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Urinary mercury in adults in Poland living near a chloralkali plant.

Journal article
Authors Dorota Jarosinska
Lars Barregård
Marek Biesiada
Maja Muszynska-Graca
Beata Dabkowska
Bruce Denby
Joseph Pacyna
Janina Fudala
Urszula Zielonka
Published in The Science of the total environment
Volume 368
Issue 1
Pages 335-43
ISSN 0048-9697
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 335-43
Language en
Keywords Adult, Air Pollutants, analysis, urine, Chemical Industry, Dental Amalgam, Environmental Monitoring, Female, Humans, Industrial Waste, Male, Mercury, analysis, urine, Poland
Subject categories Toxicology


We conducted a study within the framework of the interdisciplinary European Mercury Emission from Chloralkali Plants (EMECAP) project to assess exposure to mercury (Hg) and the contribution of Hg emissions from a mercury cell chloralkali plant to urinary mercury (U-Hg) in adults living near the plant. We collected data from questionnaires and first morning urine samples from 75 subjects living near the Tarnow plant in Poland and 100 subjects living in a reference area. Median U-Hg was 0.32 mug/g creatinine (microg/gC) and 0.20 microg/gC, respectively. The median U-Hg was also higher in the amalgam-free subjects living near the plant (0.26 microg/gC) than in the reference group (0.18 microg/gC), but no such association was found in a multivariate analysis. There was a statistically significant positive association between U-Hg and number of teeth with amalgams, a negative association with age and a tendency towards higher U-Hg in female subjects. In the amalgam-free subjects there were statistically significant effects of female sex and fish consumption, and a negative association with age. The additional long-term average air Hg concentration from the plant, based on EMECAP environmental measurements and modelling, was estimated to be 1-3.5 ng/m(3) for the residential study area and should have a very small effect on U-Hg. The other Hg emission sources such as coal combustion facilities located nearby should be taken into account in assessing the overall impact of air Hg on U-Hg in this area.

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