J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 271 - 274

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 271
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030294

Evaluation of human health risks associated to coal mining in Brazil

Z.C. Castilhos

Center for Mineral Technology-CETEM, Avenida Ipê 900, Ilha da Cidade Universitaria, Rio de Janeiro-RJ 21941-590, Brazil

Brazilian coal contains about 5% of sulfur, mainly as pyrite. The ROM has to be washed for cleaning and became useful for energy generation, and almost 60% of ROM is rejected as waste. Acid mine drainage is a common process in coal mining, and the acid can dissolve metals previously bound up in ore and surrounding rock. When carried in runoff, the metals then enter aquatic environments where they can contaminate surface waters. It might have devastating effects on aquatic life and may cause adverse effects in humans. This work presents a conceptual model for human exposure to toxic agents released by coal mining in south State in Brazil, in order to supply a basic framework for human health hazard assessment, considering the site-specific conditions. Additionaly, a quantitative non-carcinogenic hazard due to consumption of contaminated surface water was performed at the screening level. The results show that there is not concern regarding all water bodies studied, except in mouth of Maina River. However, we should taken into account that was detected several gaps in the information needed to perform a complete human health hazard.

© EDP Sciences 2003