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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


AGUDELO-CALDERON, Carlos A et al. Evaluation of environmental conditions: air, water and soil in areas of mining activity in Boyacá, Colombia. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2016, vol.18, n.1, pp.50-60. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objectives To determine concentrations of PM10, mercury and lead in indoor air of homes, water sources and soil in municipalities near mining operations. Method 6 points were evaluated in areas of influence and 2 in control areas. For measurements of indoor air, we used the NIOSH 600 method (PM10), NIOSH 6009 (mercury) and NIOSH 7300 (lead). For water analysis we used the IDEAM Guide for monitoring discharges. For soil analysis, we used the cold vapor technique (mercury) and atomic absorption (lead). Results In almost all selected households, the average PM10 and mercury concentrations in indoor air exceeded applicable air quality standards. Concentrations of lead were below standard levels. In all water sources, high concentrations of lead were found and in some places within the mining areas, high levels of iron, aluminum and mercury were also found. In soil, mercury concentrations were below the detection level and for lead, differences between the monitored points were observed. Conclusions The results do not establish causal relationships between mining and concentration of these pollutants in the evaluated areas because of the multiplicity of sources in the area. However, such studies provide important information, useful to agents of the environmental health system and researchers. Installation of networks for environmental monitoring to obtain continuous reports is suggested.

Keywords : Environmental health; particulate matter; mercury; lead; mining.

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