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Occupational Health Risks of Dusts and Heavy Metals Contamination from the Artisanal Gold Mine of Buhemba, Tanzania

Exposure to heavy metals and dusts in artisanal and small scale mining activities is health issues among miners. This study was carried out at Buhemba artisanal and small scale gold mining sites situated in Mara region, Tanzania aims to assess the occupational health risks of small-scale gold miners who are exposed to dust and selected heavy metals. The respirable dust concentrations were measured by an aerosol monitor particle counter while the heavy metals were measured by an Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence from pits and processing area. The average concentration of respirable particles in the milling areas ranged from 0.4 g/m3 to 2.01 g/m3 for particle sizes of 0.3µm, 0.5 µm, 1 µm, 5 µm and 10 µm with highest value found in particle size 0.3µm. The respirable dust particle concentration from pits ranged from 0.002 g/m3 to 0.86 g/m3 for the particle size of 0.3µm, 0.5 µm, 1 µm, 5 µm and 10 µm. Milling and pits respirable dust concentrations were generally higher than the WHO recommended value. The average concentration of Mercury (27.24 mg/kg and 6.41mg/kg), Arsenic (269.50mg/kg and 167.41mg/k) for milling and pits respectively were higher than the recommended value by US-EPA. The risk estimates revealed that children are more vulnerable to non-cancer risk due to exposure to heavy metals to Hazard Index values of 27.59 and 7.23 for the milling and pits respectively. The total carcinogenic risk for children in the milling and pit areas at 5.60E-03 and 2.70E-04 respectively, were above the acceptable risk for involuntarily exposed person at 10-6. Total risk for adults in the milling and pit areas at 6.47E-04 and 4.04E-04 respectively, were above the acceptable risk for voluntarily exposed person at 10-4.

Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining, Heavy Metals, Respirable Dust Particles, Risks Assessment

Pamela Semiono, Msafiri Jackson, Erasto Focus. (2023). Occupational Health Risks of Dusts and Heavy Metals Contamination from the Artisanal Gold Mine of Buhemba, Tanzania. International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis, 11(3), 72-79.

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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