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Abstract  

This study presents preliminary results on mercury distribution, released by gold mining activities, in soils from Vila Nova River region, an area located in Serra do Navio, Amapá, in the Brazilian Amazon. The soil samples were separated in two grain sizes, sand (between 2 and 0.063 mm) and silt+clay (<63 μm), and have been analysed by radiochemical neutron activation analysis. The precision and accuracy of the method were verified by means of the reference material analysis GXR-5 (USGS).

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Abstract  

The biological standard reference materials Orchard Leaves SRM 1571 and Oyster Tissue SRM 1566a was analysed by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) at the International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences, Jamaica at (ICEN) and at the Instituto de Pesquisas Energeticas e Nucleares (IPEN-CNEN/SP), Brazil. The comparison of the results with those obtained with the more powerful reactor are used to evaluate the possibilities of INAA for the analysis of biological samples at ICENS. The detection limits, the precision and accuracy of the results obtained in both laboratories are compared. The advantages and disadvantages of the different irradiation facilities are discussed. Some results obtained for Jamaican biological samples are also presented.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: M. Vasconcellos, P. Bode, G. Paletti, M. Catharino, A. Ammerlaan, M. Saiki, D. Fávaro, A. Byrne, R. Baruzzi, and D. Rodrigues

Abstract  

Biomonitoring of mercury contamination of Brazilian Indian population groups living in the Xingu Park, a reservation situated in the Amazonic region, has revealed very high levels of mercury in hair samples as compared to controls. Total mercury was determined by INAA in most of the tribes living in the Park and methylmercury was determined by CVAAS in samples with total mercury above 10 mg/kg. Due to the fact that selenium seems to protect animals against the toxic effects of methylmercury, it was considered also of interest to determine its concentrations in the hair samples with very high mercury levels. Selenium was determined by INAA via the short-lived radionuclide 77mSe (T 1/2 = 17.45 s). The correlations between selenium and mercury concentrations in Brazilian controls and in the Indian population groups are discussed.

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Summary  

Pantanal, located in the central region of South America, is recognized as one of the world's largest freshwater wetlands. In order to verify possible changes in this environment, a study was undertaken in Nhecolândia Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil. Two sediment cores from the Salina do Meio pond (SM1 and SM2) and one core from a small flood land named Baía (B5) were collected in 2001. The elements As, Ba, Br, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Eu, Fe, Hf, La, Lu, Na, Nd, Rb, Sb, Sc, Sm, Ta, Tb, Th, U, Yb, Zn and Zr were determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). Cluster and factorial analysis were applied to the chemical data. The sedimentation rate in the SM2 core was determined by 210Pb method and the mean value found was 0.61 cm . y-1. The results obtained in the present study showed that recent geochemical processes such as desorption, precipitation and dissolution can contribute for the high water alkalinity and salinity in the saline ponds.

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Abstract  

In the present work, results from a survey on mercury concentration in sediments and soils from a gold mining area along the Vila Nova river, in Amapá State, Brazil, are presented. These values were compared with those from the Igarapé Pedra Preta basin, an area unaffected by mining activities. Total mercury contents were determined in the muddy (silt+clay) fraction of the sediments and in the <2 mm fraction of the soils using radiochemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA). The detection limit of the method was 54 µg·kg–1 for soils and 14 µg·kg–1 for sediments when 200 mg of sample were analysed. The Hg results obtained from a comparison between our current method (RNAA) and CV AAS are also presented. Mercury levels showed to be very high in the soils and sediments collected in the Vila Nova river (up to 2 mg·kg–1) when compared to background values (0.3 mg·kg–1) for this region. An enrichment factor was calculated, using Al as a normalizing factor. It showed values up to 8 in sediments of the Vila Nova river basin, indicating a relatively high degree of pollution as compared to the values of about 1 for the samples of the Igarapé Pedra Pretra basin.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: L. A. Farias, D. I. T. Favaro, V. A. Maihara, Vasconcellos M. B. A., L. K. Yuyama, J. P. L. Aguiar, and F. J. Alencar

Summary  

Daily dietary intake of Hg and some essential elements in diets of children from communities in the Jaú National Park, Amazon region, were assessed. Diet samples were analyzed for total Hg content using cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry and Ca, Fe, K, Na, Se and Zn contents by instrumental neutron activation analysis. The weekly tolerable provisional intake for Hg in the communities studied varied from 13 to 57 mg of Hg per kg of body weight, exceeding the limit of 5 mg . kg-1 set by the WHO. Comparison of the daily dietary intake values to the new Dietary Reference Intakes (4-8 years), showed prevalence of inadequacy.

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