MongaBay.com recently reported on the health impacts to indigenous people brought on by illegal gold mining in Brazil. MongaBay provided some bullet points from the piece:
- Conflict between gold miners and indigenous people in Brazil is common, with 134 Indians killed in 2015 in mining-related disputes. Mercury contamination of Amazon rivers is a less visible, but no less serious threat to the lives of Brazilian Indians.
- A recent study looked at mercury contamination in the Yanomami and Ye’kuana peoples in northern Roraima — Brazil’s least populated state and part of the Amazon. The researchers found dangerous levels of mercury in the bodies of those living closest to illegal gold mining operations.
- More than 92 percent of Yanomami Indians tested in Aracaçá (the closest community to illegal mining sites) had unsafe rates of mercury in their bodies, while in the Papiú region (located fartherest from illegal mining sites), just 6 percent were mercury contaminated. Researchers conclude that the variation in rates is due to the amount of exposure the various indigenous groups have had to illegal mining.