Health status within the precincts of a nickel-copper mining and smelting environment|
Background: Mining and smelting activities affect the biophysical environment and human health.
Objective: This paper elucidates on the human health status of residents close to a nickel-copper mine and concentrator/smelter plant.
Method: 600 questionnaires were administered and data generated was processed.
Results: Health complaints of respondents included palpitations, lower abdominal pain, shortness of breath, constant chest pains, unusual spitting, coughing regularly, frequent headaches, loss of body weight, regular constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, urinary pain, and unusual genital discharge. Many respondents suffered from headaches frequently with >50% from five sites. The majority of respondents having frequent influenza/common colds were from three sites. Pracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen were taken for headache, period, back and abdominal pain. Fumes, vibrations, noise and constant movement of heavy equipment were considered as disturbing factors affecting health.
Conclusion: Fumes of SO2 emanating from mining and smelting were the most suspected causative agent affecting health. Control site values for fumes, dust, vibrations and noise were very low. A link between health status and environmental pollution due to mining activities was thus inferred.
fumes of sulphur dioxide, health, pain, smelter/concentrator plant