Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Nigeria lead contamination may affect 18,000 people: UN

by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Sept 21, 2010
More than 200 children are thought to have died in Nigeria following massive lead contamination that has affected an estimated 18,000 people because of illicit gold mining, the UN said Tuesday.

Five experts equipped with a mobile laboratory have arrived in the country to help health authorities pin down the extent of the contamination and tackle it, the UN's Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

"From the latest figures we have, more than 200 children reportedly died from this poisoning," OCHA spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told journalists as the UN body warned of "acute massive lead poisoning."

Byrs told AFP that "an estimated 18,000 people were affected" in the villages around the gold mining area in northern Zamfara state, around Bukkuyum and Anka.

"It's a developing problem. Seven villages were affected but we don't know the full extent," she added.

"Proper sampling from the mobile laboratory is urgently needed to determine the scope and magnitude of the crisis and to assist in developing a rigorous response," according to an OCHA briefing note.

The poisoning was triggered by makeshift processing of lead-rich ore to extract gold, with crushed rock often taken into homes and communities, while the residue is discarded haphazardly in the soil.

Nigerian health authorities first noticed excess mortality in the area in March and brought in international help weeks later, but the extent of the poisoning and contamination appears to have grown.

The OCHA said soil also appeared to be heavily contaminated by mercury and copper, and was likely to need a massive clean up.

"The problem is that the rainy season will cause even greater contamination," Byrs said.

In June the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was called in by Nigeria to help, described the scope of the lead poisoning as unprecedented.

Symptoms of lead poisoning normally build up over long periods as the heavy metal accumulates in the human body, producing abdominal pain, nervous disorders affecting growth and ultimately leading to kidney failure.

Children are the most vulnerable.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Study renews calls for BPA regulation
Columbia, Mo. (UPI) Sep 20, 2010
Researchers say women, female monkeys and female mice have major similarities in how they metabolize the estrogen-like chemical bisphenol A. Scientists at the University of Missouri say their studies on mice have led them to renew their call for governmental regulation of the chemical found in many everyday products, a university release said Monday. "This study provides convinci ... read more

Unrealistic to expect immediate quake recovery in Haiti: US

Millennium Development Goals seek end to poverty, hunger

Chile celebrates bicentennial with miners' fate in focus

UN gathers pledges for two billion dollar Pakistan appeal

Physicists Control Chemical Reactions Mechanically

Oracle reaches for the business computing "cloud"

Samsung takes aim at Apple's iPad, iTunes

Rogue satellite still 'talking'

Documentary shows dramatic shrinking of the Aral Sea

'Noise' is symptom of coral reef health

Global Fisheries Research Finds Promise And Peril

Drought shrinks Amazon River to lowest level in 47 years

Russia, Canada trade rival Arctic claims

Glaciers Help High-Latitude Mountains Grow Taller

Arctic sea ice shrinks to third lowest area on record

Arctic ice melting quickly, report says

China's SAIC considering stake in GM: report

Sub-zero seed freezes aim to save orchids from extinction

Global Project Underway To Preserve Yam Biodiversity

NGOs call for African biodiversity centre

NASA's Armada Of Research Aircraft Monitor Hurricane Karl

Tsunami Detection Improves But Coastal Areas Still Vulnerable

Seven dead, 20 missing as landslide buries road in Mexico

Food threat looms for Pakistan child flood victims: UN

French troops sent to Niamey after kidnappings: sources

Mauritanian troops battle Al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Mali

Kenya may be lifeline for new Sudan state

Termites Foretell Climate Change In Africa's Savannas

A Chip Off the Early Hominin Tooth

Factfile on world population growth

Roma issue could overshadow EU summit

Scientists Glimpse Dance Of Skeletons Inside Neurons

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement