• Manganese;
  • Mexico;
  • risk perception;
  • social participation

A series of investigations, using an ecosystem approach to human health, have been conducted in the Molango Mining District in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico. Given that risk perception plays a key role in the public response to environmental exposures, it is important to recognize the perceived health risks of manganese (Mn). The aim of this study was to analyse the Mn risk perception by describing the attitudes of adult residents toward their communities, assessing the importance they give to environmental problems, including Mn, and their recognition of the links established between Mn and health-illness-death. A quantitative study based on interviewer-administered questionnaires was conducted. A sample of 402 residents was randomly selected from six communities at different distances from the mines and/or Mn processing plants. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were used to identify Mn risk perception predictors. The results show that roughly 30% of the residents identified mining activities and the resultant pollution as their most important concern. This proportion is greater in communities that have processing plants within them. More than 70% perceive a high Mn pollution regionally, but this proportion decreases when the residents attribute the pollution to their home area. More than 20% of the adults interviewed associated Mn exposure with their own illness, mainly “lungs” and “sight.” Factors influencing Mn risk perception are community of residence, age group (41–60), and the report of having a chronic illness. The risk management plan for the mining district must take into account these differences to have a greater local impact.