface reactivity, surface area, solubility, durability, tensile strength, porosity, and permeability are important considerations. Together with the quantitative characterization of minerals, the exposure data is required before any mineral-induced pathogenesis can be determined. Understanding the possible mechanisms that may induce, or could preclude unwanted biological responses, and to suggest and evaluate prevention, cure or remediation from mineral induced diseases is an active area in medical mineralogy.

The panel discussion is specifically devoted to health hazard minerals whether or not classified as carcinogen. We hope the publications generated from this meeting, in a high quality peer reviewed journal, will contribute to the official identifications and reclassifications of these minerals. This symposium aimed to bring together interdisciplinary scientists including mineralogists, geologists, geochemists, medical doctors, toxicologist, biologists, biochemists, pathologists, pharmacists, epidemiologists, criminologists, and lawyers; and will provide an excellent platform to present their results.