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English Abstract The Effect of Exposure Factors on the Concentration of Heavy Metals in Residents Near Abandoned Metal Mines.
Sanghoo Kim, Yong Min Cho, Seung Hyun Choi, Hae Joon Kim, Jaewook Choi
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2011;44(1):41-47
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1Department of Preventive medicine, Korea University, College of Medicine, Korea.
2Institute for Occupational & Environmental Health at Korea University, Korea.

This study assessed the factors that have an influence on the residents exposed to heavy metals, and we utilized the findings to establish the proper management of abandoned metal mines in the future. METHODS: For a total of 258 residents who lived close to abandoned mines in Gangwon-province and Gyeonggi-province, the exposure factors and biomarkers in their blood and urine were comparatively analyzed via multiple regression analysis. RESULTS: The blood levels of lead and mercury and the cadmium levels in urine were found to be higher in the study group than that in the average Korean. For the blood levels of heavy metals according to each exposure factor, all of them were found to be significantly higher in both of the group residing for a longer period of time and the group living closer to the source of pollutants. Multiple regression analysis disclosed that all the heavy metals, except lead, in their blood were significantly reduced in proportion to the increased distance of inhabitancy from the mines. Their other biomarkers were within the normal ranges. CONCLUSIONS: We found that the distance between the residential village and the mines was a factor that affects the blood level of heavy metals in the villagers. This finding could be an important factor when developing a management model for the areas that surround abandoned metal mines. (ED note: I much like this important study.)

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health