Impacts of mercury contaminated mining waste on soil quality, crops, bivalves and fish in the Naboc River area, Mindanao, Philippines

Appleton, J.D.; Weeks, J.M.; Calvez, J.P.S.; Beinhoff, C.. 2006 Impacts of mercury contaminated mining waste on soil quality, crops, bivalves and fish in the Naboc River area, Mindanao, Philippines. Science of the Total Environment, 354 (2-3). 198-211.

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Rice paddy fields in the Naboc area, near Monkayo on the island of Mindanao, Philippines, have been irrigated four times a year over the last decade using Naboc River water contaminated with mercury (Hg) by artisanal gold mining in the Diwalwal area. Silt containing up to at least 90 mg Hg/kg (d.w.) has been deposited in rice paddy fields during the 1990s and this has been repeatedly mixed into the rice root zone through ploughing. Hg in the rice paddy field soils averages 24 mg Hg/kg and generally exceeds the UK and Canadian soil quality thresholds for agricultural soils as well as the proposed Dutch Intervention value and the USEPA soil ingestion Soil Screening Level (SSL) for inorganic Hg. Much lower Hg concentrations (0.05–0.99 mg/kg) within the range expected for uncontaminated soils, characterise soils on which corn and bananas are cultivated, largely because these are not irrigated with Hg-contaminated water from the Naboc River. The estimated total weekly MeHg intake for a person living in the Naboc area related to the weekly consumption of 2.1 kg of rice grown on Hg-contaminated soils (15 μg MeHg) in conjunction with 1 kg of fish (220 μg MeHg) and 100 g of mussels (50 μg MeHg) from the Naboc River, would total 285 μg MeHg (equivalent to 4.75 μg/kg bw for a 60 kg adult), which is nearly three times the JECFA PTWI of 1.6 μg/kg bw. This will significantly contribute to the population mercury exposure and might explain why 38% of the local inhabitants were classified as Hg intoxicated during a mercury toxicity assessment (Drasch et al., 2001) [Drasch GS, Böse, O'Reilly S, Beinhoff C, Roider G, Maydl S. The Mt. Diwata study on the Philippines 1999—assessing mercury intoxication of the population by small scale gold mining. Sci Total Environ 2001; 267(1–3): 151–168.].

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > International
ISSN: 00489697
Format Availability: Electronic, Print
Additional Keywords: Mercury ; Soil quality ; Philippines
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Earth Sciences
Date made live: 10 Aug 2007 15:10 +0 (UTC)

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