Nav: Home

Safer mining practices reduce hazardous exposures in small-scale mining in Nigeria

January 08, 2019

San Francisco, January 8, 2019 - A pilot program to reduce lead poisoning in Nigerian gold mining communities has brought extraordinary improvements to an area where hundreds of children had died from lead poisoning according to a study published today. The study authors concluded that a two-year effort to introduce safer mining practices was effective at preventing deaths and reducing lead poisoning in highly exposed villages.

"Our pilot project demonstrated that low-cost dust control measures were effective at reducing average airborne lead exposures by 95 percent," said Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director of Occupational Knowledge International (OK International) whose organization partnered with Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in this effort.

The safer mining project took place in the Shakira community in Niger State where high levels of lead are naturally present in the gold ore. The primary objective was to reduce lead exposures among artisanal small-scale miners and minimize take home exposures.

"We worked cooperatively with miners to provide them with the information and tools to reduce their exposures to lead and silica dust. Together we showed that these efforts minimized contamination and helped save lives." Gottesfeld said.

The organization demonstrated the effectiveness of reducing airborne lead levels by working with miners to convert dry operations to wet methods. Water spray misting was proven to be highly effective while minimizing water consumption. In addition to significant reductions in airborne lead, the authors reported that these control measures reduced the smaller respirable silica dust by 80%.

Philip Aruna, Head of Mission in Nigeria for Doctors Without Borders said "OK International has exceeded expectations in bringing an entire community together to prevent severe lead poisoning and by demonstrating significant reductions in lead exposures among miners."

Gottesfeld noted that, "Following our extensive outreach and training, these miners were motivated to take measures to reduce hazardous lead exposures and invested their own time and money to implement these protective measures."

The authors of the Study "Reducing Lead and Silica Dust Exposures in Small-Scale Mining in Northern Nigeria" published in Annals of Work Exposures and Health noted that average lead exposures among ore processors before the implementation of safer practices were 19 times greater than the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible limit for lead. In Nigeria and in most other African countries, there are no occupational limits for exposure for lead or silica dust.

Silica dust causes silicosis, lung cancer and is a significant risk factor for tuberculosis (TB). Lead causes severe neurological deficits and death among children in these communities, but even at low exposure levels is responsible for 674,000 deaths each year primarily due to cardiovascular disease.

There are an estimated 40 million informal small-scale miners working in at least 70 countries around the world. Although some programs have attempted to reduce mercury exposures in these communities, this is the first such intervention to demonstrate reductions in lead and silica dust exposures. The authors of the published article note that in mining communities lead and silica hazards pose a far greater risk to human health than the use of mercury.

Dr. Adolphe Fotso, Medical Coordinator for Nigeria with Doctors Without Borders, and an author on the paper, said "That this effort was an extraordinary success in reducing these significant health risks and protecting children from lead poisoning."

In addition to introducing wet methods, OK International focused on training miners to implement simple measures including handwashing, showering, setting up separate eating areas, and changing out of work clothing before going home at the end of the day. The study estimated that the overall cost for introducing these measures in this community was approximately $5,000 USD.
-end-


OK International

Related Lung Cancer Articles:

AI helps to fight against lung cancer
Lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in 2015 in United States.
Free lung-cancer screening in the Augusta area finds more than double the cancer rate of previous screenings
The first year of free lung cancer screening in the Augusta, Ga., area found more than double the rate seen in a previous large, national study as well as a Massachusetts-based screening for this No.
Antioxidants and lung cancer risk
An epidemiological study published in Frontiers in Oncology suggests that a diet high in carotenoids and vitamin C may protect against lung cancer.
Lung cancer may go undetected in kidney cancer patients
Could lung cancer be hiding in kidney cancer patients? Researchers with the Harold C.
Hitgen and Cancer Research UK's Manchester Institute enter license agreement in lung cancer
Cancer Research UK, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the charity's commercial arm, and HitGen Ltd, a privately held biotech company focused on early drug discovery, announced today that they have entered into a licence agreement to develop a novel class of drugs against lung cancer.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Huntsman Cancer Institute research holds promise for personalized lung cancer treatments
New research from scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah uncovered distinct types of tumors within small cell lung cancer that look and act differently from one another.
High levels of estrogen in lung tissue related to lung cancer in postmenopausal women
Researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan have found that postmenopausal women with multicentric adenocarcinoma of the lung have a higher concentration of estrogen in non-cancerous areas of the peripheral lung than similar women diagnosed with single tumor lung cancer.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Pericardial window operation less efficient in cases of lung cancer than any other cancer
Pericardial window operation, a procedure, where abnormal quantity of malignant fluid, surrounding the heart, is drained into the neighbouring chest cavity, is commonly applied to patients diagnosed with cancer.

Related Lung Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".