Probabilistic meta-analysis of risk from the exposure to Hg in artisanal gold mining communities in Colombia

Miguel García, Eduardo de and Ortega Romero, Marcelo and Gómez San Martín, Amaia and Clavijo, Diana (2014). Probabilistic meta-analysis of risk from the exposure to Hg in artisanal gold mining communities in Colombia. "Chemosphere", v. 108 ; pp. 183-189. ISSN 0045-6535. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.01.035.

Description

Title: Probabilistic meta-analysis of risk from the exposure to Hg in artisanal gold mining communities in Colombia
Author/s:
  • Miguel García, Eduardo de
  • Ortega Romero, Marcelo
  • Gómez San Martín, Amaia
  • Clavijo, Diana
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Chemosphere
Date: February 2014
ISSN: 0045-6535
Volume: 108
Subjects:
Faculty: E.T.S.I. de Minas y Energía (UPM)
Department: Ingeniería Química y Combustibles [hasta 2014]
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Abstract

Colombia is one of the largest per capita mercury polluters in the world as a consequence of its artisanal gold mining activities. The severity of this problem in terms of potential health effects was evaluated by means of a probabilistic risk assessment carried out in the twelve departments (or provinces) in Colombia with the largest gold production. The two exposure pathways included in the risk assessment were inhalation of elemental Hg vapors and ingestion of fish contaminated with methyl mercury. Exposure parameters for the adult population (especially rates of fish consumption) were obtained from nation-wide surveys and concentrations of Hg in air and of methyl-mercury in fish were gathered from previous scientific studies. Fish consumption varied between departments and ranged from 0 to 0.3 kg d?1. Average concentrations of total mercury in fish (70 data) ranged from 0.026 to 3.3 lg g?1. A total of 550 individual measurements of Hg in workshop air (ranging from menor queDL to 1 mg m?3) and 261 measurements of Hg in outdoor air (ranging from menor queDL to 0.652 mg m?3) were used to generate the probability distributions used as concentration terms in the calculation of risk. All but two of the distributions of Hazard Quotients (HQ) associated with ingestion of Hg-contaminated fish for the twelve regions evaluated presented median values higher than the threshold value of 1 and the 95th percentiles ranged from 4 to 90. In the case of exposure to Hg vapors, minimum values of HQ for the general population exceeded 1 in all the towns included in this study, and the HQs for miner-smelters burning the amalgam is two orders of magnitude higher, reaching values of 200 for the 95th percentile. Even acknowledging the conservative assumptions included in the risk assessment and the uncertainties associated with it, its results clearly reveal the exorbitant levels of risk endured not only by miner-smelters but also by the general population of artisanal gold mining communities in Colombia.

More information

Item ID: 30721
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/30721/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:30721
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.01.035
Official URL: http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0045653514001015/1-s2.0-S0045653514001015-main.pdf?_tid=42ac14e6-31b8-11e4-947b-00000aab0f6b&acdnat=1409562999_13763c20efd53f538bc3bf276585e507
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 01 Sep 2014 09:18
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2016 00:59
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