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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/12936

Title: Human health risk assessment of exposure to indoor mercury vapour in a Ghanaian artisanal small-scale gold mining community
Authors: Gyamf, Opoku
Sorenson, Peter Borgen
Darko, Godfred
Ansah, Eugene
Bak, Jesper Leth
Keywords: Hazard quotient
Artisanal gold mining
Health risk assessment
Mercury in air
Issue Date: 2-Oct-2019
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.
Abstract: People living or working in and around artisanal small-scale gold mining communities can be exposed to mercury vapour, which may negatively affect their health. In this study, the human exposure to air borne mercury in an artisanal mining community in the Upper East region of Ghana was investigated using Lumex RA 915 M mercury analyser, an active sampler. The concentration of mercury in air was measured inside and outside households and was related to human health risk standards. For each household, one measurement was taken from outside and three from inside at different positions. About 91% of the households where amalgam burning was reported had concentrations higher than the USEPA reference dose of 300 ng m3 whereas 64% of the households where amalgam burning was not reported exceeded the reference dose above. The maximal (upper) instrumental limit (50,000 ng m3 ) was passed for the highest concentrations, so, the upper 97.5% concentration was estimated, using censored statistics, to exceed 800,000 ng m3 for the fireplaces. This exceeds any reported indoor household air concentration of Hg, identified by the literature review in this paper. Estimated hazard quotients were found to range from <1 to 108 within the households that are reported not to burn amalgam. In the households where amalgam burning reportedly takes place, the hazard quotient had a range of 0.01e160. Mercury concentrations measured in households with reported amalgam burning are approximately ten times higher than those households with no reported burning of amalgam. The censored data predicted hazard quotients up to 966. The results indicate that both miners and non-miners of the community are at risk of adverse health effects resulting from inhalation of mercury vapour.
Description: An article published by Elsevier Ltd. and also available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.125014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/12936
Appears in Collections:College of Science

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