Myanmar Health Sciences Research Journal
Volume 26, Number 3
TITLE: Preliminary Study on Mercury Content in River Water around Gold Reclamation Site
AUTHOR: Khine Thin Naing; Tin Nwe Htw; Ye Hein Htet; Tin Tin Han; Khin Moe Latt; Ohnmar Win; Aye Thidar Tun; Thet Htet Aung; Myat Phone Kyaw
SOURCE: Myanmar Health Sciences Research Journal. 2014; 26(3): 173-175
ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the mercury content in river water around Shwekyin gold reclamation site by using Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer. Mercury was used to extract large gold particles by Amalgam technology for the accelerated growth of gold production. In most areas, the burning of Au-Hg amalgam is done in the open air, releasing Hg vapor to the atmosphere. It can pollute environment such as rivers, soils and atmosphere. In Shwekyin, gold panning has been carried out for many years. Mercury might be used to extract gold particles in the process. Occupational exposure of mercury has resulted in broad-ranging functional disturbance, including irritability, excitability, excessive shyness, and insomnia. Long-term, low-level exposure has been associated with more subtle symptoms of erethism, including fatigue, irritability, and loss of memory, vivid dreams and depression. A total of 7 water samples: 2 from Sittaung River, 3 from its tributaries where gold panning was carried out and 2 from gold extraction sites were purposely collected. Mercury content in 5 of the samples varied between 0.009 and 0.112 ppb and mercury was not detected in 2 samples, 1 from Sittaung River and 1 tram its tributaries. According to this study, river water in Shwekyin is not harmful because the results are lower than the guideline values for chemicals from industrial sources and human dwellings that are of health significance in drinking water (6 ppb).
SUBJECT HEADINGS: Mercury; Water; Gold Reclamation