Evaluation of the effect of an environmental management program on exposure to manganese in a mining zone in Mexico

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Abstract

Background:

In the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, is found the largest second deposit of Manganese (Mn) in Latin America. Various studies on the sources of emission, exposure, and the effects on the health of children and adults have been conducted utilizing an ecosystem approach. Given the findings of Mn levels in air and the neurocognitive effects, an Environmental Management Program (EMP) was designed and implemented with the purpose of reducing exposure to Mn of the population, including various actions for reducing Mn emissions into the atmosphere.

Objective:

To evaluate the impact of the EMP on the concentrations of Mn in air, as well as the modification of exposure to Mn in the blood and hair of adult residents of the communities intervened.

Methods:

A quasi-experimental study was conducted in five rural communities, in which Mn concentrations were evaluated in air and in blood in the years 2002 and 2007, pre-intervention, and in 2013, postintervention. In 2003, the concentration of hair Mn among the communities was evaluated. Measurements were carried out of Particulate Matter (PM) of >10 and 2.5 μm (PM10 and PM2.5), and Mn in PM10 and PM2.5 were measured using proton-induced X-ray emissions (PIXE). The method of Difference in Differences (DID) was applied to estimate the impact of EMP on Mn concentrations in particulate matter via linear regression through multilevel models. To evaluate the effect of Mn concentrations in air over Mn concentrations in blood in both study periods in the mining communities per year (2002 and 2013), a linear regression model for each year was employed.

Results:

We estimated that the EMP contributed to reducing the average daily concentrations of Mn in PM10 and PM2.5 by 92 and 85%, respectively. The adjusted model did not show an effect of Mn concentrations in air over Mn concentrations in blood in both study periods.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that the measures implemented to reduce Mn emissions in air exerted a significant impact on the reduction of inhaled exposure in adult population.

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