From Green Right Now Reports

Nigeria is experiencing a gold rush, but the fallout is devastating the health of its children, exposing them to lead dust that can produce convulsions, paralysis and longterm cognitive deficits.

Many children have been disabled for life, and have died from the lead contamination related to gold mining, which lures many Nigerian workers desperate for good-paying jobs.

A piece published today by Voice of America describes this environmental and public heath disaster:

BAGEGA, NIGERIA — About 20 miles from the nearest paved road or light switch, the village of Bagega, Nigeria is the epicenter of the worst lead poisoning outbreak that anyone can remember. The government has promised millions of dollars for a massive life-saving cleanup, but small children continue to play in toxic dirt, and activists say time is running out.

At a gold-processing site, men hammered away at rocks. As he worked, Ismail explained how it’s done.

He said that first they crush the rocks, then they feed the pebbles into an electric flour mill, powered by a small generator. Gold is then extracted from the sand. As they worked, an unusual kind of dust billows from the hammers and machines, covering Ismail’s body and clothes. It’s dust that is laden with lead…

Read the rest of Heather Murdock’s article at Voice of America online.