Updated 17 July 2017

Chapter Leader: Parisa Piroozfar, Medical Geology International Research Centre, Geological Survey of Iran, Tehran, Iran

The IMGA Local Chapter in Iran was established in 2008.

June 2017

No update.

December 2016

6-month report from Local Chapter Leader Dr. Pariza Piroozfar:

The regional meeting of ECO Member States was held in October 2016 in Iran. Scientists from 10 countries participated in the event. The meeting was inaugurated by Ministry of Industries and Mines of Iran, Geological Survey of Iran (GSI) and the general secretary of ECO. The participants delivered their speeches and proposals in different fields of geology.

The proposal on "Identification of Geological Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Diseases Incidence in ECO Member States region" was presented by the Iranian chapter of IMGA.

One of the oldest diseases of mankind is cardiovascular diseases (CVD) which is very widely distributed throughout the world and represents one of the major problems that causes significant morbidity. The incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is variable according to geographical areas but is endemic in some regions. According to a new report, the global burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is highest in Central Asia and Middle East than Western countries where it often afflicts young, working-age adults.

ECO Member States are located in the geographical distribution belt of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Consequently, regional research on identification of geographic risk factors of the disease etiology are necessary. Unfortunately, relatively little work has been carried out on this field. So scientists from all countries of the ECO Member States should be brought together to address this global issue to prepare disease distribution maps in relation to the geogenic and environmental factors. Recognizing the geographical distribution of this disease helps long-term planning to recognize the disease origin and therefore preventing future outbreaks. Given the strategic importance of this region, preparing medical geology maps will help to play an important role in the regional macro policies.

In this project we will examine the relationship between regional geology (lithology), hydro-geochemistry (water hardness), soil type and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. This project will provide new data on the etiology and pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases and can open up new possibilities in developing programs of prevention and organized treatment of diseases that take into account the geographical and geological characteristics of its distribution.

October 2015

6-month report from Local Chapter Leader Dr. Pariza Piroozfar:

The Iran Chapter has been undergoing restructuring during the last year, but has recently been involved in the following research project:

Environmental Geochemistry and Hydro-geochemistry Studies in Urmia Lake basin

Urmia Lake is the third largest salt lake in the world and its basin is remarkable in the country from climatological, economical, ecological and environmental point of view. The water level of the lake, has been fluctuating periodically during several last years and today is to dry for different reasons. One of the concerns about drying of lake is health and well-being of inhabitants in surrounding area. Some scientists believe that the condition of Urmia Lake is completely comparable with drying Aral Sea. The Aral Sea is located in Central Asia, between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the 60s, the Soviet Union with the aim of developing agriculture and industry, deflected the two main rivers recharging Aral Sea which caused drying up the sea. During the process, water-soluble heavy metal compounds released by chemical weapons manufacturing industry, turned into crystal and dispread by wind blowing in surrounding areas. After that, a remarkable outbreak of diseases such as changes in reproductive and fetal growth, increasing mental disabilities, infertility, tuberculosis, anemia and respiratory disease, endocrine dysfunction, arthritis, liver, kidney and urinary tract cancers, typhoid fever, behavioral changes and skin cancer were reported from this area. Urmia Lake is situated in one of the industrial and agricultural areas of the country but unfortunately due to lack of environmental monitoring, many factories release their sewage toward the lake. The released sewage contains toxic elements and compounds which threat the environment by contamination of stream sediments and water aquifers. Reduction of soil and sediment moisture of dried lands, causes rising of deposited toxic compounds (heavy metals, pesticides and salts) in the form of dust by wind.  Respiration of these toxic particles seriously threats the health of inhabitants. Western border of Urmia Lake has significant importance due to concentration of urban and rural populated centers, rich soil resources, agricultural and livestock activities. This project aimed to identify the distribution pattern of toxic elements and heavy metals in soil and sediments and study the quality of underground water resources in western border of the lake. It finally ended to preparation of geochemical and hydro-geochemical maps of the area.

(Photos available in member section)

Background on Lake Urmia from United Nations Environment Programme: The Drying of Iran's Lake Urmia and its Environmental Consequences [article added by webmaster]

June 2015

6-month report from Local Chapter Leader Dr. Pariza Piroozfar:

No report this time.


An International Symposium on Medical Geology was held in Tehran in June 2010. For details click here.

The Iran Chapter has also produced a Medical Geology atlas of Iran:

Elements and Diseases Map of Iran Part 1

Elements and Diseases Map of Iran Part 2

Elements and Diseases Map of Iran Part 3

Elements and Diseases Map of Iran Part 4


The Iranian Chapter is very active and has 12 members. These are a mixture of environmental geoscientists and medical professionals. The Chapter has been involved in the following activities:

Establishment of a Workgroup on Medical Geology Research

Our intention for this workgroup is to provide a qualified platform for collaboration between experts in differ-ent fields of Medical Geology. GSI’s Medical Geology group, certain authorities of Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Department of Environment, medical research centres, Water and Sewage Engineering Companies, Atomic Energy Organization, Environmental Research Centre and Veterinary Medicine Organiza-tion will take part in this workgroup to achieve the following goals:

- Reducing effects of geogenic risk factors on health
- Raising public awareness about impacts of geological factors on health
- Drawing attention of decision-makers to the geosciences as a major effective factor on public health
- Improving society's public health as a major factor in reaching sustainable development
- Cooperation among geoscientists and medical scientists

Organizing a Symposium on Medical Geology

In cancer week, the Symposium on Medical Geology was held at the Geological Survey of Iran (GSI) on 1st February 2012, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. Medical geology addresses a wide range of researchers, and many university professors and students participated in the symposium which covered four main subjects, geochemistry, hydrogeochemistry, radio-geoecology and geobotany.

Assignment of Agreement between Ministry of Health and Medical Education and Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Trade (GSI)

Ministry of industries and mines and Ministry of Health and Medical Education signed a cooperation agree-ment to participate in medical geology researches. Considering the widespread geo-related health problems in Iran, both sides declared their readiness for identification of potentially hazardous areas for human health; or-ganizing seminars and training and short courses in the medical geology field; providing a qualified platform for collaboration between geologists and medical experts; preparation of national scale plans in dealing with medical geology; aiming to determine the ability of study-research of the organization according to the recent needs of the country and exchange of technical knowledge between geology and health fields.


The Iranian Chapter is very active and has 16 members. These are a mixture of environmental geoscientists and medical professionals. The Chapter organised the very successful First International Medical Geology Symposium of Iran at the Geological Survey of Iran in June 2010, with a message from Professor Olle Selinus. It included several medical geology sessions in different geology and mineralogy seminars. A conference report is available in the IMGA Newsletter 18. The Medical Geology Centre of the Geological Survey of Iran has also sent a preliminary proposal for preparing an Atlas of the World Medical Geology to UNESO. The Atlas of Medical Geology of Iran has already been published by the Medical Geology Centre of the Geological Survey of Iran and a copy of it was presented to Professor Olle Selinus.