Journal Reports on a Duke Study and Peru’s Public-Health Emergency

June 6, 2016
Journal Reports on a Duke Study and Peru’s Public-Health Emergency

An article by Barbara Fraser in Nature describes how a gold-mining boom in southeastern Amazon is driving high levels of mercury contamination.

Duke researchers “found high levels of mercury (above the maximum recommended by the World Health Organization) in hair samples from 40% of the Madre de Dios residents that they tested,” Fraser writes. “The Duke team has examined about 800 people living along a major highway in the region, 100 people living beside the river and 2,000 in the Amarakaeri Indigenous Reserve. Some communities in the region are closer to the gold-mining activities than others, but the 40% exposure rate held across the highway, river and reserve, says study leader William Pan, an epidemiologist with Duke’s Global Health Initiative.”

Pan and colleagues have led a Bass Connections team, Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America, since 2013-2014. “Peru’s government used the Duke team’s latest study to determine which riverside communities should receive the emergency aid,” Fraser writes.

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