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Are blood, urine, hair, and muscle valid biomonitors for the internal burden of men with the heavy metals mercury, lead and cadmium? An investigation on 150 deceased

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Abstract

To determine the interpretation potential of blood, urine, hair, and muscle concentration for monitoring the internal burden of men with mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), and cadmium (Cd) from 150 deceased samples of these biomonitors and from the target and storage tissues (cerebrum, cerebellum, kidney, liver, pelvic bone, temporal bone) were taken at autopsy. In no case was a special (e.g. occupational burden) known. The heavy metal concentrations were determined by AAS, and the results correlated. It was concluded, that for the so-called normal population the interpretation potential of heavy metal concentrations in blood, urine, hair, and muscle must be qualified: on a group basis, they can provide us with some useful information under the limitation that not every monitor is suitable for every metal (for instance hair not for Cd or Pb). But despite statistical significant rank correlation, in any case the confidence intervals of the regressions are so large that it is rather pointless to conclude the heavy metal burden of the target or storage tissue of an individual from the concentration in blood, muscle, urine, or hair. In comparison to the poor correlation of Cd, Pb, and Hg between hair and tissue the strong correlation of Hg in hair and brain (cerebrum as cerebellum) is striking. This may be explained by the high lipophily of elemental Hg vapor and short-chain Hg alkyl compounds: it is known that lipophilic compounds penetrate as quickly in the brain as in the root of the hair. But this mechanism may also explain why for Hg in the kidney, as for Cd and Pb in all tissues under investigation, hair cannot be an appropriate biomonitor: because in these cases the metals are taken up in the tissues as hydrophile ions or complexes.

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... People with more than 8 amalgam fillings have on average 320 ng Hg/ g in their kidney tissues compared to 70 ng Hg/ g in the kidneys of individuals without amalgam (Drasch et al 1997). ...
... It has been shown in experiments with animals and men that in spite of normal or low mercury levels in blood, hair and urine, high mercury levels are found in critical tissues like brain and kidney (Danscher et al., 1990;Drasch, 1997;Hahn et al. 1989, Hargeaves et al., 1988Holmes et al., 2003;Lorscheider et al., 1995;Opitz et al., 1996;Vimy et al., 1990;Weiner & Nylander, 1993). ...
... On the other hand, subjects with high urine levels of mercury (above 2ng/ml) had only 150 ng mercury per g in their kidney tissues. (Drasch et al, 1997). ...
... s correlation is statistically significant and good enough to mirror Ž different burdens of different groups here, . e.g. workers and non-workers . However, the inter-indi¨idual differences are so large that it is rather pointless to conclude the heavy metal burden in the target tissue of an individual from the concentration in the biomonitors Ž . Drasch et al., 1997 . ⅷ From the situation in Diwalwal a mixed burden with se¨eral mercury species must be assumed: for instance, on Mt. Diwata a combi-Ž . nation of mercury vapor in the air , inorganic Ž . mercury in the soil and probably in addition methyl-mercury from local fish, caught in the Monkayo region. The toxicological effects and potentials of thes ...
... Concentration of total mercury in blood, urine and hair of all participants Literature for comparison:Drasch et al. 1997 . ...
