Colonial Entrance, Ayacucho, Peru

Summary of the Environmental Health Council’s Remedial

Investigation for Huancavelica, Peru.

(click link above to download)

Environmental Health News:

If these walls could talk: Adobe homes in Peru’s Andes

tell a centuries-old toxic tale

The Environmental Health Council is an international, interdisciplinary, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to identifying, evaluating and remediating the effects of environmental toxins in affected communities. By examining specific environmental health issues from distinct perspectives, the Council develops innovative, integrated, interdisciplinary, measurable, mutually reinforcing, culturally relevant and feasible strategies and programs to reduce community exposures to environmental toxins and improve their health and quality of life.

The Council is presently focusing on heavy metal contamination in the Andean region, primarily in the cities of Huancavelica, Peru, and Potosí, Bolivia.

In 2015, the EHC prepared a Remedial Investigation (RI) that united the results of several studies conducted by the EHC from 2009 to 2015 that incorporated assessment of mercury in outdoor soil, river sediment, indoor wall and floor material, indoor air and fish tissue and various foodstuffs in Huancavelica. Other heavy metals such as arsenic and lead were also preliminarily assessed during this period. The RI included a site-specific risk assessment that utilized exposure factors specific to the people of the region. The results indicated that approximately 19,000 people are at risk of being exposed mercury above World Health Organization and USEPA health-based standards in the indoor walls, dirt floors and/or air in their homes.

In 2015, The Council completed a pilot study to test the efficacy of several remedial alternatives aimed at eliminating or reducing the exposure risk from ingestion of contaminated soil or the inhalation of mercury vapor in homes. Treatment of interior walls with stucco and covering floors with concrete proved to be the most effective and least cost remedial alternative. The Council is currently working on fundraising and program development in support of this remedy, as well as for additional assessment of other heavy metals in homes, and mercury in fish tissue in Huancavelica. Please click here for a copy of the 2015 Pilot Study Report.


View of Huancavelica, Peru