One of the reasons for womens' reproductive health issues in Lori region is mining, as the findings of the study conducted by the American University of Armenia School of Public Health in 2013 showed. The studies found significant differences in the reproductive health of women living in Alaverdi, the smelter town, and Artik, the comparison town. The research team eventually found that the odds of having a stillbirth was 2.38 times higher, the odds of having an induced abortion due to medical indications 2.67 times higher, and the odds of having early prenatal mortality 2.67 times higher for women living in Alaverdi compared with women living in Artik. From the data collected and analyzed, it is reasonable to suggest that the differences in the reproductive health of women from Alaverdi and Artik could be associated with women in Alaverdi being exposed to heavy metals and sulfur dioxide pollution being emitted by the copper smelter.
The target population of the survey included adult women of reproductive age, 18 to 49 years of age, living near the smelter in Alaverdi. The same target population in terms of gender and age was surveyed from Artik, a town in the Shirak region that was chosen as the comparison town because of the fact that there are no metal mining or smelting activities there.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States of America many factors can alter the reproductive health of a woman and her ability to give birth to a healthy child. One such factor is exposure to sulfur dioxide, which can lead to fetal death, preterm birth, miscarriage and stillbirth. Exposure to heavy metals, such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, can also affect female reproductive functions leading to reproductive problems.
This article is prepared in the scope of partnership between Caucasus Environmental NGO Network and AUA Center for Responsible Mining.
You can read the full article here.
15:35 June 01, 2015