Dr Andrea Hinwood

PBC Board Member, is investigating ‘Human Exposure to Metals in Groundwater Affected by Acid Sulphate Soil Disturbance’. She describes her work as follows: “The disturbance and oxidation of sulphidic soils can cause an increase in acidity resulting in the mobilization of high concentrations of metals in groundwater or connected surface water. This is an increasing problem in urban areas of Australia and internationally with very high concentrations of arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper and aluminium being recorded. We undertook a preliminary investigation of human exposure to metals recruiting 27 residents in an acid sulphate soil affected area, some using a bore others not. The data indicate exposure to metals in bore water users may be occurring and further investigation is warranted. We are currently pursing this area of research.”

Dr David Carpenter

PBC Emeritus Board Member and Principal investigator in a study that looked at levels of contaminants in farmed and wild salmon in eight regions around the world. The authors found significantly higher concentrations of four contaminants of great concern – PCBs, dieldrin, toxaphene and dioxins – in the farmed salmon studied. 

Dr Mariano Cebrian

PBC Emeritus Board Member and Scientist at Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados. (CINVESTAV) is currently involved in a project looking at the long-term effects of heavy metals on children’s health. The long term effects of chronic exposure to lead and other elements present in the environment surrounding smelters and mines are not well known. Dr. Cebrian and a team of researchers from Mexico and the United States are launching a prospective cohort study of children chronically exposed to lead, arsenic and other metals in Region Lagunera, an area in the central part of Northern Mexico containing the fourth largest nonferrous smelter complex in the world. Previous studies have identified high levels of both PbB and AsU in elementary school children in the area of the complex. The purpose of the study is to evaluate potential adverse health effects derived from exposure to metals and metalloids. The potential arms of the cohort include immunological, neurodevelopment, endocrine disruption, genotoxicity and cardiovascular endpoints. The project will also be used to help define what measures can be taken in the community to lower the impact of heavy metals to children (moving residents away from the smelter, cleaning dust, preventing dust emissions etc). The effect of the interventions on measured health effects will be evaluated.