From: Archita Bhatta, SciDevNet, More from this Affiliate
Published November 12, 2012 06:07 AM

Arsenic Contamination from Gold Mining found in India Villages

Scientists have found high levels of arsenic in the soil and groundwater near a gold mine in the south Indian state of Karnataka, highlighting health hazards associated with mining the precious metal.

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A team of scientists that conducted studies in the Kiradalli Tanda village of Yadgir district discovered arsenic contamination in groundwater 30 times higher than the limit of 10 parts per billion, prescribed by the WHO.

The village, which is four kilometres from a gold mine, had reported several cases of suspected arsenic-induced skin diseases and cancers.

The arsenic could have originated in mine tailings from gold extraction, the scientists said in a study published online in the Journal of Hazardous Materials in October.

"Several villagers were hospitalised with skin-related problems. Doctors suspected arsenic in drinking water and requested us to investigate," said Dipankar Chakraborty, lead author of the study and professor at the School of Environmental Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

While some soil samples had arsenic levels 200 times the safe limit, hair and nail samples of 171 volunteers showed arsenic content exceeding the upper limit for unexposed individuals.

Open pit gold mine in India courtesy India Current Affairs.

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