"Alaska, Concerned About Gold Miners' Health, To Test Them for Mercury"

"Alaska health officials, concerned about amateur miners seeking riches in a modern-day mini gold rush, plan to test prospectors in the town of Nome for mercury exposure for fear that archaic mining techniques may be inadvertently harming their bodies."

"The Bering Sea port town of Nome has been a magnet this summer for gold prospectors, some of them with little experience, in a boom that state officials attribute in part to publicity from Discovery Channel's reality TV show 'Bering Sea Gold' and other mining shows set in Alaska.

Modern miners may be putting themselves at risk by trying to recover gold from mercury-heavy sediments on the sea floor, said Ali Hamade, a state environmental public health manager. A century ago, it was common for miners in Nome to use mercury to recover gold. The gold was extracted while the mercury was left behind."

Yereth Rosen reports for Reuters August 25, 2012.
 

Source: Reuters, 08/27/2012