Metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk, study suggests

Science Daily reports:

Metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk, study suggests

Date:
May 24, 2017
Source:
University of Oklahoma
Summary:
Exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world’s largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses, researchers warn.

A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world’s largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses.

“In this high mountain desert, water is a critically precious resource and the use of metal-polluted waters for irrigation may have substantial detrimental impacts on the lives of subsistence farmers,” said Bill Strosnider, researcher on the project.

Potatoes are the primary dietary staple in the surrounding communities. The lack of water for quality irrigation throughout this arid region results in farmers using contaminated waters, leading to health risks from contaminated potatoes eaten locally or shipped to outlying areas. For children, ingestion of arsenic through potatoes was 9.1 to 71.8 times higher than the minimum risk level and ingestion of cadmium was 3.0 to 31.5 times higher than the minimum risk level.

“The fact that the hazard quotients of risk were so high through only one exposure route is concerning,” said Robin Taylor Wilson, Penn State College of Medicine professor and lead epidemiologist for the study. “Children in this region are exposed to contaminants through routes other than potatoes. If we consider these additional routes of exposure, the estimated risks will likely be much higher, but without further research, there is no way of knowing how much higher these risks might be.”

The hazard quotient is the ratio of estimated specific exposure to a single chemical over a specified period to the estimated daily exposure level at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. Hazard quotients about one suggest the possibility of adverse non-cancer health risks. The minimum risk levels are established by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

“Our findings allow the research community insight into the potential human and environmental impact that vast active and abandoned mining operations may pose all across the Andean region,” said Alan Garrido, researcher on the project.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alan E. Garrido, William H. J. Strosnider, Robin Taylor Wilson, Janette Condori, Robert W. Nairn. Metal-contaminated potato crops and potential human health risk in Bolivian mining highlands. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 2017; 39 (3): 681 DOI: 10.1007/s10653-017-9943-4

Cite This Page:

University of Oklahoma. “Metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2017. .
Let’s not forget that the coca grower caudillo who has absolute control over ALL State powers, over the last eleven years, and who has labelled himself as “Mother Earth’s protector” … had done anything on the subject.
His relentless desire to remain in power goes back from his early years in power when he let state-miners engage into a deadly fight with cooperative miners, resulting in 16 casualties, at Huanuni. Workers who engaged mortally, fighting over who gets to work over there, he encouraged both sides, to get their votes and nothing else …
His demagogue not only resulted in wasting over $160 billion dollars, out of the best economic revenue ever in the life of our country. He pushes for more coca crop plantations who do damage the environment. He intends to cross over a National Park who is also Indigenous Land, the TIPNIS, and that only shows his real nature regarding his primary concern, to protect coca growers and make more virgin land accessible to cocaine input.

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