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Mercury Contamination Detected In Sierra Gorda, Querétaro, Mexico

Published by MAC on 2007-01-08
Source: Unknown ()

MEXICO

Mercury Contamination Detected in Sierra Gorda, Querétaro, Mexico

Querétaro, Mexico, Monday January 8, 2007 (Notimemx)

Mexican and International specialists have determined that there is indeed mercury contamination in the Sierra Gorda range of the Querétaro state in Mexico, which could be a leading cause of chronic illnesses in the region. The works were carried out by specialists of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the National Politechnical Institute (IPN), the National Geological Institute of Hungary and the National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH)

Finishing the first part of the investigation over the environmental impact of mercury by mining activities in the mountains, the results showed the existance of mercury contamination, as well as a relation between the level of pollution and illnesses in the area. This project was initiated in early 2006 in the archeological zones of Toluquilla and Ranas, where bone remains of archeologic origen are being analyzed.

The mountain town of San Joaquín is where the largest prevelance of some of these illnesses have been noted, which indicates that the population could be exposed. The investigators have initiated the second phase of the project, which consists of analyses of waters and living persons, to determine the presence of mercury and its consequences.

Mercury mining has been a constant activity in the Sierra Gorda for over two thousand years, and has had an accumulative effect in the environment. Although a large part of the mines were abandoned in the 1970's, the last mine located in Maconi closed on December 31, 2000. At least six families in the mountains continue to mine mercury in an artesanal manner, and there are projects in existence intending to reopen some of the mines.

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