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Tschirhart C.,University of Strasbourg | Tschirhart C.,Royal Holloway, University of London | Handschumacher P.,French Institute of Research for Development IRD | Handschumacher P.,University of Strasbourg | And 3 more authors.
Human Ecology | Year: 2012

Mercury is known to be a powerful neurotoxin, particularly in its organic form. Amazonian populations living along contaminated rivers are exposed to mercurial contamination through fish consumption, but spatial disparities of contamination have very seldom been explored. The problem was addressed along the river Beni, in the Bolivian Amazon. Fifteen communities have been studied by a multidisciplinary research team, to explore the socio-geographical determinants of contamination by mercury. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, from the community to the regional level, this paper shows how spatial contrasts of mercury contamination are determined by contrasted types of resource management and contrasted social networks from one community to another, and how the places' and societies' specificities play an essential role in the determination of the mercurial risk. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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