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Abstract Title: Evaluation of risk to human health associated with the consumption of food contaminated with Hg in inhabitants of a tropical river highly impacted by gold mining in northwestern Colombia
Presenter Name: Manuel Salas-Moreno
Company/Institution: Universidad Tecnológica del Chocó
Session: Human Exposure and Risk Assessment of Hg
Co-Authors: Manuel Salas-Moreno,Gabriel Caicedo-Rivas,J‚sus Marrugo-Negrete

Abstract Information :

Mercury (Hg) is one of the most toxic elements that exist, it has the ability to contaminate the soil, the air and water sources, it also represents a danger to various species of animals and plants; for their ability to enter the food chain and become a risk to food safety and public health. The present study evaluated the non-carcinogenic risk of consuming fish, fruits, and vegetables contaminated with concentrations of Hg in inhabitants of northwestern Colombia. In general, 154 samples of different fruits and vegetables and 440 samples of fish commonly consumed by the inhabitants of the region were analyzed. The analyzes of the concentrations of Hg in these foods were obtained using a Direct Mercury Analyzer. The results showed high concentrations of Hg in especially carnivorous fish (32.9ñ4.3-1008.0ñ552.7 mg kg-1) and in fruits and vegetables the observed concentrations ranged between 1.84ñ1.4-24.35ñ12. 1 mg kg-1. In relation to the no-carcinogenic risk, some fish presented values above the limits established by the WHO. The concentrations of Hg in some species of fruits and vegetables exceded Codex limits. The results of this research show that the anthropogenic activities associated with gold mining in the Atrato River basin have seriously affected different ecosystems and contamination of the main sources of food for the population. Therefore, these activities go against the main objective of the Minamata Convention, which seeks to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury. There is a health risk due to the prolonged consumption of certain foods that represents a danger for the inhabitants of the middle basin of the Atrato, it is a priority to study other dietary alternatives and prevent the risk due to direct exposure with food intake. This research was financed by Minciencias-Colombia project 846-2018, based on sentence T-622.

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