Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
NOGUEIRA, Flávia; NASCIMENTO, Osmar da Cruz; SILVA, Edinaldo Castro e and JUNK, Wolfgang. Total mercury in hair: a contribution to the evaluation of mercury exposure levels in Poconé, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 1997, vol.13, n.4, pp.601-609. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X1997000400004.
There are some 60 gold-mining sites in the Bento Gomes River basin (Mato Grosso), at the border of the Mato Grosso Pantanal (Swamp), where mercury is used to agglutinate fine gold particles through amalgamation. During burning of the amalgam to release the gold, mercury vapor is lost to the atmosphere, since closed systems for mercury recovery are not always used. This study shows the results of total mercury analysis in hair from four volunteer groups living in Poconé, Mato Grosso, and presents a general environmental description pertaining to the presence of mercury in water and sediments from the Bento Gomes River. Atomic fluorescence was used for measuring mercury concentrations. The results were lower than for other populations from gold-mining areas in Brazil.
Keywords : Mercury; Mercury Poisoning; Environmental Exposure; Occupational Exposure; Environmental Health.