Poisoned By The Gold Rush


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Gold is quickly becoming the new cocaine in Colombia. The precious metal is now the currency of choice for individuals and groups engaging in illicit trade in the South American country. That’s because unlike cocaine, it’s perfectly legal to carry gold, and unlike money, it’s virtually untraceable. But there are some major side-effects of Colombia’s new gold rush that locals are curiously quiet about: erectile dysfunction and brain damage.

VICE News correspondent Monica Villamizar travelled to the Antioquia, Colombia, a hotbed of illegal gold mining, to investigate an unprecedented surge in impotence and neurological problems that experts are attributing to mercury, an essential gold-digging element.

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45 thoughts on “Poisoned By The Gold Rush

  1. these people should all be eating silica rich foods on the daily and many times a day.theres hope for even those who got exposed .im not sure what grows down there that would have a high silica content.maybe seaweed?

  2. They can kill themselves. No problem there. But, contaminating the whole country, future generations and other living creatures falls under crimes against humanity.

  3. All that sickness for people looking for gold plus millions who depend on the water going downstream, plus all of the animals and nature I think that's a huge price to pay since they only get a fraction of money for the gold they find.

  4. All that work, all that mercury, all that suffering, sweat and toil, for specks of gold in a pan.

    I can't believe it's considered profitable to turn over ton upon ton of soil for specks of gold the size of a grain of salt.

  5. Mercury isn't poisonous when just touching the skin. It has to get into a broken piece of the skin to do any harm. So these people have to have absorbed it, let it evaporate into them, or just not cared enough to change a finger a day.

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