Mining companies often advertise mineral products as an alternative to more expensive, toxic chemicals, but they are often dangerous to people and the environment, according to a new study.
Key points:Researchers found minerals were not essential to survival in humansResearchers also found that miners use less harmful alternatives to make their productsKorres is the world’s most common mineral, but it is a rare mineral found in many other areasThe findings are in a peer-reviewed journal of natural resources that explores the health risks associated with mineral exploration and exploitation, the study authors said.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to study the effects of mineral extraction on human health and environment,” lead author Dr Tim Gorman, from the University of Queensland’s Department of Health and Human Sciences, said.
Dr Gorman’s study looked at the health effects of mining, and found the health impacts were different depending on the minerals used.
“In general, the mineral industry is not associated with the health of people.
The industry is associated with higher rates of mortality, respiratory problems, and increased rates of chronic disease,” he said.
The researchers used data from the Global Mineral Industry Atlas (GIMA), a database of over 7,000 mineral companies in the world, to find the health impact of mining on human beings.
“We found that mining is associated, in a positive way, with mortality, increased respiratory problems and increased chronic disease.”
The health effects are similar to other environmental exposures, such as exposure to toxic chemicals,” Dr Gorman said.”[Mining] is associated mainly with mortality and respiratory problems in humans.
“He said the study also showed miners were using less harmful chemicals, such a sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, than other industries.”
When they use less toxic chemicals like sodium chlorite, the impact on the environment is less,” he explained.”
However, when they use more toxic chemicals such as lead, zinc, and cadmium, the health problems are more severe.
“Dr Gror noted the mining industry’s use of chemicals was not necessarily a bad thing, as long as they were not causing long-term health problems for people.”
As long as we’re taking care of our bodies and the mineral extraction process, the end result is that we’re going to be fine,” he added.”
So I think mining companies should be mindful of that.
“Mining companies, the Australian Minerals Council, and other industry groups have called for a ban on mining in remote areas.
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