Gothenburg, Sweden Women in three Latin American countries who rely on fish for protein and live in proximity to gold mining activity have been found to have elevated mercury levels in their bodies, according to a new study, Mercury Exposure of Women in Four Latin American Gold Mining Countries. The study was conducted by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) together with the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) and analyzed mercury levels in women of child-bearing age who are most sensitive to the toxic effects of mercury. Women in gold mining regions in Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia volunteered to be assessed for the study. A cohort of Colombian women in a region that has switched from mercury-based gold extraction to non-mercury methods were included as a control group for comparison and were shown to have low levels of mercury in their bodies.
Hair samples were taken from women of child-bearing age in small-scale gold mining regions and analyzed for total mercury content, indicating their body burden of the highly toxic metal. Mercury is used by small-scale miners to extract gold particles from low-grade ore, and most of the mercury is lost to the environment where it contaminates fish in the local rivers.
This study of mercury levels in women from four Latin American communities is the latest compilation of data in IPEN’s global mercury biomonitoring program. Hair samples were taken from women living in or near the mining towns of Vila Nova, Brazil, El Callao, Venezuela, Íquira, Colombia, and two groups living in Bolvia's Beni river system. The results for the Bolivian women were especially concerning: they had the highest mercury levels in our study, yet have no engagement with mining or contact with mercury and are reliant on a subsistence fish diet.
Customs authorities cautioned from burning confiscated cosmetics containing mercury
Thursday, 18 June 2020
Quezon City. Non-government organizations have cautioned the customs authorities from burning confiscated skin whitening products tainted with mercury to reduce the harm of mercury pollution to human health and the environment.
Newly-issued DOH policy banning dental amalgam draws cheers amid the coronavirus crisis
Friday, 22 May 2020
(Quezon City) A new policy promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH) phasing out dental amalgam, a tooth filling material containing approximately 50% mercury, has received roars of approval from advocacy groups within and outside the Philippines.