High Concentration of Heavy Metals Detected in  Environment and Human Organisms in Melikgyugh

High Concentration of Heavy Metals Detected in  Environment and Human Organisms in Melikgyugh

A high concentration of heavy metals was detected in the environment and in the organisms of thr residents in Melikgyugh settlement of Aragatsotn Region, Armenia.

The research is conducted within the framework of "Participation of civil society in the protection of chemical safety in Armenia" project with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. The experts took test samples from the soil, water sources, and gardens of the residents of Melikgyugh in the areas adjacent to the abandoned tailings of the Tukhmanuk gold mine. Hair and urine samples taken from residents also investigated.

The samples were tested in the Czech Republic in state-certified laboratories. Project coordinator Valeriya Grechko from "Arnica" organization presented the research findings.

Arsenic Levels:

Elevated arsenic concentrations were found in specific soil samples, notably MLGH-SOIL-04/23 (119 mg/kg DW) and MLGH-SOIL-05/23 (19 mg/kg DW) near the gold mine.

Arsenic levels in all soil samples exceed Armenian standards.

Six sediment samples showed high arsenic concentrations, indicating potential watercourse contamination from the gold mine and associated infrastructure.

Cadmium Levels:

The concentration of cadmium in three soil samples out of seven is higher than the range reported for different countries (0.06-4.3 mg/kg).

Chromium Levels:

Chromium concentrations in the soil samples are higher or equal than the worldwide average. Any of the soil samples does not comply with the Armenian soil standard for chromium.

Copper Levels:

Soil copper concentrations in all samples surpass the Armenian standard.

Mercury Levels:

In the Melikgyugh area, we have not detected mercury pollution of soils and sediments.

Nickel Levels:

Nickel concentrations in the soil samples are equal or exceed concentrations in the range reported worldwide. The concentrations of nickel in all seven soil samples exceed the Armenian soil standard.

Lead Levels:

The concentrations of lead in the soil samples were below the overall word mean value, except for the sample MLGH-SOIL-04/23 that was collected close to the gold mine and tailing ponds in the direction of the water outflow from the gold mine. Lead concentration of this sample reaches 212 mg/kg DW and exceeds the Armenian soil standard.

Zinc Levels:

Concentrations of zinc in six soil samples exceed the range of averages found worldwide.

Biological samples:

Arsenic Levels:

An examination of heavy metal concentrations in urine and hair samples from four and five women, respectively, in Melikgyugh revealed noteworthy findings that warrant attention.

Lead Levels:

Lead was not detected in the four urine samples but was found in all hair samples.

Hair lead concentrations ranged from 0.15 to 0.5 mg/kg, indicating levels below concern and typical of unexposed populations.

Cadmium Levels:

No cadmium was detected in the urine samples while three out of five samples tested positive for hair cadmium at the mean of 0.05 mg/kg a concentration that is lower than our previous report from Armenia.

Nickel Levels:

Nickel was detected in every hair and urinary sample in the Melikgyugh cohort. The mean of urine nickel (2.63µg/g of creatinine) exceeded the U.S. general population levels, yet hair nickel seems to remain at a level for low concern. Two samples tested positive for hair nickel at a level that is of low concern.

Mercury Exposure:

All five hair samples tested positive for mercury, with concentrations ranging from 0.045 to 0.156 mg/kg.

Mercury levels indicate a moderate to low concern.

Copper Levels:

No copper was detected in urine samples, but all hair samples showed copper presence.

Hair copper concentrations had a mean of 9.13 mg/kg, within normal ranges.

Chromium and Molybdenum Absence:

Chromium nor molybdenum were not detected in any of the hair samples. 

January 05, 2024 at 16:17

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