Consultant Pathologist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in the Ashanti Region, Professor Paul Poku Sampene Ossei says a recent study has found large quantities of heavy metals in the womb of women in the country.

The women, according to the renowned pathologist, are mostly found in illegal mining areas (galamsey) in the country.

The Associate Professor at Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, KNUST observed that, the heavy metals found in women is as a result of illicit use of common metals in the extraction of gold, including mercury, cyanide and lead.

Speaking to Captain Koda on the Kumasi based OTEC 102.9 FM’s morning show dubbed ‘Nyansapo’ on Friday May 12, 2023, Prof Sampane noted that, these chemicals are mostly inhaled and ingested into the bloodstream of the miners and residents of mining communities causing irreversible health damage to them.

Profesor Sampene added that, children born in illegal mining areas are suffering cognitive impairment and other deformities due to the high use of heavy metals in gold extraction by galamsey operators.

“Children and infants can absorb up to 50% of these heavy metals when they inhale these substances or eat food contaminated by these heavy metals. Adults have the capacity to absorb 15-20 per cent of the metals.

“The child’s gastrointestinal tract has a very high affinity to all those metals, which includes lead, and these chemicals causes severe damage to the unborn children,” he stated.

Call to stop Galamsey

Prof Sampene has therefore called for effective and pragmatic strategies to address the raging illegal mining activities in the country immediately.

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He said illegal mining activities were not only affecting the health of the citizenry but the country’s forests water bodies and other social lives of the people.

“If you look at the pollution of heavy metals, I don’t think any single segment of society in this country can be isolated from the negative effects of ‘galamsey.’

“All sectors, including health, economics, environment and agriculture, are affected and thwarting the efforts of research and innovation and impeding all activities in the country,” he emphasized.