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Document ID (ISN)78116
CIS number 02-309
ISSN - Serial title 0340-0131 - International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Year 2001
Convention or series no.
Author(s) Drake P.L., Rojas M., Reh C.M., Mueller C.A., Jenkins F.M.
Title Occupational exposure to airborne mercury during gold mining operations near El Callao, Venezuela
Bibliographic information Apr. 2001, Vol.74, No.3, p.206-212. Illus. 35 ref.
Abstract The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a cross-sectional study during gold mining operations near El Callao, Venezuela to assess mercury exposures and mercury-related micro-damage to the kidneys. Mercury was used to remove gold by forming a mercury-gold amalgam. The gold was purified either by heating the amalgam in the open with a propane torch or by using a small retort. 38 workers participated in this study. Mercury exposure was monitored by sampling air from the workers' breathing zones. These air samples were used to calculate time-weighted average (TWA) mercury exposure concentrations. Results showed that 20% of the TWA airborne mercury exposure measurements were above the NIOSH recommended exposure limit of 50µg/m3, and 26% exceeded the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Value of 25µg/m3. Recommendations were made for improving retort design, for ventilation in gold shops, for medical surveillance and for educational programs.
Descriptors (primary) mercury; renal damage; Venezuela; exposure tests; gold mining
Descriptors (secondary) threshold limit values; exposure evaluation; determination in urine; determination in air; cross-sectional study
Document type D - Periodical articles
Country / State or ProvinceUSA; Venezuela
Subject(s) Mines and quarries
Broad subject area(s) Chemical safety
Browse category(ies) Diseases of the kidney and the urinary system
Biological monitoring
Mining and quarrying
Mercury and compounds
Inorganic substances