Metallic contamination from a mining site and its accumulation by human

Author(s): Chakamita Zolikha, Alain Sacoura, Jamal Tikamika

Both blood and hair samples from the scalp were used in a preliminary assessment of heavy metals exposure (Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn) of the human population living near Drâa Lasfar mine (Marrakech-Morocco). In parallel with the collection of samples, individuals froma different community at the South of the mine area answered a questionnaire designed to obtain information about potential exposure pathways to these elements. The questionnaire allowed data collection about the most frequently consumed foodstuffs, drinking water sources, smoking habits, alcohol consumption and health condition. Higher concentrations, and subsequently higher ranges, of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn were recorded in individuals living near the mine, in opposition to individuals living several kilometers apart. Additionally, the concentrations recorded in both blood and hair of individuals from the studied population were above the reference values for non-exposed (rural) individuals, suggesting their enhanced exposure. However, significant differences were found for the average concentration of these elements between the two populations. Men from the studied population presented higher concentrations of Cd, Cu and Zn in scalp hair, and higher concentrations of Cu and Zn in blood. Our results suggest that the population of Drâa Lasfar mine area may be exposed to some of the elements analysed namely Pb. In conclusion, humans living chronically exposed to Drâa Lasfar mine waste show high concentrations of essential and non-essential tracemetals in both blood and scalp hair, and is suggested that this type of exposure may be as harmful as living close to industrial facilities.

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