This course is given by Prof. Larissa Dobrzhinetskaya from Department of Earth Sciences at the University of California at Riverside, USA. She obtained her Ph.D. in geology and mineralogy from the Institute of Precambrian Geology and Geochronology in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers, with research interests in mineral resources, mineral synthesis in laboratory, role of minerals in understanding earth dynamics and their effect on environments. She an elected Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, Geological Society of American and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The connection between minerals, environments and human health has pre-historical roots and was appreciated by all cultures. However, the world-wide exploration and utilization of Earth’s materials for better life caused adverse impact on public health. This course integrates elements of geology and mineralogy with topics of wider interests related to public health and the environment - from the health effects of arsenic, mercury, fibrous minerals and “geological” dusts that contribute to the diseases - to questions related to identifications of such hazards. The connection of the natural environment, particularly when both geologic processes and products of human activities are coherently involved, deserves interests from scientists of different disciplines, politicians and society. Combining knowledge from earth sciences, life sciences, environmental, political and medical sciences students will be able to identify geological and industrial hazard problems and to develop solutions that can help to ease or prevent toxic effects of some minerals or hazardous geological events on human health and the environment.