The Scientific Report Journal, part of Nature Journal, one of the most important scientific journals, published a detailed scientific investigation on the health impacts of the children population in Cerro de Pasco. This publication positively influences our work on from a scientific and legal point of view.
The investigation has been developed in collaboration with a team of forensic doctors on a case-control study in 2018. We investigated chronic exposure to heavy metals in children living in Cerro de Pasco and health effects. Heavy metal concentrations were determined in hair samples collected from 78 children living in a region exposed to an open-pit mine (Paragsha region) and from other 16 children unexposed to mine activities (Carhuamayo region).
All recruited children underwent a complete physical examination and anamnesis. In the anamnesis, we inquired about respiratory, digestive, bleeding and neurological antecedents, among others. In addition, data were collected on vaccine administration, medical and hospitalization history and the reasons for medical assistance or interventions, when applicable.
Children exposed to the mine showed statistically significantly higher concentration of many heavy metals like aluminum, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, iron, lead, tin, and thallium than control children. Hair samples collected from the same children on two occasions (2016 and 2018) showed that the exposure is chronic with higher levels of heavy metals observed in 2018.
Heavy metals are associated with substantial higher risk of nosebleed, chronic colic, dermatologic alterations, mood alterations, presence of white lines on nails, reduced visual camp and other symptoms.
There is a linear association between high heavy metal concentrations and the presence of specific clinical signs. In specific, high levels of arsenic, cadmium, iron, manganese, lead, and thallium are associated with a history of nosebleeds. The heavy metals aluminium, tin, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, iron, manganese, lead, thallium, and vanadium are associated with white lines on the nails. Arsenic and boron are related to chronic colic.
Chronic heavy metal exposure implies various negative consequences on children’s health.
Actions should be taken to protect the environment and health.