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Abstract Title: Evaluation of Hg concentrations in blood of children belonging to a tropical river highly impacted by gold mining in the Colombian Pacific
Presenter Name: Manuel Salas-Moreno
Company/Institution: Universidad Tecnológica del Chocó
Session: Human Exposure and Risk Assessment of Hg
Co-Authors: Manuel Salas-Moreno,Eur¡pides Palacios-Valoyes,J‚sus Marrugo-Negrete

Abstract Information :

Atrato River basin is the main source of fresh water in the Colombian Pacific, however it is heavily impacted by gold mining, despite the agreements of the Minamata Convention to protect human health from mercury (Hg) emissions. Hg pollution due to various anthropogenic activities represents a global environmental problem and a considerable risk to the public health of the human population. The objective of this research was to evaluate the socio-demographic conditions and concentrations of Hg in the blood of children living in four riverside municipalities of the Atrato River basin. Blood samples were collected from 171 children between the ages of 5 and 14 years belonging to the municipalities from Carmen de Atrato, Rio Quito and Ungu¡a, the concentrations of Hg were analyzed using a Direct Mercury Analyzer. he average concentrations of Hg in blood were generally below the limits established by WHO; however, in this study, 32 children had concentrations above these levels; the concentrations of Hg reported in the municipality of Ungu¡a, showed that 19 children had concentrations between 5.29 - 17.71 ?g/dL; In addition, in the Carmen de Atrato municipality, two children presented levels of 5.03 and 8.43 ?g/dL. These results suggest that gold mining activities in the Atrato River Basin are negatively affecting the inhabitants living in the riparian zones of the basin, especially children, 12.3% of the children studied have concentrations of Hg in the blood above that allowed by the WHO, which could represent a problem for their health, leading to alterations in growth and development, learning, memory and nervous system; added to the precarious conditions in terms of public health, economic and social policies of many of these communities of the Colombian Pacific. This research was financed by Minciencias-Colombia project 846-2018, based on sentence T-622.

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