Plymouth study shows that former mining site could be a risk to public health

    Researchers have found potentially harmful arsenic levels in the Tamar Valley, which are more than 400 times than what's permitted

    A study by the University of Plymouth shows potentially harmful arsenic levels at a popular former mining works.

    Arsenic levels at a former mining site in the Tamar Valley are posing a health risk to employees and the public using the site, a new study suggests.

    The Devon Great Consols, part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site, was mined extensively in the 19th century for copper and arsenic.

    It has since been transformed into a public leisure facility following the construction or redevelopment of various trails, tracks and facilities for walking, cycling and field visits.

    However, new research by the University of Plymouth has shown some parts of the site contain arsenic levels more than 400 times that permitted for park-type soil within government guidelines.

    It also suggests that adults or children visiting the site repeatedly for periods of several hours could be putting their health at risk, either as a result of ingesting or inhaling the substance or it coming into contact with their skin.

    The study was carried out by academics and students from the University’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, which has conducted several projects over a number of years examining the presence of toxic substances in the public realm.

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