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Elevated blood mercury and neuro-otological observations in children of the Ecuadorian gold mines.
J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2002 Jan 25; 65(2):149-63.JT

Abstract

The prevalence of mercury (Hg) intoxication was investigated in 114 Andean Saraguro and non-Saraguro (Mestizo) children living in remote gold-mining settlements in Nambija and Portovelo, Ecuador. Venous blood samples showed a mean total blood mercury (B-Hg) level of 18.2 microg/L (SD 15.5; range 2-89.) for 77 Saraguro and non-Saraguro children in the Nambija settlement, which was significantly higher than that of children in the Portovelo and reference groups. Comparison of groups showed mean B-Hg levels of 26.4 microg/L (range 4-89 microg/L) for 32 indigenous/Saraguro children; 12.3 microg/L (range 2-33 microg/L) for 45 non-Saraguro children; 4.9 microg/L (range 1-10 microg/L) for 37 children in Portovelo; and 2.4 microg/L (range 1-6 microg/L) for a reference group of 15 children. Fisher's post hoc analysis revealed significant differences among groups, except between the Portovelo and the reference groups. Neuro-otological symptoms and abnormalities were observed in Saraguro, non-Saraguro, and Portovelo children. Samples of soil collected at sites near the local school were found to contain Hg levels ranging from 0. 1 to 38 ppm, cadmium (Cd) levels from 0.07 to 0.82 ppm and arsenic (As) levels from < 1 to 3.9 ppm. in conclusion, the children of Nambija, particularly the Saraguro "Amer-Indians," exhibited elevated B-Hg levels from exposure to Hg used in the gold-mining process, and are at risk for neurological impairment. The children of Portovelo who reported neuro-otological symptoms but had low B-Hg levels (<10 microg/L) may be affected by exposure to sodium cyanide, which is used extensively in the local gold-mining operations.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, USA. allen_counter@harvard.eduNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

11820503

Citation

Counter, S Allen, et al. "Elevated Blood Mercury and Neuro-otological Observations in Children of the Ecuadorian Gold Mines." Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Part A, vol. 65, no. 2, 2002, pp. 149-63.
Counter SA, Buchanan LH, Ortega F, et al. Elevated blood mercury and neuro-otological observations in children of the Ecuadorian gold mines. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2002;65(2):149-63.
Counter, S. A., Buchanan, L. H., Ortega, F., & Laurell, G. (2002). Elevated blood mercury and neuro-otological observations in children of the Ecuadorian gold mines. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Part A, 65(2), 149-63.
Counter SA, et al. Elevated Blood Mercury and Neuro-otological Observations in Children of the Ecuadorian Gold Mines. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2002 Jan 25;65(2):149-63. PubMed PMID: 11820503.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Elevated blood mercury and neuro-otological observations in children of the Ecuadorian gold mines. AU - Counter,S Allen, AU - Buchanan,Leo H, AU - Ortega,Fernando, AU - Laurell,Göran, PY - 2002/2/1/pubmed PY - 2002/2/13/medline PY - 2002/2/1/entrez SP - 149 EP - 63 JF - Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part A JO - J Toxicol Environ Health A VL - 65 IS - 2 N2 - The prevalence of mercury (Hg) intoxication was investigated in 114 Andean Saraguro and non-Saraguro (Mestizo) children living in remote gold-mining settlements in Nambija and Portovelo, Ecuador. Venous blood samples showed a mean total blood mercury (B-Hg) level of 18.2 microg/L (SD 15.5; range 2-89.) for 77 Saraguro and non-Saraguro children in the Nambija settlement, which was significantly higher than that of children in the Portovelo and reference groups. Comparison of groups showed mean B-Hg levels of 26.4 microg/L (range 4-89 microg/L) for 32 indigenous/Saraguro children; 12.3 microg/L (range 2-33 microg/L) for 45 non-Saraguro children; 4.9 microg/L (range 1-10 microg/L) for 37 children in Portovelo; and 2.4 microg/L (range 1-6 microg/L) for a reference group of 15 children. Fisher's post hoc analysis revealed significant differences among groups, except between the Portovelo and the reference groups. Neuro-otological symptoms and abnormalities were observed in Saraguro, non-Saraguro, and Portovelo children. Samples of soil collected at sites near the local school were found to contain Hg levels ranging from 0. 1 to 38 ppm, cadmium (Cd) levels from 0.07 to 0.82 ppm and arsenic (As) levels from < 1 to 3.9 ppm. in conclusion, the children of Nambija, particularly the Saraguro "Amer-Indians," exhibited elevated B-Hg levels from exposure to Hg used in the gold-mining process, and are at risk for neurological impairment. The children of Portovelo who reported neuro-otological symptoms but had low B-Hg levels (<10 microg/L) may be affected by exposure to sodium cyanide, which is used extensively in the local gold-mining operations. SN - 1528-7394 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/11820503/Elevated_blood_mercury_and_neuro_otological_observations_in_children_of_the_Ecuadorian_gold_mines_ L2 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/152873902753396785 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -