Gold mining’s association with poor health and environmental damage has been unearthed over the years – but it’s still something many of us know little about.
“People have heard about ‘blood diamonds’, but not many realise that their gold could be responsible for one of the world’s top toxic threats – mercury,” says Richard Fuller, the President of Pure Earth – a New York-based charity that helps to clean up pollution in the poorest communities in developing countries that are affected by toxins.
Mercury poisoning can cause many unpleasant symptoms including brain malfunction, slurred speech, memory loss and loss of balance. Artisanal small-scale gold mining is the largest source of human-caused mercury pollution in the world (even more than the burning of fossil fuels), according to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
Gold has long been coveted. But as our lust for the material goes unabated the industry has been steeped in accusations of exploitation, child labour and poor wages.
In turn, artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has attempted to provide an ethical overhaul by implementing hallmarks for Fairtrade and Fairmined gold to guarantee a more ethical process. And now a spotlight has now fallen on mercury-free gold – and its jewellery designers who are helping to lead the way.
For the rest of this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/mercury-free-gold-ethical-sustainable-jewellery_uk_59400c47e4b0b13f2c6e2b34