The burden of chronic mercury intoxication in artisanal small-scale gold mining in Zimbabwe: data availability and preliminary estimates

Steckling N, Bose-O'Reilly S, Pinheiro P, Plass D, Shoko D, Drasch G, Bernaudat L, Siebert U, Hornberg C (2014)
Environmental Health 13(1).

Download
OA
Journal Article | Published | English
Author
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Abstract
Artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is a poverty-driven activity practiced in over 70 countries worldwide. Zimbabwe is amongst the top ten countries using large quantities of mercury to extract gold from ore. This analysis was performed to check data availability and derive a preliminary estimate of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to mercury use in ASGM in Zimbabwe. Methods Cases of chronic mercury intoxication were identified following an algorithm using mercury-related health effects and mercury in human specimens. The sample prevalence amongst miners and controls (surveyed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in 2004 and the University of Munich in 2006) was determined and extrapolated to the entire population of Zimbabwe. Further epidemiological and demographic data were taken from the literature and missing data modeled with DisMod II to quantify DALYs using the methods from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2004 update published by the World Health Organization (WHO). While there was no disability weight (DW) available indicating the relative disease severity of chronic mercury intoxication, the DW of a comparable disease was assigned by following the criteria 1) chronic condition, 2) triggered by a substance, and 3) causing similar health symptoms. Results Miners showed a sample prevalence of 72% while controls showed no cases of chronic mercury intoxication. Data availability is very limited why it was necessary to model data and make assumptions about the number of exposed population, the definition of chronic mercury intoxication, DW, and epidemiology. If these assumptions hold, the extrapolation would result in around 95,400 DALYs in Zimbabwe’s total population in 2004. Conclusions This analysis provides a preliminary quantification of the mercury-related health burden from ASGM based on the limited data available. If the determined assumptions hold, chronic mercury intoxication is likely to have been one of the top 20 hazards for population health in Zimbabwe in 2004 when comparing with more than 130 categories of diseases and injuries quantified in the WHO’s GBD 2004 update. Improving data quality would allow more accurate estimates. However, the results highlight the need to reduce a burden which could be entirely avoided.
Publishing Year
ISSN
Financial disclosure
Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
PUB-ID

Cite this

Steckling N, Bose-O'Reilly S, Pinheiro P, et al. The burden of chronic mercury intoxication in artisanal small-scale gold mining in Zimbabwe: data availability and preliminary estimates. Environmental Health. 2014;13(1).
Steckling, N., Bose-O'Reilly, S., Pinheiro, P., Plass, D., Shoko, D., Drasch, G., Bernaudat, L., et al. (2014). The burden of chronic mercury intoxication in artisanal small-scale gold mining in Zimbabwe: data availability and preliminary estimates. Environmental Health, 13(1).
Steckling, N., Bose-O'Reilly, S., Pinheiro, P., Plass, D., Shoko, D., Drasch, G., Bernaudat, L., Siebert, U., and Hornberg, C. (2014). The burden of chronic mercury intoxication in artisanal small-scale gold mining in Zimbabwe: data availability and preliminary estimates. Environmental Health 13.
Steckling, N., et al., 2014. The burden of chronic mercury intoxication in artisanal small-scale gold mining in Zimbabwe: data availability and preliminary estimates. Environmental Health, 13(1).
N. Steckling, et al., “The burden of chronic mercury intoxication in artisanal small-scale gold mining in Zimbabwe: data availability and preliminary estimates”, Environmental Health, vol. 13, 2014.
Steckling, N., Bose-O'Reilly, S., Pinheiro, P., Plass, D., Shoko, D., Drasch, G., Bernaudat, L., Siebert, U., Hornberg, C.: The burden of chronic mercury intoxication in artisanal small-scale gold mining in Zimbabwe: data availability and preliminary estimates. Environmental Health. 13, (2014).
Steckling, Nadine, Bose-O'Reilly, Stephan, Pinheiro, Paulo, Plass, Dietrich, Shoko, Dennis, Drasch, Gustav, Bernaudat, Ludovic, Siebert, Uwe, and Hornberg, Claudia. “The burden of chronic mercury intoxication in artisanal small-scale gold mining in Zimbabwe: data availability and preliminary estimates”. Environmental Health 13.1 (2014).
Main File(s)
Access Level
OA Open Access
Last Uploaded
2015-01-27 08:21:31

This data publication is cited in the following publications:
This publication cites the following data publications:

1 Citation in Europe PMC

Data provided by Europe PubMed Central.

