La contaminación humana por mercurio: un sistema de determinantes socioespaciales a orillas del río Beni (Amazonía boliviana)

Celine Tschirhart

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This paper presents the results of a research project carried out between 2005 and 2010 in the Bolivian Amazon. Along the Río Beni, various studies have revealed the presence of mercury, a powerful neurotoxin, in the environment. When transformed into its organic form, methylmercury, the metal accumulates throughout the aquatic food chain, exposing the people whose staple diet includes fish to a health risk. However, all riverside populations are not exposed to the same level of risk. Fish consumption varies according to factors and determinants, spatial and social,that are largely related to the links that these populations have with the local towns (municipios). These links depend on the distance between communities (where the families live) and the town, but also on the ability of communities to build relationships with institutional actors and on the level of coherence of the territories in which they reside. These results provide a basis for formulating risk prevention policies, adapted to the context.
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)561-589
JournalBulletin de l'Institut Français d'Etudes Andines
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Amazon, Bolivia, mercury, resources, networks, territories

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