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Inorganic Mercury Level in US Women increases

(08.09.2009)


Background:
Mercury is a neurotoxin with organic mercury, particularly methylmercury being more toxic than inorganic mercury.

Adults, children and developing fetuses are at risk from ingestion or exposure to mercury.  Mothers with high levels of mercury may give birth to infants with severe disabilities.  Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxicity.

Organic mercury like methylmercury mostly comes from fish tainted with the toxic chemical and other sources like vaccines (containing Thimerosal also called Thiomersal) .  Inorganic mercury mostly comes from coal-burning power plants, waste incinerators, cement killns and other sources like dental filings.

Due to the biotransformations of mercury forms (both elemental and organic) within the human body, blood inorganic mercury (i-Hg) may be the most fitting bioindicator of chronic
mercury exposure, organ deposition, and toxic effect.

The new study:

For the study, Dan Laks from Mental Retardation Research Center, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA examined data from 6,174 women aged 18 to 49 participating in the NHANES study from 1999 to 2006.

Laks found not only that the rate of mercury detection increased from 2 percent in 1999-2000 to 30 percent in 2005 to 2006, but also that the average level of inorganic mercury in the same population rose from 0.33 to 0.39 µ/L.

Furthermore, the study published recently on-line in the Journal BioMetals revealed significant associations of both I-Hg  detection and mean concentration with biomarkers  for the main targets of mercury deposition and effect:  the liver, immune system, and pituitary. These results provide compelling evidence that I-Hg deposition  within the human body is a cumulative process, increasing with age and in the population over time, since 1999, as a result of chronic mercury exposure.


The new study

Dan R. Laks, Assessment of chronic mercury exposure within the U.S. population, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2006, BioMetals, ahead of print, 2009. doi: 10.1007/s10534-009-9261-0


Related studies:

Kathryn R. Mahaffey, Robert P. Clickner, Rebecca A. Jeffries, Adult Women's Blood Mercury Concentrations Vary Regionally in the United States: Association with Patterns of Fish Consumption (NHANES 1999-2004), Environ. Health Perspect., 117/1 (2009) 47-53. doi:10.1289/ehp.11674

Esben Budtz-Jorgensen, Philippe Grandjean, Poul J. Jorgensen, Pál Weihe, Niels Keiding, Association between mercury concentrations in blood and hair in methylmercury-exposed subjects at different ages, Environ. Res. (U.S.A), 95 (2004) 385-393. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2003.11.001

  Kathryn R. Mahaffey, Robert P. Clickner, Catherine C. Bodurow, Blood Organic Mercury and Dietary Mercury Intake: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 and 2000, Environ. Health Perspect., 112/5 (2004) 562-570. doi:10.1289/ehp.6587

Marie E. Vahter, N.K. Mottet, L. Friberg, L. Birger, D.D. Shen, T. Burbacher, Speciation of mercury in the primate blood and brain following long-term exposure to methylmercury, Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 124/2 (1994) 221-229. doi:10.1006/taap.1994.1026




 EVISA Resources

 EVISA Link Database: Environmental cycling of methylmercury
EVISA Link Database: Environmental cycling of inorganic mercury
 EVISA Link Database: Environmental pollution of methylmercury
EVISA Link Database: Environmental pollution of inorganic mercury
EVISA Link Database: Toxicity of mercury
 EVISA's Journal database: BioMetals


 Related News

EVISA News, August b21, 2009: USGS Study Reveals Mercury Contamination in Fish Nationwide

 EVISA News, June 17, 2009: 'Surprisingly High Levels' of Methylmercury Contamination found in Groundwater

 EVISA News, May 5, 2009: Ocean mercury on the rise

 EVISA News, February 11, 2009: Mercury in Fish is a Global Health Concern
 EVISA News, October 30, 2008: Precautionary approach to methylmercury needed
 EVISA News, March 11, 2007: Methylmercury contamination of fish warrants worldwide public warning
 EVISA News, October 9, 2006: Linking atmospheric mercury to methylmercury in fish
 EVISA News, September 23, 2006: Report Finds Mercury Contamination Permeates Wildlife Systems
 EVISA News, August 16, 2006: Mercury pollution threatens health worldwide, scientists say
 EVISA News, February 9, 2006: Study show high levels of mercury in women related to fish consumption
 EVISA News, September 13, 2005: Regulating Mercury Emissions from Power Plants: Will It Protect Our Health?
 EVISA News, August 29, 2005: Is methyl mercury limiting the delight of seafood ? - To answer this question is a challenge for elemental speciation analysis
 EVISA News, April 3, 2005: Dissension on the best way to fight mercury pollution
 EVISA News, March 20, 2005: New results on the distribution of mercury in the USA is fueling the discussion on the necessity of the reduction of its emission
 EVISA News, January 12, 2005: Number of fish meals is a good predictor for the mercury found in hair of environmental journalists
 EVISA News, April 27, 2004: FDA/EPA recommends pregnant women to restrict their fish consumption because of methylmercury content


last time modified: November 3, 2009





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