Frontiers in Public Health (May 2019)

The Clinical Importance of the Mercury Problem in Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining

  • Justice Afrifa,
  • Justice Afrifa,
  • Yeboah Kwaku Opoku,
  • Yeboah Kwaku Opoku,
  • Eric Ofori Gyamerah,
  • George Ashiagbor,
  • Rosemary Doe Sorkpor

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7


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Artisanal small-scale mining is widely operated in various countries serving as a livelihood to many rural communities. However, it is a significant source of environmental mercury contamination which affects human health. Amalgamation and amalgam smelting, two significant steps in the artisanal small-scale mining operations generate lots of mercury vapors, leading to chronic exposure among miners. Thus, this article seeks to provide a topical review of recent findings on organ damage and metabolic disorders among mercury-exposed artisanal small-scale miners with emphasis on the contributing factors such as personal protective equipment usage and artisanal small-scale gold mining-specific occupational activities. Also, insights into the effect of mercury intoxication and mechanisms of action on organ and metabolic systems among exposed individuals are provided.