Lead Poisoning and Gold

Uploaded by HumanRightsWatch on 09.01.2012

In Niageria's Zamfara State
the discovery of gold
has brought prosperity and hope to its people
but the process of mining the gold
has had deadly
Lead released
in the gold minig process
is poisonouing children.
Hundreads have died, and thousands are at risk
in what it's considered the worst outbreak in modern history.
Zamfara has huge deposits of gold
with the rising demand for gold
the people have increasinly turned to mining
to eke out a better living.
In this area lead poisoning is a deadly byproduct of the search for gold.
miners crush and grind gold
and, in the process
they release dust that is heavely contaminated with lead.
Children have paid a heavy price. Their developing bodies
are extremely vulnerable to the
toxic effects
of lead.
Children are exposed to the dust
when they work in the mining sites themselves, or when their relatives return home from mining
with their clothes and hands covered in the deadly dust.
Lead can also contaminate the local water sources
that people use for
drinking, bathing, irrigation and live stock.
The Zafara state govenment is very active
in ensuring that these villages are cleaned up.
But the state government
needs the commitment of the federal government to finally put an end to
to this health crisis.
There are three priorities, first,
the government needs to set up safer mining practices
to protect miners and their families
and ensure that the people of Zanfara benefits from the richess of the land without
paying with their lives.
they need to clean up all of the contaminated areas.
And finally the government needs to test and treat all children at risk of
lead poisoning.