Article
The region of Diwalwal, dominated by Mt. Diwata, is a gold rush area on Mindanao (Philippines) where approximately 15000 people live. The fertile plain of Monkayo is situated downstream, where people grow crops such as rice and bananas; locally caught fish is eaten frequently. The ore is dug in small-scale mines and ground to a powder by ball-mills while still in Diwalwal. The gold is then extracted by adding liquid mercury (Hg), forming gold-amalgam. To separate the gold from the Hg, in most cases the amalgam is simply heated in the open by blow-torches. A high external Hg burden of the local population must be assumed. To evaluate the internal Hg burden of the population and the extent of possible negative health effects, 323 volunteers from Mt. Diwalwal, Monkayo and a control group from Davao were examined by a questionnaire, neurological examination and neuro-psychological testing. Blood, urine and hair samples were taken from each participant and analyzed for total Hg. A statistical evaluation was possible for 102 workers (occupationally Hg burdened ball-millers and amalgam-smelters), 63 other inhabitants from Mt. Diwata ('only' exposed from the environment), 100 persons, living downstream in Monkayo, and 42 inhabitants of Davao (serving as controls). The large volume of data was reduced to yes/no decisions. Alcohol as a possible bias factor was excluded (level of alcohol consumption and type, see Section 4.4). Each factor with a statistically significant difference of at least one exposed group to the control group was included in a medical score (0-21 points). In each of the exposed groups this score was significantly worse than in the control group (median control, 3; downstream, 9; Mt. Diwata, non-occupational exposed, 6; Hg workers, 10). In comparison to the surprisingly high Hg concentration in blood (median, 9.0 microg/l; max, 31.3) and in hair (2.65 microg/g; max, 34.7) of the control group, only the workers show elevated levels: Hg-blood median 11.4, max 107.6; Hg-hair median 3.62, max 37.8. The Hg urine concentrations of the occupational exposed and non-exposed population on Mt. Diwata was significantly higher than in the control group: control median 1.7 microg/l, max 7.6; non-occupational burdened median 4.1, max 76.4; and workers median 11.0, max 294.2. The participants, living downstream on the plain of Monkayo show no statistically significant difference in Hg-blood, Hg-urine or Hg-hair in comparison with the control group. The German Human-Biological-Monitoring value II (HBM II) was exceeded in 19.5% (control), 26.0% (downstream), 19.4% (Mt. Diwata, non-occupational) and 55.4% (workers) of the cases, the German occupational threshold limit in 19.6% of the workers. Only some of the clinical data, characteristic for Hg intoxication (e.g. tremor, loss of memory, bluish discoloration of the gingiva, etc.), correlate with Hg in blood or urine, but not with Hg in hair. The medical score sum correlates only with Hg in urine. The poor correlation between the Hg concentration in the biomonitors to classic clinical signs of chronic Hg intoxication may be explained by several factors: Hg in blood, urine and hair do not adequately monitor the Hg burden of the target tissues, especially the brain. Inter-individual differences in the sensitiveness to Hg are extremely large. In this area a mixed burden of Hg species must be assumed (Hg vapor, inorganic Hg, methyl-Hg). Chronic Hg burden may have established damage months or even years before the actual determination of the Hg concentrations in the bio-monitors under quite different burden was performed (Drasch G. Mercury. In: Seiler HG, Sigel A, Sigel H, editors. Handbook on metals in clinical and analytical chemistry. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1994:479-494). Therefore, a 'Hg intoxication', that should be treated, was not diagnosed by the Hg concentration in the bio-monitors alone, but by a balanced combination of these Hg values and the medical score sum. In principle, this means the higher the Hg concentration in the bio-monitors, the lower the number of characteristic adverse effects are required for a positive diagnosis. By this method, 0% of the controls, 38% downstream, 27% from Mt. Diwata, non-occupational exposed and 71.6% of the workers were classified as Hg intoxicated. A reduction of the external Hg burden on Mt. Diwata is urgently recommended. An attempt to treat the intoxicated participants with the chelating agent dimercaptopropanesulfonic acid (DMPS) is planned.
... La comparaison des concentrations moyennes de mercure dans différents pays indique que, globalement, les personnes résidant en France continentale ont des concentrations supérieures à celles observées en Allemagne [Pesch 2002 ;Drasch 1997] [Dunn 2008]), mais plus faibles que celles observées en Espagne [Batista 1996 ;Castaño 2008], en Suède [Bjornberg 2003 ;Johnsson 2004 ;] ou au Japon [Yasutake 2003] (tableau 42). Ces résultats traduisent la différence de consommation de poisson dans ces pays : les Allemands et les Américains consomment environ deux fois moins de poisson que les Français, alors que les Espagnols, les Suédois et les Japonais en sont de forts consommateurs [Batista 1996 ;CE, Task scoop 2002]. ...
... Tous les enfants de l'étude allemande, à l'exception de quatre d'entre eux, avaient des concentrations inférieures à 0,8 μg/g. En 1993-1994, des niveaux assez bas (0,25 μg/g) ont été également observés chez 150 Allemands décédés (16-93 ans) originaires de la région de Munich et faibles consommateurs de poisson [Drasch 1997]. ...
... An approx. 2-5-fold increase of mercury levels in blood and urine in living individuals with dental amalgam as well as a 2-12 fold increase in several body tissues was observed in deceased individuals with dental amalgam [2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]. Additionally, studies with animals have confirmed the fact that dental amalgam leads to significantly increased levels in the tissues [22][23][24][25][26][27][28]. ...
