The formation of soil involves the breakdown of solid rock and the removal of the dissolvable component of the rocks, leaving the residual material behind in the soil. This process concentrates certain elements, and some of these can be harmful to human health. some of the most hazardous elements common in soils include selenium, arsenic, radon, and lead, while mines may expose workers to other harmful elements such as coal dust, silica dust, and asbestos fibers. A variety of health conditions and ailments around the world, generally among poorer populations, are caused by exposure or ingestion of hazardous elements in the soil. Careful monitoring of the concentrations of these elements in developed nations such as the united states has greatly reduced the health threat from them.

See also beaches and shorelines; climate change; economic geology; flood; geological hazards; global warming; hurricanes; hydrocarbons and fossil fuels; hydrosphere; sea-level rise; subsidence.

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