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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 7711–7718 | Cite as

Rapid assessment of environmental health risks posed by mining operations in low- and middle-income countries: selected case studies

  • Jack Caravanos
  • Bret Ericson
  • Johny Ponce-Canchihuamán
  • David Hanrahan
  • Meredith Block
  • Budi Susilorini
  • Richard Fuller
Mining and the Environment - Understanding Processes, Assessing Impacts and Developing Remediation

Abstract

Previous studies have evaluated associated health risks and human exposure pathways at mining sites. Others have provided estimates of the scale of the issue based in part on surveys. However, a global census of mining-related hazardous waste sites has been lacking. The Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) implemented by Blacksmith Institute (New York, NY, USA) since 2009 is an ongoing effort to catalogue a wide range of chemically contaminated sites with a potential human health risk (Ericson et al., Environ Monit Assess doi:10.1007/s 10661-012-2665-2, 2012). The TSIP utilizes a rapid assessment instrument, the Initial Site Screening (ISS), to quickly and affordably identify key site criteria including human exposure pathways, estimated populations at risk, and sampling information. The resulting ISS allows for comparison between sites exhibiting different contaminants and pollution sources. This paper explores the results of a subset of ISSs completed at 131 artisanal and small-scale gold mining areas and 275 industrial mining and ore processing sites in 45 countries. The authors show that the ISS captures key data points, allowing for prioritization of sites for further investigation or remedial activity.

Keywords

Mining Health risks Pollution Waste site Low- and medium-income countries Developing countries Rapid risk assessment 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The Toxic Sites Identification Program has been funded in part by the Asian Development Bank, the European Commission, Green Cross Switzerland, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the World Bank.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack Caravanos
    • 1
  • Bret Ericson
    • 2
  • Johny Ponce-Canchihuamán
    • 3
  • David Hanrahan
    • 2
  • Meredith Block
    • 2
  • Budi Susilorini
    • 2
  • Richard Fuller
    • 2
  1. 1.City University of New York School of Public Health at Hunter CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Blacksmith InstituteNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Universidad Peruana Cayetano HerediaLimaPeru

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