Indoor metallic pollution related to mining activity in the Bolivian Altiplano

Francisco E. Fontúrbel, Enio Barbieri, Cristian Herbas, Flavia L. Barbieri, Jacques Gardon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The environmental pollution associated with mining and metallurgical activities reaches its greatest extent in several Andean cities and villages. Many locations in this area have accumulated through centuries a large amount of mining wastes, often disregarding the magnitude of this situation. However, in these naturally mineralized regions, there is little information available stating the exact role of mining and metallurgical industries in urban pollution. In this study, we demonstrated that the various metallic elements present in indoor dust (As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Sb, Sn, Zn) had a common origin and this contamination was increased by the proximity to the mines. Lead dust concentration was found at concerning levels for public health. In addition, wrong behaviors such as carrying mining workwear home contributed to this indoor dust pollution. Consequently, the constant exposure of the population could represent a potential health hazard for vulnerable groups, especially children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2870-2875
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Geostatistical analysis
  • Household dust
  • Human exposure
  • Metallic trace element
  • Mining pollution


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