This video is unavailable.
"Choropampa: The Price of Gold", Documentary
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Uploaded on May 31, 2010
A devastating mercury spill by the world's richest gold mining corporation transforms a quiet peasant village in Peru's Andean mountains into a hotbed of civil resistance. A courageous young mayor emerges to lead his people on a quest for health care and justice. But powerful interests conspire to thwart the villagers at every turn in this 2-year epic chronicle of the real price of gold.
On June 2, 2000, a truck from the Yanacocha gold mine spilled 151 kg of liquid elemental mercury along a 40 km stretch of highway passing through Choropampa and two neighboring towns. Villagers were not told the mercury was toxic. Assuming it was azogue, an ancient cure-all, they collected mercury in bottles and jars using their hands, sticks and brooms. Children were especially fascinated with the alluring silvery balls of liquid that sparkled in the bright sun; they played with it, spilling mercury on dirt floors and beds, near gardens and animals and inside the local school.
Elemental mercury, or metallic mercury, evaporates rapidly at warm temperatures like those found in Choropampa at the time of the spill. Gregory Camacho, an industrial hygienist at the University of Columbia hospital in New York, specializes in cleaning up mercury spills. "Mercury is very difficult to clean-up on regular floors," says Camacho in the film, "because it goes into every nook and cranny that
it can find... On a dirt road or dirt surface it would definitely burrow."
Camacho explains that even after all visible liquid mercury has been cleaned-up, mercury vapors may remain in the air, condensing and evaporating as temperatures rise and fall. Elemental mercury is most toxic to humans in its evaporated, vapor-form. The World Health Organization says that when elemental mercury is inhaled, approximately 80 percent of the mercury remains in the body where it can damage the lungs, kidneys and central nervous system. Chronic exposure may cause birth defects and miscarriages. Symptoms of poisoning can include skin rashes, nausea, muscle and kidney pain, respiratory difficulty and loss of consciousness. Elemental mercury can be transformed into organic mercury or methyl mercury through contact with organic matter in the environment. Organic mercury is extremely toxic to humans because it can accumulate and move up the food chain.
A World Bank report on the mercury spill in Choropampa acknowledged that "a certain proportion of the mercury that remains in the environment, either in the soil or transported into nearby waterways, can be expected to be transformed into organic methyl mercury." Chronic exposure may include neurological disorders, severe birth defects and mental illness.
Standard YouTube License
- 42:33 The Secret World of Gold (Full Documentary)by Horse HeadFeatured 56,861
- 45:41 Richest People of The Middle Eastby saloonsix 2,495,459 views
- 1:42:25 CHOLEANDO: racismo en Perú (documental completo)by documentalcholeando 81,291 views
- 25:52 Gems TV Zambian Emerald Documentary Filmby GemsTVUK 17,141 views
- 1:17:54 China: The Roots of Madness (1967) Documentary Filmby rosaryfilms 139,208 views
- 21:08 Rough Justice For Dealers - Peruby Journeyman Pictures 94,519 views
- 1:44:55 ZERO An Investigation Into 9/11 (FULL documentary)by WarCrime911 425,204 views
- 56:24 The Hemlo Gold Storyby OntarioMiningHistory 6,314 views
- 45:40 Crisson Gold Mine - Georgia Gold Prospecting Trip.by georgiagoldguy 57,823 views
- 9:41 Striking it Richby serenityrower 48,558 views
- 55:13 Eritrea - Behind the Crisis - (FULL) PBS Documentary HDby TubeExpression 74,461 views
- 51:55 Las tumbas reales de Peru . Documental enteroby Fer Lagarto 1,903 views
- 20:25 Searching For The Etowah River Mine Tunnelby Bradybrandwood 7,405 views
- 16:52 Documentary about Gold Prospecting on the East Fork of San Gabriel Riverby kbgoldhunter 14,005 views
- 3:58 PERU TIENE TALENTO: Joven Sorprende al jurado Cantando en Frances 15/09/12by poseidoporunbot 446,083 views
- 15:01 Gold Documentary Part 2by jouy burger 3,550 views
- 1:31 QUARTZ VEIN GOLD ORE SPECIMEN ~ FROM GOLD MINEby MarkAllenChannel 62,894 views
- 12:45 A Lost Gold Canyon Foundby Crom2000 157,079 views
- 9:43 Travel Peru - A Peru Documentary - Up Close and Personal Part 1by Kristen Sarah 4,396 views
- 51:43 The End of Suburbia - 52 minute documentary on peak oilby endofsuburbia 385,732 views
- Loading more suggestions...