South American mummies were victims of arsenic poisoning

Published on July 8th, 2009 | by Admin


New research suggests that a lot of the ancient mummies from the South American Chinchorro culture were victims of arsenic poisoning.

“I was reading a Chilean newspaper that talked about pollution and it had a map of arsenic and lead pollution, and it said arsenic caused abortions. I jumped in my seat and said, That’s it,” Arriaza said.

Following the lead, Arriaza collected 46 hair samples from Chinchorro excavated from 10 sites in northern Chile.

Ten samples from the Camarones river valley had an average of 37.8 microgrammes per gramme-much higher than one to 10 microgramme of arsenic per gramme that indicates chronic toxicity according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

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