... It has been shown in experiments with animals and men that in spite of normal or low mercury levels in blood, hair and urine high mercury levels are found in critical tissues such as brain and kidney [7,13,20,22,25,28,46,63,64]. A recent study on deceased individuals confirm that there exists no correlation between inorganic mercury levels in urine or blood and mercury levels in brain tissues [37]. ...
Article
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It was claimed by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)) in a report to the EU-Commission that "....no risks of adverse systemic effects exist and the current use of dental amalgam does not pose a risk of systemic disease..." [1, available from: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_016.pdf]. SCENIHR disregarded the toxicology of mercury and did not include most important scientific studies in their review. But the real scientific data show that: (a) Dental amalgam is by far the main source of human total mercury body burden. This is proven by autopsy studies which found 2-12 times more mercury in body tissues of individuals with dental amalgam. Autopsy studies are the most valuable and most important studies for examining the amalgam-caused mercury body burden. (b) These autopsy studies have shown consistently that many individuals with amalgam have toxic levels of mercury in their brains or kidneys. (c) There is no correlation between mercury levels in blood or urine, and the levels in body tissues or the severity of clinical symptoms. SCENIHR only relied on levels in urine or blood. (d) The half-life of mercury in the brain can last from several years to decades, thus mercury accumulates over time of amalgam exposure in body tissues to toxic levels. However, SCENIHR state that the half-life of mercury in the body is only "20-90 days". (e) Mercury vapor is about ten times more toxic than lead on human neurons and with synergistic toxicity to other metals. (f) Most studies cited by SCENIHR which conclude that amalgam fillings are safe have severe methodical flaws.
... En ce qui concerne nos résultats, les concentrations obtenues sont généralement inférieures à celles publiées dans des études antérieures [8][9][10][11][12][13][14]. Compte tenu de la taille réduite de notre échantillon, il ne nous a pas été possible de différencier les deux sexes. ...
... En ce qui concerne le mercure, nos concentrations médianes sont proches de celles de Drasch et coll. [9], mais beaucoup plus faibles que celles rapportées par d'autres auteurs [8,18]. Dans un article récent, Björkman et coll. ...
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Objective: metal and metalloid determination in blood and urine is the most common application of biological monitoring for screening and diagnosis of these elements exposure. Hair and nail are of interest as a cumulative biomarker of long term exposure but they may be affected by exogenous contamination. Moreover, in some forensic cases, when blood and urine are not available it would be extremely useful to document metal distribution in deep tissues. Method: to obtain the usual values of 34 elements in the normal human body, the amounts of Li, Be, B, Al, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, Ge, As, Se, Rb, Sr, Mo, Pd, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, Te, Ba, La, Gd, W, Pt, Hg, Tl, Pb, Bi, U, were determined in 21 female and male human cadavers, whose ages ranged from 19 to 57 years. Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used for frozen autopsied human organs samples (brain, heart, kidney, liver, lung, and muscle). Five hundred milligrams of tissues were digested at 70°C with pure nitric acid and diluted (nitric acid, butanol, and triton) before analysis. Indium and Rhodium were used as internal standards. Chinese bovine liver certified material and hair reference material from the Canadian Institut national de santé publique were employed to ensure optimal quality of the analysis. As an application of this multi-elementary tissue determination, the results obtained from a liver biopsy are presented in a case of gadolinium nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (Gd-NSF). Results: linearity was excellent within a wide range with a slope higher than 0.999 for all the elements. Detection limits ranged from 8 pg/g for uranium to 30 ng/g for boron. The intra-assay and the inter-assay inaccuracies, measured as the variation coefficient were below 5 and 10 % respectively. All elements showed log-normal distribution. Distribution of numerous metals in the human body was almost as uniform as B, V, Ni. Very large quantities of Cd were found in the kidney. Metabolic organs contained the highest level of some elements as Mn, Mo. Concentration of Al was greatest in the lung, tissue exposed to the exterior. These results are discussed and compared to the limited literature data. As an application, in the first French Gd-NSF case we reported, the liver Gd content was 20,000 times higher than the normal concentration. For forensic toxicology, metal and metalloid tissue analyses are also of major interest in many circumstances to document death : body fluids not available, embalmed body. Conclusion: tissue ICP-MS multi-elementary determination is a very useful metal or metalloid biomarker with various forensic and clinical applications: criminal, occupational, environmental, domestic or medical exposure to these elements. Key words: ICP-MS, metals, metalloids, tissues.
