Evaluation of exposure to mixtures of environmental pollutants and health effects in the rural population of three departments in Colombia, 2020

Project: Research Project

Project Details


In Colombia, agricultural and mining activities generate contamination with metals and pesticides in the different environmental matrices, with potential effects on human health and on the components of the ecosystem, and also constitute a risk factor in food security. Although living organisms are exposed to mixtures of contaminants simultaneously, the toxic effect of interactions between these substances and their chronic health effects is not known with certainty, since most studies of mixtures have been carried out in different animal models with in vivo and in vitro studies.
Objective: To determine the exposure to mixtures of environmental pollutants and health effects in the rural population of the municipalities of Aranzazu, Montelibano and Nechí in Colombia.

Materials and methods: a cross-sectional descriptive study is proposed, a non-probabilistic sampling will be carried out on 400 people distributed in four groups: 100 individuals in Aranzazu (Caldas), 100 in Nechí (Antioquía) and 100 in Monte Líbano (Córdoba); in each of these municipalities 50% of the sample will be people occupationally exposed and 50% environmentally exposed. The fourth group will be 100 non-exposed individuals. Measurements of organochlorine, organophosphorus and carbamate pesticides and heavy metals lead, mercury, nickel, arsenic, cadmium will be made in biological samples (urine, blood, hair) and in environmental samples (water and fish). In addition, a socio-demographic, clinical and neurological characterization will be made, as well as markers of genomic instability and cancer risk in the target population.
Expected results: The study will provide knowledge to characterize the current situation of this problem, establishing the possible relationship between the levels of pesticides and heavy metals with health effects and will be of great impact because the country does not have this type of information. With the findings of this research, prevention measures can be implemented from the first level and later on it is possible to influence the elaboration of epidemiological surveillance programmes that address this problem at a national level.

Short titleExposición a mezclas de contaminantes ambientales
Effective start/end date1/2/208/31/23

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Main Funding Source

  • National


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