We investigate the impacts of metal toxicity from industrial pollution because of mining on the fetal and infant health in industrializing Japan. The negative impacts of air pollution on infant health in contemporary world have been widely investigated. Recent related studies in the field of economic history have also focused on the air pollution because of coal use during the historical developments. However, potential risk of heavy metal pollution because of mining during industrialization remains understudied.
Since Japan has a large volcanic belt, there are several hundred mines all over the archipelago. We have compiled a unique municipal level dataset from a few official statistical reports, which covers all stillbirths and infant deaths across all municipalities in Japan during the 1930s. By linking this mortality data with the location information of the mines, we investigated the potential adverse effects of the metal toxicity on fetuses and infants.
This project is currently supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research KAKENHI (19K13754).
Work in progress
Metal toxicity and fetal health: Industrial pollution in industrializing Japan.