... Forschungen der letzten Jahre an Tieren und Menschen zeigen, dass Personen, welche Amalgamfüllungen aufweisen oder aufwiesen, etwa um das 2-12-fach höhere Quecksilberkonzentrationen in ihren Körperorganen haben, als Personen, welche nie Amalgam hatten [Drasch et al. 1997;Lorscheider et al. 1995, WHO 1991, Übersicht bei Mutter et al. 2004a]. Somit kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass Amalgamfüllungen für einen Großteil der Bevölkerung die Hauptquecksilberquelle ist und etwa für 80% des Körperquecksilbers verantwortlich ist [Fischer 2004]. ...
... Somit kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass Amalgamfüllungen für einen Großteil der Bevölkerung die Hauptquecksilberquelle ist und etwa für 80% des Körperquecksilbers verantwortlich ist [Fischer 2004]. Die Quecksilberwerte im Blut, Urin, Speichel oder Haar spiegeln weder Quecksilberwerte in den Zielorganen oder das Ausmaß der klinischen Symptomatik bei quecksilberexponierten Personen wieder [Drasch et al. 1997[Drasch et al. , 2002Holmes et al. 2003;Lorscheider et al. 1995;Mutter et al. 2004a]. ...
... Forschungen der letzten Jahre an Tieren und Menschen zeigen, dass Personen, welche Amalgamfüllungen aufweisen oder aufwiesen, etwa um das 2-12-fach höhere Quecksilberkonzentrationen in ihren Körperorganen haben, als Personen, welche nie Amalgam hatten [Drasch et al. 1997;Lorscheider et al. 1995, WHO 1991, Übersicht bei Mutter et al. 2004a]. Somit kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass Amalgamfüllungen für einen Großteil der Bevölkerung die Hauptquecksilberquelle ist und etwa für 80% des Körperquecksilbers verantwortlich ist [Fischer 2004]. ...
... Somit kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass Amalgamfüllungen für einen Großteil der Bevölkerung die Hauptquecksilberquelle ist und etwa für 80% des Körperquecksilbers verantwortlich ist [Fischer 2004]. Die Quecksilberwerte im Blut, Urin, Speichel oder Haar spiegeln weder Quecksilberwerte in den Zielorganen oder das Ausmaß der klinischen Symptomatik bei quecksilberexponierten Personen wieder [Drasch et al. 1997[Drasch et al. , 2002Holmes et al. 2003;Lorscheider et al. 1995;Mutter et al. 2004a]. ...
... Consequently, the applicability of the earlier estimates of PbBone to current predictions of PbB using physiologically based models is problematic given the substantial decline in lead exposures over the past 15 years. For example, Drasch et al. (23,24,29,30) reported PbBone concentrations from cases coming to autopsy in Munich between the early 1970s and 1994. These comparisons are for subjects living in Environmental Health Perspectives * Vol 106, Supplement 6 * December 1998 the same geographic vicinity in Southern Germany. ...
... Between 1974 (29) and 1994 (30) trabecular PbBone decreased from 2.5 mg/kg (1974) to 1.7 mg/kg (1984) to 0.7 mg/kg (1994). Compact bone decreased from 5.5 mg/kg (1984) to 2.8 mg/kg (1994) (30). These series are for adults. ...
