A study from several Brazilian NGOs has revealed very high rates of mercury poisoning among the Indian Yanomami and Yekuana tribes in the Amazonian rainforest, caused by illegal gold mining activities.

In one region, over ninety percent of the population was affected by mercury poisoning due to illegal gold mining. Mercury used in the mining process ends up in the rivers, and, subsequently, in the fish eaten by the indigenous tribes.

Mercury pollution is also threatening other tribes in the Amazon. Public prosecutors are analysing the study’s findings and continuing to push for an end to illegal mining. According to a recent report by SOMO the electronics industry is the third largest user of gold for the production of mobile phones, computers and other consumer electronics.

Read more about the situation here.