Disease profile and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using the EuroQol (EQ-5D + C) questionnaire for chronic metallic mercury vapor intoxication.
Steckling N, Plass D, Bose-O'Reilly S, Kobal AB, Kramer A, Hornberg C., Health Qual Life Outcomes 13(), 2015
PMID: 26654565

124 References

Data provided by Europe PubMed Central.

Mercury exposure of maroon workers in the small scale gold mining in Suriname.
de Kom JF, van der Voet GB, de Wolff FA., Environ. Res. 77(2), 1998
PMID: 9600801
Assessment of Hg contamination and exposure to miners and schoolchildren at a small-scale gold mining and recovery operation in Thailand.
Umbangtalad S, Parkpian P, Visvanathan C, Delaune RD, Jugsujinda A., J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng 42(14), 2007
PMID: 18074277
Human exposure to mercury due to small scale gold mining in northern Tanzania.
van Straaten P., Sci. Total Environ. 259(1-3), 2000
PMID: 11032134
Occupational and environmental mercury exposure among small-scale gold miners in the Talensi-Nabdam District of Ghana's Upper East region.
Paruchuri Y, Siuniak A, Johnson N, Levin E, Mitchell K, Goodrich JM, Renne EP, Basu N., Sci. Total Environ. 408(24), 2010
PMID: 20875913
Mercury exposure and children's health.
Bose-O'Reilly S, McCarty KM, Steckling N, Lettmeier B., Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care 40(8), 2010
PMID: 20816346
Relationship between localization of gold mining areas and hair mercury levels in people from Bolivar, north of Colombia.
Olivero-Verbel J, Caballero-Gallardo K, Marrugo Negrete J, Negrete-Marrugo J., Biol Trace Elem Res 144(1-3), 2011
PMID: 21476008
Elevated mercury concentrations in humans of Madre de Dios
Ashe K., 2012
Overcoming environmental problems in the gold panning sector through legislation and education: the Zimbabwean experience
Maponga O, Ngorima CF., 2003
Small-scale mining and alluvial gold panning within the Zambezi Basin: an ecological time-bomb and a tinderbox for future conflict among riparian states
Shoko D., 2002

Veiga MM., 2004

Metcalf S, Spiegel S., 2007

Hentschel T, Hruschka F, Priester M., 2003

Hentschel T, Hruschka F, Priester M., 2002

Hinton J, Veiga M., 2004

Hoadley M, Limpitlaw D, Weaver A., 2002
Mercury hazards from gold mining to humans, plants, and animals.
Eisler R., Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 181(), 2004
PMID: 14738199
Personality traits in miners with past occupational elemental mercury exposure.
Kobal Grum D, Kobal AB, Arneric N, Horvat M, Zenko B, Dzeroski S, Osredkar J., Environ. Health Perspect. 114(2), 2006
PMID: 16451870
Mortality from cardiovascular diseases and exposure to inorganic mercury.
Boffetta P, Sallsten G, Garcia-Gomez M, Pompe-Kirn V, Zaridze D, Bulbulyan M, Caballero JD, Ceccarelli F, Kobal AB, Merler E., Occup Environ Med 58(7), 2001
PMID: 11404451
Dealing with uncertainties in environmental burden of disease assessment.
Knol AB, Petersen AC, van der Sluijs JP, Lebret E., Environ Health 8(), 2009
PMID: 19400963

Lucas R, McMichael T, Smith W, Armstrong B., 2006
Burden of disease from toxic waste sites in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines in 2010.
Chatham-Stephens K, Caravanos J, Ericson B, Sunga-Amparo J, Susilorini B, Sharma P, Landrigan PJ, Fuller R., Environ. Health Perspect. 121(7), 2013
PMID: 23649493

AUTHOR UNKNOWN, 2009

Fewtrell L, Kaufmann R, Prüss-Üstün A., 2003
Global Burden of Disease
Mathers C., 2008

Export

0 Marked Publications

Open Data PUB

Web of Science

View record in Web of Science®

Sources

PMID: 25495641
PubMed | Europe PMC

Search this title in

Google Scholar