Article
Policy statements providing health and environmental criteria for blood lead (PbB) often give recommendations on an acceptable distribution of PbB concentrations. Such statements may recommend distributions of PbB concentrations including an upper range (e.g., maximum and/or 90th percentile values) and central tendency (e.g., mean and/or 50th percentile) of the PbB distribution. Two major, and fundamentally dissimilar, methods to predict the distribution of PbB are currently in use: statistical analyses of epidemiologic data, and application of biokinetic models to environmental lead measurements to predict PbB. Although biokinetic models may include a parameter to predict contribution of lead from bone (PbBone), contemporary data based on chemical analyses of pediatric bone samples are rare. Dramatic decreases in environmental lead exposures over the past 15 years make questionable use of earlier data on PbBone concentrations to estimate a contribution of lead from bone; often used by physiologic modelers to predict PbB. X-ray fluorescent techniques estimating PbBone typically have an instrument-based quantitation limit that is too high for use with many young children. While these quantitation limits have improved during the late 1990s, PbBone estimates using an epidemiologic approach to describing these limits for general populations of children may generate values lower than the instrument's quantitation limit. Additional problems that occur if predicting PbB from environmental lead by biokinetic modeling include a) uncertainty regarding the fractional lead absorption by young children; b) questions of bioavailability of specific environmental sources of lead; and c) variability in fractional absorption values over a range of exposures. Additional sources of variability in lead exposures that affect predictions of PbB from models include differences in the prevalence of such child behaviors as intensity of hand-to-mouth activity and pica. In contrast with these sources of uncertainty and variability affecting physiologic modeling of PbB distributions, epidemiologic data reporting PbB values obtained by chemical analyses of blood samples avoid these problems but raise other issues about the validity of the representation of the subsample for the overall population of concern. State and local health department screening programs and/or medical evaluation of individual children provide PbB data that contribute to databases describing the impact of environmental sources on PbB. Overall, application of epidemiologic models involves fewer uncertainties and more readily reflects variability in PbB than does current state-of-the-art biokinetic modeling.
... Chronic MeHg exposure cannot be evaluated by urine biomarkers [4]; rather this type of exposure is often evaluated by quantifying total mercury (THg) content in hair, a wellestablished biomarker of MeHg burden in the brain-its primary target tissue [15,16]. This biomarker relies on the assumption that the majority of THg in the matrix is MeHg, and with hair growth rate of approximate 1 cm per month, the biomarker represents multiple months of exposure, depending of the hair length analyzed [13,[17][18][19]. ...
Article
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Total mercury content (THg) in hair is an accepted biomarker for chronic dietary methylmercury (MeHg) exposure. In artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) communities, the validity of this biomarker is questioned because of the potential for contamination from inorganic mercury. As mining communities may have both inorganic and organic mercury exposures, the efficacy of the hair-THg biomarker needs to be evaluated, particularly as nations begin population exposure assessments under their commitments to the Minamata Convention. We sought to validate the efficacy of hair THg for public health monitoring of MeHg exposures for populations living in ASGM communities. We quantified both THg and MeHg contents in hair from a representative subset of participants (N = 287) in a large, population-level mercury exposure assessment in the ASGM region in Madre de Dios (MDD), Peru. We compared population MeHg-THg correlations and %MeHg values with demographic variables including community location, sex, occupation, and nativity. We observed that hair MeHg-THg correlations were high (r > 0.7) for all communities, regardless of location or nativity. Specifically, for individuals within ASGM communities, 81% (121 of 150 total) had hair THg predominantly in the form of MeHg (i.e., >66% of THg) and reflective of dietary exposure to mercury. Furthermore, for individuals with hair THg exceeding the U.S. EPA threshold (1.0 μg/g), 88 out of 106 (83%) had MeHg as the predominant form. As a result, had urine THg solely been used for mercury exposure monitoring, approximately 59% of the ASGM population would have been misclassified as having low mercury exposure. Our results support the use of hair THg for monitoring of MeHg exposure of populations in ASGM settings where alternative biomarkers of MeHg exposure are not feasible.
... XXXX, XXX, 000-000 Environmental Science & Technology ARTICLE MMHg exposure is evaluated by total Hg concentration analysis in hair and/or blood. 7,8 If humans undergo Hg(0) exposure and dietary Hg(II) and MMHg intake, hair can contain IHg as well as MMHg. 9 Human Hg exposure in developed countries is predominantly due to consumption of marine food containing MMHg. ...
