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William Kuang-Yao Pan

Elizabeth Brooks Reid and Whitelaw Reid Associate Professor
Environmental Sciences and Policy
90519, 310 Trent Drive, Rm 227, Durham, NC 27708
310 Trent Drive, Room 227, Box 90519, Durham, NC 27708

Outreach & Engaged Scholarship


Bass Connections Team Leader - Impacts of Artisanal Gold Mining on Humans and the Environment · 2023 - 2024 Projects & Field Work flag Ecuador
Bass Connections Team Leader - Field Testing a Mercury Capture System for Artisanal Gold Mining · 2021 - 2022 Projects & Field Work flag Peru Energy & Environment located in Peru & Colombia
Bass Connections Team Leader - Health and Well-being Associated with Small-scale Gold Mining in Amansie West District, Ghana · 2019 - 2020 Projects & Field Work flag Ghana Global Health
Bass Connections Faculty Team Leader - Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Impacts of Artisanal Gold Mining in the Peruvian Amazon · 2018 - 2019 Projects & Field Work flag Peru

Primary Theme: Energy & Environment

In 2013, Bass Connections helped launch one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of mercury exposure due to artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) anywhere on the planet, in Madre de Dios, Peru. ASGM is the largest source of global mercury (Hg) pollution and the leading cause of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. ASGM emits large amounts of Hg directly into atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems via burning of mercury-gold amalgams and disposal of mercury-laden tailings. Hg is a potent neurotoxin that impacts human and wildlife health. When Hg enters aquatic systems, it is transported downstream, and the concentration of Hg near mining and downstream should be higher than in upstream areas. However, Duke research in Madre de Dios suggests that average hair Hg concentrations (a standard biomarker of total Hg exposure) in communities more than 150 km upstream of ASGM are 115% that of mining communities and 145% that of downstream communities. These high concentrations upstream of ASGM are also apparent in top predators, as one study has shown elevated mercury concentrations in giant otters (a protected species) within Manu National Park in Peru. There are several viable hypotheses that could explain why human and wildlife mercury levels are high in a region that is otherwise physically, socially and economically disconnected from ASGM. These include fish migration, atmospheric deposition and land use/land cover change. Deforestation patterns due to ASGM, oil exploration and agricultural expansion may underlie many of these hypotheses, and, if true, forest conservation near ASGM could be crucial to protecting human and wildlife populations from high mercury concentrations and the resultant toxic impacts. Unfortunately, little is known about the influence of forest cover on mercury cycling.

Bass Connections Faculty Team Member - Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Impact of an Oil Spill in the Peruvian Amazon · August 2017 - May 2018 Projects & Field Work flag Peru
Bass Connections Team Leader - Impacts of Artisanal Gold Mining on Humans and the Environment · 2023 - 2024 Projects & Field Work flag Ecuador
Bass Connections Team Leader - Field Testing a Mercury Capture System for Artisanal Gold Mining · 2021 - 2022 Projects & Field Work flag Peru Energy & Environment located in Peru & Colombia
Bass Connections Team Leader - Health and Well-being Associated with Small-scale Gold Mining in Amansie West District, Ghana · 2019 - 2020 Projects & Field Work flag Ghana Global Health
Bass Connections Faculty Team Leader - Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Impacts of Artisanal Gold Mining in the Peruvian Amazon · 2018 - 2019 Projects & Field Work flag Peru

Primary Theme: Energy & Environment

In 2013, Bass Connections helped launch one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of mercury exposure due to artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) anywhere on the planet, in Madre de Dios, Peru. ASGM is the largest source of global mercury (Hg) pollution and the leading cause of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. ASGM emits large amounts of Hg directly into atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems via burning of mercury-gold amalgams and disposal of mercury-laden tailings. Hg is a potent neurotoxin that impacts human and wildlife health. When Hg enters aquatic systems, it is transported downstream, and the concentration of Hg near mining and downstream should be higher than in upstream areas. However, Duke research in Madre de Dios suggests that average hair Hg concentrations (a standard biomarker of total Hg exposure) in communities more than 150 km upstream of ASGM are 115% that of mining communities and 145% that of downstream communities. These high concentrations upstream of ASGM are also apparent in top predators, as one study has shown elevated mercury concentrations in giant otters (a protected species) within Manu National Park in Peru. There are several viable hypotheses that could explain why human and wildlife mercury levels are high in a region that is otherwise physically, socially and economically disconnected from ASGM. These include fish migration, atmospheric deposition and land use/land cover change. Deforestation patterns due to ASGM, oil exploration and agricultural expansion may underlie many of these hypotheses, and, if true, forest conservation near ASGM could be crucial to protecting human and wildlife populations from high mercury concentrations and the resultant toxic impacts. Unfortunately, little is known about the influence of forest cover on mercury cycling.

Bass Connections Faculty Team Member - Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Impact of an Oil Spill in the Peruvian Amazon · August 2017 - May 2018 Projects & Field Work flag Peru
Bass Connections Faculty Team Member - Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Research and Policy Development to Reduce Chemical Exposures · August 2016 - May 2017 Projects & Field Work flag Ecuador
Duke Global Health Outreach - Impact of El Nino on Environmental Mercury and Human Exposure · April 2016 Research flag Peru
Bass Connections Faculty Team Member - Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Leishmania · August 2015 - May 2016 Projects & Field Work flag Peru
Duke Global Health Outreach - Development of a Detection and Early Warning System for Malaria Risk in the Amazon · January 2015 Projects & Field Work , Peru flag South America
Duke Global Health Outreach - An Early Warning System for Vector-borne Disease Risk in the Amazon · November 2014 Research flag Peru
Bass Connections Faculty Team Member - Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America · August 2014 - May 2015 Projects & Field Work flag Peru
Duke Global Health Outreach - Amarakaeri Reserve Health Impact Assessment · January 2014 Research flag Peru
Bass Connections Faculty Team Member - Environmental Epidemiology Research Training in the Peruvian Amazon · August 2013 - May 2014 Projects & Field Work flag Peru
Bass Connections Faculty Team Member - Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America · August 2013 - July 2014 Projects & Field Work flag Peru
Duke Global Health Outreach - LUCIA; Land Use, Climate and Infections in Western Amazonian · November 2012 Research flag Brazil
Duke Global Health Outreach - Causes and Interventions for Childhood Obesity: Innovative Systems Analysis · July 2012 Research flag United States of America
Duke Global Health Outreach - Effects of Social Contest, Culture and Minority Status on Depression and Anxiety · July 2012 Research , Puerto Rico flag United States of America