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Mercury use in illegal mining can cause defects in babies – Dr. Fameye

Dr. Sylvester Fameye, Senior Medical Officer of the Holy Child Catholic Hospital in Fijai, says Mecury use in illegal mining could cause defects in babies.

Speaking with GNA he said exposure to high levels of Mercury could cause birth defects in babies.

Mercury could damage parts of the body, including the lungs, kidneys, and nervous system; the brain, spinal cord, and nerves,…babies expose to mercury in the womb can have brain damage, hearing and vision problems,” he said.

Dr. Fameye added that one could be exposed to mercury through the air we breathe, eating and drinking food and water contaminated with it as in the case of galamsey activities.

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He explained that while some birth defects were harmless, others required long-term medical treatment and added that severe birth defects were one of the leading causes of infant death in the country.

A midwife at Sewum Health Centre in the Western North Region, Madam Gifty Adwoa Adjanor in an interview said heavy chemicals used in illegal mining locally known as “galamsey” in parts of the country were contaminating water bodies and causing babies to be born with major facial defects.

She disclosed that the Health Centre had for some time now been recording cases of newborn babies without nose, eyes, ears, and mouth defects, adding that, the activities of illegal miners pollute rivers that served as the main sources of drinking water.

Ms. Adjanor, appealed to traditional leaders and other residents in the area to support the renewed fight against galamsey to enable pregnant women to give birth to healthy children.
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