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Methylmercury and inorganic mercury in serum--correlation to fish consumption and dental amalgam in a cohort of women born in 1922

Journal article
Authors IA Bergdahl
Andrejs Schütz
M Ahlqwist
Calle Bengtsson
L Lapidus
Lauren Lissner
Bodil Hultén
Published in Environmental research
Volume 77
Pages 20-24
Publication year 1998
Published at Institute of Community Medicine, Dept of Primary Health Care
Institute of Internal Medicine, Dept of Clinical Nutrition
Pages 20-24
Language en
Subject categories Public health medicine research areas


Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University, Sweden. Methylmercury in serum (S-MeHg) was assessed from serum concentrations of total (S-TotHg) and inorganic mercury (S-InoHg), determined by cold vapor-atomic absorption spectrometry. The samples were collected from 135 women on two occasions, in 1968-1969 and 1980-1981. In a subgroup of 29 women, an association was found between S-MeHg and the amount of fish consumed in 1968-1969 (r = 0.38, P = 0.04). The association was stronger (r = 0.50; P = 0.006) when the individuals' mean S-MeHg from 1968-1969 and 1980-1981 were plotted vs fish consumption 1968-1969. In the group, as a whole, there was an association between S-InoHg and number of dental amalgam surfaces, in both 1968-1969 (r = 0.48, P = 0.0001) and 1980-1981 (r = 0.57, P < 0.0001). The S-InoHg increased by approximately 0.1 nmol/L per amalgam tooth surface, corresponding to an uptake of approximately 0.2 microgram/day per amalgam surface, but with considerable interindividual differences. The levels were lower in 1980-1981 than in 1968-1969 for both MeHg and InoHg. The medians and ranges (nmol/L) were for MeHg 1968-1969: 3.6 (0.3-11.9); MeHg 1980-1981, 2.0 (-0.4-8.7); InoHg 1968-1969, 3.3 (0.7-11.8); InoHg 1980-1981, 1.7 (0.1-11.8); TotHg 1968-1969, 7.2 (1.9-18.8); and TotHg 1980-1981, 3.9 (1.0-14.2). The decrease in S-MeHg is probably due to a decreased consumption of MeHg via contaminated fish. The decrease in S-InoHg may reflect a decrease in environmental exposure, but the possibility of contamination of the 1968-1969 samples at sampling and/or storage cannot be excluded. PMID: 9593624 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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