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Mercury Pollution in Soils from the Yacuambi River (Ecuadorian Amazon) as a Result of Gold Placer Mining

, : Mercury Pollution in Soils from the Yacuambi River (Ecuadorian Amazon) as a Result of Gold Placer Mining. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 95(3): 311-316

Gold mining is known to generate important economic products but also to produce several types of contamination/pollution. We report here the first data about Hg concentrations in the soils of the Yacuambi River in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We analyzed soil samples to assess the extent of contamination caused by gold placer mining in this area. Hg concentrations in soils exceeded the local background concentrations. High concentrations of Mn, As, Pb, Cr, Cu, Fe and Zn in some soil samples were probably derived from the geology of the site, which is rich in polysulfides and metamorphic rocks. Placer mining may accelerate the natural release of these elements to the environment by the exposure of the bedrock to the atmosphere. Accumulation of Hg in the river soils may be a potential source of toxicity for aquatic life and a risk to human health in the future.


PMID: 26183387

DOI: 10.1007/s00128-015-1604-7

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