Mapping Research on Resource Extraction and Health : A Scoping Review

“Current research has been described as inadequate to understand and manage complex social and ecological influences of resource extraction on health. We conducted a scoping review of research on mining or oil & gas extraction and health, to identify patterns and gaps in existing scholarship. Journal articles, peer-reviewed books and book sections published 1995–2015 in English were included, including research on extraction and transport, but not processing, of resources. Based on titles and abstracts, we characterized documents by sector, affected population, health outcome, impact pathway, study objective, methodology and geographic focus. Of 2797 documents that met inclusion criteria, 85.6% focused on mining and 15.0% on oil & gas. The most common affected population was workers (67.9%), followed by surrounding communities (22.3%). The majority of documents (86.1%) characterized health impacts, while 11.4% described interventions. Methods were typically quantitative (84.0% vs. 4.7% qualitative) while impact pathways focused on direct toxic exposures (58.3% vs. 11.2% for ecosystem change and 3.8% for social determinants). Most sources (65.8%) focused on high income or upper-middle income countries. These patterns suggest a need for methodological pluralism, intervention-focused studies and attention to complex social-ecological system dynamics and neglected populations, especially in the global South.”