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CyanideMine:  Cyanide, Pollution and the Environmental Impact

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Cyanide and Science

Your web source for reliable technical information about cyanide

Welcome to CyanideMine, the portal for technical information about cyanide and its use in gold extraction, as well as its impact on the environment.

This site replaced the Cyantists.com website, which originally belonged to Dr. Terry Mudder and his colleagues. Thank you for your continued support of this website. Please provide comments to help us make the site even better in the future. You can contact us at technology@infomine.com


Karen Hagelstein has twenty-five years of consulting experience in industrial hygiene, environmental science and engineering, and is currently a partner of TIMES LIMITED for more than a decade. She received her B.S. in biology from the University of South Dakota, a M.S. in environmental physiology and biophysics, and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from University of Iowa, Iowa City in 1982. Since 1989, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene requirements for Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) in comprehensive practice has been maintained. In academia she has served as a assistance professor and program manager at both public and private education institutions. Dr. Hagelstein’s projects have included human health assessments and air quality monitoring at numerous schools, office buildings, homes, hazardous waste sites, print shops, power plants, hospital, airport, welding shops, recycling facility, and manufacturing plants for guitars, recreational equipment, and particle-boards.

Airborne health hazards including particulates, asbestos, volatile organic compounds, metals, pesticides, bio-aerosols, radon, and combustion products have been monitored and methods to control exposures recommended. Air dispersion models have been applied to stationary and fugitive sources at sand and gravel operations, generators at a Russian mining site, and a coal de-watering facility to estimate ambient air concentrations during different operational conditions. Expert witness reports and testimonies have been provided concerning occupational health regulations, air dispersion modeling applications, the health impacts of sewage-contaminated homes, and the toxicological implications of thermo-fogging agents, fire/combustion products, organic wastes, heavy metals, and welding exposures. All the USA environmental and occupational health regulations applicable to the fate of selenium in secondary aluminum processing are currently being assessed.

Several projects and publications have focused on the environmental significance of cyanide and its derivatives. The ecological and toxicological properties of cyanide with respect to terrestrial, aquatic, and wildfowl exposures was assimilated, published, and presented for a mining conference in Perth, Western Australia. Specific strategies and standards for controlling bird mortalities at mining operations were also published and presented for the same conference in Perth. Dr. Hagelstein provided information to a New Zealand mining
company and a government-mandated Turkish contingency regarding community relations and environmental implications of cyanide use at a gold mine. The potential human dermal and ingested cyanide exposures have also been evaluated. Standard operating procedures and occupational health guidelines for the onsite storage, handling, and transport of cyanide were produced for an article in the Mining Journal Publication and for a booklet of the International Council on Metals and the Environment now ICMM headquartered in London.

In 2000, she was invited as a technical expert and participated in a multi-stakeholder conference in Paris directed toward development of an international code for the environmental management of cyanide in the gold mining industry sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). Human exposures to airborne cyanide compounds such as found tobacco smoke, fires, automobile exhaust, and mining activities as well as worker exposure controls, monitoring methods and environmental standards have been assimilated for training courses.

More recently, she has been involved with the promotion of cleaner technology initiatives related to the production of manganese in China and the recycling of aluminum and steel. Her work has focused on examining the impact of metal impurities such as selenium on the environment and worker health and safety at production facilities located in emerging economies in China and India.

Contact Information:
Dr. Karen Hagelstein
Sheridan, Wyoming, USA

E-mail: cyunara@gmail.com


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