Methylmercury Exposure and Health Effects in Humans: A Worldwide Concern

Department of Biological Sciences, Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Québec, Montreal, Canada.
AMBIO A Journal of the Human Environment (Impact Factor: 2.97). 03/2007; 36(1):3-11. DOI: 10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[3:MEAHEI]2.0.CO;2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The paper builds on existing literature, highlighting current understanding and identifying unresolved issues about MeHg exposure, health effects, and risk assessment, and concludes with a consensus statement. Methylmercury is a potent toxin, bioaccumulated and concentrated through the aquatic food chain, placing at risk people, throughout the globe and across the socioeconomic spectrum, who consume predatory fish or for whom fish is a dietary mainstay. Methylmercury developmental neurotoxicity has constituted the basis for risk assessments and public health policies. Despite gaps in our knowledge on new bioindicators of exposure, factors that influence MeHg uptake and toxicity, toxicokinetics, neurologic and cardiovascular effects in adult populations, and the nutritional benefits and risks from the large number of marine and freshwater fish and fish-eating species, the panel concluded that to preserve human health, all efforts need to be made to reduce and eliminate sources of exposure.

Download full-text


Available from: Mineshi Sakamoto, Sep 02, 2015
  • Source
    • "One such ecosystem in which this is the case is the South River (Waynesboro, VA, USA). Mercury contamination from industrial activities occurred in the South River during the first half of the twentieth century (Carter 1977), and the potential for impacts on wildlife and recreational river use remains (Mergler et al. 2007). For instance, Hg biomagnification in the river food web results in high Responsible editor: Sabine Elisabeth Apitz Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11368-015-1100-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose Mercury (Hg) released into the environment often accumulates to high concentrations in sediments, creating a potential risk to aquatic wildlife. The in situ application of sorbents such as activated carbon is one promising option for reducing the bioavailability of sediment-bound Hg. Materials and methods The present study evaluates the influence of contact time of two sorbents (Sedimite® and Cowboy® biochar) applied to sediment taken downstream and upstream of a historic Hg discharge into the South River (Virginia, USA) on bioaccumulation in and detrital processing by Hyalella azteca. Results and discussion Hg bioaccumulation decreased when sediments were mixed with both sorbents, but their respective efficiency depended on their initial particle size and contact time. Hyalella showed a slight increase in detrital processing and substantial increase in Hg bioaccumulation when exposed to contaminated relative to uncontaminated sediment. Sedimite® adversely affected detrital processing but reduced Hg bioaccumulation. In contrast, Cowboy® biochar did not impact detrital processing but appeared to decrease bioaccumulation less effectively than Sedimite®. This difference in sorbent efficacy lessened with duration. It remains unclear whether the Sedimite®-induced reduction in detrital processing is substantially worse than that associated with natural fines settling on detritus in depositional reaches of rivers. Conclusions The differences in efficacy of the two materials in reducing bioavailability suggest the need for further studies addressing both the mechanisms causing the reduction in Hg bioavailability as well as associated ecological risks prior to field application of these materials at the larger scale.
    Journal of Soils and Sediments 05/2015; 15(5). DOI:10.1007/s11368-015-1100-z · 2.11 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Owning to its gaseous existence and long retention time in the atmosphere, Hg can be widely dispersed and transported over thousands of kilometers affecting oceanic and terrestrial environments in remote areas (Fitzgerald et al. 1998). Among diverse terrestrial ecosystems, lakes act as sentinels and integrators for environmental variations in their watersheds and airsheds and beyond (Schindler 2009) and represent important habitats for fish that can accumulate Hg to hazardous levels for human consumption (Mergler et al. 2007). Therefore, there is increasing attention being paid to Hg distribution, transformation, and bioaccumulation as well as their environmental implications in lake ecosystems all over the world. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mercury (Hg) in aquatic ecosystems is of great concern due to its toxicity, bioaccumulation, and magnification in the food web. The Tibetan Plateau (TP) is endowed with the highest and largest lakes on earth, whereas Hg distribution and behavior in lake waters are least known. In this study, surface water samples from 38 lakes over the TP were collected and determined for the total Hg (THg) concentrations. Results revealed a wide range of THg concentrations from <1 ng to 40.3 ng L(-1). THg in lake waters exhibited an increasing trend along the southeast to northwest transect over the TP. Strong positive correlations were observed between THg concentrations and salinity and salinity-related environmental variables, especially for total dissolved solids (TDS) and some of the major ions such as Na(+), K(+), and Cl(-), suggesting the enrichment of Hg in saline lakes. The large-scale geographical pattern of climatic and environmental factors shows a decreasing precipitation and an increasing evaporation northwards and westwards and thereby induces gradient-enhanced enrichment of soluble substances in lake waters, which are likely to complex more Hg in northwestern TP. Our study provides the first comprehensive baseline data set of Hg in Tibetan lake waters and highlights the concurrent high Hg and salinity, representing valuable references and fundamental rules in further understanding the behavior and fate of Hg in lakes over the TP and perhaps high-altitude regions beyond.
    Environmental Science and Pollution Research 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11356-015-4498-3 · 2.76 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Histamine is biogenic amines naturally present in various living organisms, and responsible for many physiological and pathophysiological functions. The high histamine level is most frequently present in the fish and fishery products especially in family Scombroidae fish and their accumulation is related to bacterial spoilage (Donna et al., 2007). Thus, mainly histamine, but also other biogenic amines, has been used as a marker to evaluate fish freshness. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study was conducted to investigate the effect of storage temperatures on the shelf life of yellowfin tuna (YFT) loins by studying of microbial, chemical and organoleptic changes. Shelf life of YFT was determined through changes in total aerobic bacterial plate counts (APC), total volatile basic nitrogen (TVB-N) trimethylamine (TMA), organoleptic properties and histamine development during storage at 0, 4 and 7°C. Based on TVB-N value indices, YFT maintained an acceptable shelf life for 21, 17 and 12 days at 0, 4 and 7°C, respectively. Nevertheless, YFT was rejected earlier by the sensory panellists than their TVB-N value indicated. Histamine development was found to be lower than the European Union safety level for 100 mg/kg fish during storage at 0 and 7°C for 21 and 17 days, respectively. Aerobic bacteria initially dominated the micro-flora on YFT; however, as storage time increased, aerobic bacteria became dominant at cold storage, but the numbers exceeded the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) limit of 107 cfu/g in storage at 7°C after 17 days. Therefore, it can be concluded that the storage of fresh YFT in below 4°C has good enough to the shelf life of products (two weeks).
    04/2015; 1(1). DOI:10.1080/23311932.2015.1028735
Show more