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Posted Wed Dec 28 2011: from PBS News Hour:
In Peru, Gold Rush Leads to Mercury Contamination Concerns
Now, major environmental concerns over mercury contamination at extensive gold mining operations in the remote regions of the Peruvian Amazon... These miners are part of the biggest gold rush the world has ever seen. Recent spikes in gold prices have lured 10 to 15 million people worldwide into the business of small-scale gold mining. But rising global demand for gold has also fueled demand for a far less prized metal, mercury. The toxic metal is used by millions of miners every day to separate and collect gold from rocks and soil. Miners say mercury is easy to use, readily available, and cheap.
[Read more stories about: contamination, health impacts, toxic buildup]
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There's mercury in them thar hills.

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