Investigation on health effects of an abandoned metal mine.
Kim, S; Kwon, HJ; Cheong, HK; Choi, K; Jang, JY; Jeong, WC; Kim, DS; Yu, S; Kim, YW; Lee, KY; Yang, SO; Jhung, IJ; Yang, WH; Hong, YC
Journal of Korean medical science, 23(3):452-458, 2008
Journal of Korean medical science
To investigate potential health risks associated with exposure to metals from an abandoned metal mine, the authors studied people living near an abandoned mine (n=102) and control groups (n=149). Levels of cadmium, copper, arsenic, lead, and zinc were measured in the air, soil, drinking water, and agricultural products. To assess individual exposure, biomarkers of each metal in blood and urine were measured. beta2-microglobulin, alpha1-microglobulin, and N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase and bone mineral density were measured. Surface soil in the study area showed 2-10 times higher levels of metals compared to that of the control area. Metal concentrations in the groundwater and air did not show any notable differences between groups. Mean concentrations of cadmium and copper in rice and barley from the study area were significantly higher than those of the control area (p<0.05). Geometric means of blood and urine cadmium in the study area were 2.9 microg/L and 1.5 microg/g Cr, respectively, significantly higher than those in the control area (p<0.05). There were no differences in the levels of urinary markers of early kidney dysfunction and bone mineral density. The authors conclude that the residents near the abandoned mine were exposed to higher levels of metals through various routes.
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