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A preliminary study of mercury contamination in the surface soil and river sediment of the Roscio District, Bolivar State, Venezuela


A preliminary study of mercury contamination in the surface soil and river sediment of the Roscio District, Bolivar State, Venezuela



Science of the Total Environment 79(3): 233-239



ISSN/ISBN: 0048-9697

PMID: 2727674

DOI: 10.1016/0048-9697(89)90339-2

The present study constitutes a comparison of mercury in surface soil and river sediments of a contaminated and an uncontaminated area of Venezuela. In the contaminated area, gold prospectors have been using mercury to separate gold from auriferous sand and rock powders for many years. The baseline level of mercury in the river sediments of the uncontaminated area (Manzanares River, Sucre State) was 0.06 micrograms g-1, while in the contaminated area in the Roscio District of Bolivar State the concentration varied from 0.12 to 129 micrograms g-1. In the river sediments the average level of mercury was 0.71 micrograms g-1 and in the surface soil of the working areas 37 micrograms g-1, which shows a significant increase in the mercury level in the contaminated areas. This high level of mercury in the soil and sediments constitutes a serious risk to public health in the contaminated area, where the local people use the water for drinking and other domestic purposes; moreover, they also consume fish from these rivers.

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Accession: 006959782

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