Quantitative soil ingestion studies employing a mass balance tracer approach have been used to provide a defensible means to estimate soil ingestion for human health risk assessments. Past studies have focused on soil ingestion in populations living in urban/suburban environments. There is a paucity of reliable quantitative soil ingestion data to support human health risk assessments of other lifestyles that may be predisposed to ingesting soil, such as agricultural workers or indigenous populations following traditional lifestyles. The results of a preliminary analysis of sampling and analytical variability that would result from assessing activities typical of populations in rural or wilderness areas and conducted over wide areas show that approximately 225 subject days would be required to detect a difference of 20mg/d in soil ingestion. Given the typically small populations in these areas, future soil ingestion studies should be focused on specific activities with a high potential for soil ingestion.
J. Doyle, J. Blais, P. White
The Science of the total environment