Effects of several environmental factors on longevity and health of the human population of Zhongxiang, Hubei, China

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Nov;143(2):702-16. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8914-8. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


Increasing human health and longevity is of global interest. Environmental, genetic, and stochastic factors all affect longevity. Among these factors, the environment is extremely important. To investigate the relationship between the environment and longevity, we studied the environment in Zhongxiang (China), where the inhabitants commonly have long life spans. Air was analyzed for negative oxygen ions, SO2, and inhalable particles, while drinking water and rice were analyzed for macro- and micro-elements. The air quality in this area was determined to be grade I with high negative oxygen ion content and low SO2 and inhalable particle contents. Apart from Fe, Mn, and F, all tested elements and the pH were within national standards and World Health Organization guidelines. The percentage of long-lived people in the area was closely related to the macro- and micro-element contents of their staple food, rice. The elements in rice could be classified into three categories according to their effect on longevity: Sr, Ca, Al, Mo, and Se, which were positively correlated with longevity; Fe, Mn, Zn, Cr, P, Mg, and K, which had a weak effect on local longevity, and Cu and Ba, which had a negative effect on longevity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air / analysis
  • Aluminum / analysis
  • Barium / toxicity
  • Calcium / analysis
  • China
  • Copper / toxicity
  • Drinking Water / analysis*
  • Health
  • Humans
  • Longevity*
  • Molybdenum / analysis
  • Oryza / chemistry*
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Selenium / analysis
  • Strontium / analysis
  • Sulfur Dioxide / toxicity
  • Trace Elements / analysis*


  • Drinking Water
  • Trace Elements
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • molybdate
  • Barium
  • Copper
  • Molybdenum
  • Aluminum
  • Selenium
  • Oxygen
  • Calcium
  • Strontium