850,000 Nigerians at risk of poisoning from mercury use – WHO

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The World Health Organisation has revealed that about 850,690 people in the country are at risk of mercury poisoning. A statement from the organisation said that in at least 12 states, particularly Niger, Osun and Zamfara, artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is one of their key source of income generation and that it is also the main source of the largest release of mercury emissions around the world.

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The other states are Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna, Kwara, Borno, Jigawa, and Yobe States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, the statement said. Speaking during a one-day health sensitization programme to flag-off field assessments of ASGM activities in Nigeria, Dr Edwin Edeh, National Consultant Public Health and Environment (PHE) of WHO said that “mercury, which is widely used to extract gold in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM); is a lethal chemical”.

The sensitization programme was launched in Minna, Niger State.

Culled from Daily Trust

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