In summary, the panelists reached the following conclusions and recommendations.
- Soil-pica is the repeated consumption of soil (either intentional or unintentional) and geophagy is the intentional ingestion of earths that is usually associated with cultural practices.
- Soil-pica behavior exists. ATSDR should evaluate the public health significance of all types of soil ingestion, including soil-pica.
- Groups at risk of soil-pica behavior include children aged 6 years and younger as well as developmentally delayed individuals.
- For now ATSDR should use 5,000 mg as an estimate of soil intake for children with soil-pica behavior.
- Geophagy typically involves consumption of clay from known (and usually uncontaminated) sources at depth rather than consumption of surface soil from residential properties. ATSDR should investigate geophagy when the agency identifies this practice in a community.
- ATSDR should conduct a multicomponent investigation into soil-pica behavior.