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Toxics 2017, 5(1), 7; doi:10.3390/toxics5010007

Current Mercury Exposure from Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Bombana, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia—Future Significant Health Risks

1
Graduate School of Science & Engineering, Ehime University, 2-5 Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture 790-8577, Japan
2
Makassar School of Health Science (Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Kesehatan Makassar), Jl. Maccini Raya No. 197, Makassar 90231, Indonesia
3
Faculty of Collaborative Regional Innovation, Ehime University, 3 Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture 790-8577, Japan
4
Cyclotron Research Centre, Iwate Medical University, 348-58 Tomegamori, Takizawa, Iwate 020-0173, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wayne Briner
Received: 6 January 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 3 February 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Heavy Metals Toxicology)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2086 KB, uploaded 8 February 2017]   |  

Abstract

The rapid expansion of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) industry in developing countries has marginalized the local communities in poverty, and resulted in occupational exposure to mercury via the gold extraction process. We investigated the mercury exposure of the mining workers lived inside and outside the mining area. Based on the occupations of the contributors, the hair samples were divided into three subgroups: directly exposed, indirectly exposed, and a control. A total of 81 hair samples were analyzed by particle-induced X-ray emission spectrometry. The median mercury concentration was highest in the hair from the directly exposed group (12.82 μg/g hair) (control group median: 4.8 μg/g hair, p < 0.05), and the concentrations in hair from 45 respondents exceeded the Human Biomonitoring I (HBM I) threshold limit. Mercury concentrations were also elevated in the hair from the indirectly exposed group (median 7.64 μg/g hair, p < 0.05), and concentrations in hair from 24 respondents exceeded the HBM I threshold limits. Exposure to mercury during ASGM presents health risks and is harmful for the miners; mercury is also at hazardous levels for people who live in the mining area but who are not engaged in mercury-based gold extraction. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury exposure; artisanal and small-scale gold mining; Bombana mercury exposure; artisanal and small-scale gold mining; Bombana
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Basri; Sakakibara, M.; Sera, K. Current Mercury Exposure from Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Bombana, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia—Future Significant Health Risks. Toxics 2017, 5, 7.

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