How Much Dirt Does a Person Consume in a Lifetime?

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One person consumes several pounds of dirt in a lifetime, depending on how long the person lives. Dirt is on fresh fruits and vegetables, no matter how thoroughly they are washed.

Traditional folk wisdom states that an individual eats 1 pound of dirt in a lifetime. Children consume between 200 and 800 milligrams of dirt per day, a practice that changes as children get older and personal hygiene improves. Geophagia, the practice of eating dirt or other soil products, occurs around the world, including in the United States and Africa, for a variety of reasons. Dirt has no nutritional value and differs from soil, a substance that has numerous minerals vital for plant growth.