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Revista Lasallista de Investigación

Print version ISSN 1794-4449

Abstract

MUNOZ-VALLEJO, Luisa Fernanda; GARCIA-ARDILA, Luisa Fernanda  and  RODRIGUEZ-GAZQUEZ, María de los Ángeles. Perception of health harm and usefulness of protection measures in people occupationally exposed to mercury in gold mining. Rev. Lasallista Investig. [online]. 2012, vol.9, n.1, pp.53-61. ISSN 1794-4449.

Introduction. Since colony times, the village of Segovia has had gold mining as its main economic activity. The artisanal exploitation of this metal has impacted the health of the population. Objective. To describe the perception about the harm on health and the protection measures for the people occupationally exposed to mercury vapor in gold mining activities developed in Segovia (Colombia) in 2011. Materials and methods. A cross-sectional descriptive study applied to a sample of 56 people, occupationally exposed to mercury vapor in Segovia in 2011. A questionnaire with social-demographic variables was applied to them, and it included their perception about health harm and about the protection measures to reduce their exposition to the mercury vapor. Results. 96.4% of the participants perceived that mercury is harmful for health. 16.1% of the participants said they have consulted a health service unit some time in their lifetimes due to health problems related to their occupational exposition. A significant correlation between the use of the security equipment and the perception that such equipment provides protection was found. Conclusion. The group studied has some incorrect perceptions about protection measures, and this can be related to the high proportion of health problems associated to the exposition aforementioned.

Keywords : mercury; intoxication due to mercury; mining; exposition to environmental risks.

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