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Scientists Find Elevated Levels of Potentially Toxic Metals in Some Guatemalans Living Near Canadian-owned Mine, Recommend Further Studies May 18, For Immediate Release Environmental health scientists from the University of Michigan find that a sample of Guatemalans who live near a controversial gold and diseases caused by toxins mine in the country's western highlands have higher levels of potentially toxic heavy metals in their urine and blood than a sample of residents who live farther from the mine.

Looking at environmental impacts, the scientists also find significant differences in the quality of diseases caused by toxins samples taken from creeks just downstream from the mine, as compared to a site upstream and a river farther downstream.

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The ce este bun pentru viermisori la copii warn that metals exposure caused by the mine is likely to increase over time, and could last for decades.

The scientist's study, which was coordinated and published today by Physicians for Human Rights, examines the health and environmental impacts of the Marlin Mine, owned by Canada's Goldcorp company through its Guatemalan subsidiary, Montana Exploradora, Inc. The study finds that a sample of residents living near the mine have higher levels of mercury, copper, arsenic and zinc in their urine, and of lead in their blood, than a sample of persons living seven kilometers away.

A delegation, including the study's lead scientist, presented the findings to villagers in Guatemala today, some of whom had concerns that a range of physical ailments were caused by the mine.

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The study cautions, however, that it is "not clear if the current magnitude of these elevations pose a significant threat to health. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and by widely recognized scientific standards. The Marlin Mine opened in and is expected to remain in operation for most of this decade. The study recommends that follow-up health and environmental studies be overseen by an independent panel.

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In releasing this study, Physicians for Human Rights noted that the report implicitly delivered a message to the government of Guatemala regarding its obligations to its citizens. The authors caution that the study, based on biological samples drawn from 23 individuals during a one-week visit to the vicinity of the mine in Augustcannot be viewed as definitive, but rather as a preliminary baseline study.

Still, the results show "qualitative and generalized trends that enable conclusions to be drawn.


Researchers also compare a sample of mine workers to a sample of non-mine workers, finding no significant difference between the levels of heavy metals in their urine and blood. Because the mine workers have access to a better diet and to medical services provided by the mine, they consider themselves to be in better general health.

The study does not find any significant association between levels of heavy metals and the severe skin rashes and respiratory illness reported by some persons living near the mine, especially children and the elderly. However, the study took no urine or blood samples from children, because of the informed consent protocol approved by the university's Institutional Review Board. Nor did it take samples from the persons who had complained. Skin rashes and respiratory effects, the study notes, are consistent with exposure to cyanide, which is used at the mine, but was not analyzed in the study.

The Panel will draw on the study as one component of its analysis.

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The panel engaged Physicians for Human Rights and the University of Michigan team to conduct an independent and impartial analysis of the sensul paraziților în natură health and environmental impacts. Physicians for Human Rights mobilizes the health professions to advance the health and dignity of all people by protecting human rights. The group shared the Nobel Peace Prize. The Marlin Mine is located about miles northwest of Guatemala City.

It consists of two open pits and one underground mine. A cyanide leaching process is used to extract gold and silver from crushed ore.

Goldcorp is actively prospecting dozens of other sites in the region near the Marlin Mine. Physicians for Human Rights PHR is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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