Rudnik, V.A., and Melnikov, E.K., 2010. Pathogenic effect of fault zones in the urban environment. In: Florinsky, I.V. (Ed.), Man and the Geosphere. Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp. 169–183.
The authors discuss geological and geophysical factors which can influence human health in the urban environment. In the city of Saint Petersburg, Russia, and in settlements of the Saint Petersburg Region, combined medical and geological investigations have established a strong relationship between spatial distribution of cancer incidence rate in apartment buildings and zones of enhanced permeability of the crust (ZEPC), comprising faults, associated underground watercourses, and areas of increased rock fracturing. Compared to ZEPC, soil and air anthropogenic pollution seems to have only a secondary role in causing cancers. Indeed, the cancer incidence rate was 2.8 and 4.1 times higher in apartment buildings located within ZEPC and their intersections, respectively, than outside them, regardless of a level of total soil pollution with heavy metals. On the other hand, the cancer incidence rate was a mere 1.3 and 1.5 times higher in buildings at areas marked by moderate- and high level of soil pollution with heavy metals, respectively, than at low-polluted areas, regardless of their position relative to ZEPC. The cancer incidence rate was 1.8 and 2 times higher in settlements located within ZEPC and their intersections, respectively, than outside them, regardless of a level of total air pollution. On the other hand, the cancer incidence rate was only 1.2 higher in settlements with a high level of total air pollution than in low-polluted settlements, regardless of their position relative to ZEPC.
Mechanisms of the adverse effect of ZEPC on human health may be connected with a disturbance of mitosis and cell development due to three factors: (a) fluctuation of geomagnetic gradients within fault zones; (b) a specific air ion regime connected with tectonic movements along faults; and (c) a specific gaseous and geochemical regime associated with the fluid degassing via faults. City building design principles should consider the pathogenic influence of ZEPC.