The primary conclusions of the CETEM study, based on extensive epidemiological studies (analyses of urine, blood and hair samples) of approximately 800 residents, found “low” human exposure to arsenic in Paracatu. Exposure levels were below the average levels found in the US and similar to other cities in São Paulo state with no history of arsenic exposure. Cancer rates in Paracatu are comparable to other cities in Brazil and CETEM researchers found no evidence of arsenicosis, the skin lesions most commonly associated with chronic arsenic poisoning.
In regards to airborne dust, the CETEM study points to arsenic levels comparable to other cities in Europe and well below US norms. Samples taken by the CETEM study showed that water quality immediately downstream of the tailings dams is well within regulatory limits and analysis by CETEM found no ground water contamination from Kinross operations.
Although Kinross has retained CETEM in the past to undertake technical work regarding gold recoveries, this should not detract from CETEM’s independence or that of its experts.
In compliance with the request from the Municipal Prefecture of Paracatu, CETEM coordinated its actions to form a team of 70 researchers in the scientific field, and presented a work proposal in 2010 for the “Evaluation of Environmental Contamination by Arsenic and Epidemiological Study of Associated Environmental Exposure in Human Populations of Paracatu-MG.” The researchers were invited based on their specialization in environmental toxicology, epidemiology, clinical toxicology, environmental medicine, environmental chemistry, environmental geochemistry, evaluation of risks to human health and the environment, among others, as seen from the Technical Team. The studies began in March 2011, with the release of the first installment of resources, and ended in December 2013.
Click here to view the complete study (PDF).