Man has been able to make tools for at least 5 million years, to make fire for at least a half-million years, and practice farming and agriculture for at least 10,000 years. In a sense, it is a long time ago that man developed control over ecological factors. Even pollution is not a new problem, since agriculture itself cannot avoid altering the naturally balanced ecosystems. Pollution is certainly not limited to advanced civilization (Brothwell, 1972). Since the neolithicum, forests have been permanently destroyed by fire and the ground has been degraded (North Africa, the Middle East). Irrigation of fields has been known for 5000 years in Egypt and Mesopotamia, and resulted in an increase of schistosomiasis. Growth of populations resulted in new urban environments and air pollution. Since chimneys were absent in primitive houses, evidence of anthracosis has been found in some Egyptian mummies. Lead poisoning was already known during the Roman period.


Sister Chromatid Exchange Lead Poisoning Germinal Cell Roman Period Advanced Civilization 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Susanne
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Human GeneticsFree University BrusselsBrusselsBelgium

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