Article
We report mercury (Hg) mass-dependent isotope fractionation (MDF) and mass-independent isotope fractionation (MIF) in hair samples of the Bolivian Esse Ejjas native people and in several tropical fish species that constitute their daily diet. MDF with δ 202 Hg ranging from-0.40 to-0.92 ‰ for fish and +1.04 to +1.42 ‰ for hair was observed. Hair samples of native people with a fish-dominated diet are enriched by +2.0 (0.2 ‰ in δ 202 Hg relative to the fish consumed. Both odd Hg isotopes, 199 Hg and 201 Hg, display MIF in fish (from-0.14 to +0.38 ‰ for ∆ 201 Hg and from-0.09 to +0.55 ‰ for ∆ 199 Hg) and in hair (from +0.12 to +0.66 ‰ for ∆ 201 Hg and from +0.14 to +0.81 ‰ for ∆ 199 Hg). No significant difference in MIF anomalies is observed between Hg in fish and in human hair, suggesting that the anomalies act as conservative source tracers between upper trophic levels of the tropical food chain. Fish Hg MIF anomalies are 10-fold lower than those published for fish species from midlatitude lakes. Grouping all Amazonian fish species per location shows that ∆ 199 Hg: ∆ 201 Hg regression slopes for the clear water Itenez River basin (0.95 (0.08) are significantly lower than those for the white water Beni River basin (1.28 (0.12). Assuming that the observed MIF originates from aquatic photoreactions, we calculated limited photodemethylation of monomethylmercury (MMHg) in the Beni River floodplains and insignificant photodemethylation in the Itenez River floodplains. This is possibly related to lower residence times of MMHg in the Itenez compared to the Beni River floodplains. Finally, a significantly negative ∆ 201 Hg of-0.14 ‰ in Beni River fish suggests that the inorganic Hg precursor to the MMHg that bioaccumulates up the food chain defines an ecosystem specific non-zero ∆ 201 Hg baseline. Calculation of photodemethylation intensities from Hg or MMHg MIF, therefore, requires a baseline correction.
... Die Aussagekraft der Haaranalytik wird in der Literatur kontrovers diskutiert. Einige Autoren stellen sie in Frage (KRAUSE & CHUTSCH 1987, TAYLOR 1986, WANGHOFER 1997, DRASCH et al. 1997 ), andere messen ihr einen hohen Stellenwert bei (GRANDJEAN 1983, SKY-PECK & BETTY 1983, CHATT & KATZ 1988, HERRMANN et al. 1990, WILHELM & IDEL 1996). Da Schwermetallionen, die sich im Blut befinden, über die Haarpapille in die Haarmatrix eingebaut werden, bieten sich Haare als Untersuchungsmaterial an (RABINOWITZ et al. 1976, MARCUS 1985, STURARO et al. 1994, MENG 1998, ZARAGYNSKAFONTAINE et al. 1998) @BULLET Postmortale Veränderungen im Haar (GRANDJEAN & HOLMA 1973, DRASCH 1985, WALDRON 1988, GRUPE & PIEPENBRINK 1988, HERRMANN 1990, KNIEWALD et al. 1994). ...
Article
Wurden Heinrich Heine, Georg Büchner und Ludwig van Beethoven mit Blei vergiftet oder spiegeln die Konzentrationen, die in ihren Haaren nachgewiesen wurden, nur das in dieser Zeit "natürliche" anthropogen-ökologische Belastungsmaß wider? Die zentrale Frage der vorliegenden Arbeit lautet: Welchen Schwermetallbelastungen (Blei, Cadmium) waren die Menschen der vergangenen Jahrhunderte in ihrem Lebensraum (urban vs. rural) ausgesetzt ? Folgende Untersuchungsmaterialien wurden verwendet: "historische" Haar- und Knochenproben (14. - 19. Jh.); Kontrollproben (Haare und Knochen) aus dem Sektionsgut (1998 - 1999) des Institutes für Rechtsmedizin der Heinrich-Heine-Universität in Düsseldorf. Als Methode wurden die Voltammetrie eingesetzt. Folgende Ergebnisse stellten sich dar: In den "historischen" Haarproben aus den urbanen Siedlungsgebieten (Berlin, Braunschweig, Bordesholm und Rendsburg) sowie in der "historischen" Knochenprobe aus Braunschweig fanden wir stark erhöhte Bleikonzentrationen (70 - 320 µg/g). Demgegenüber konnten wir wesentlich niedrigere Bleikonzentrationen in den "historischen" Haar- und Knochenproben aus dem ruralen Siedlungsgebiet (Fürstenberg) nachweisen (Haare: 3,5 - 9,5 µg/g, Knochen: 4,3 - 17,4 µg/g). Die Bleibelastung der Kontrollproben aus dem Sektionsgut beträgt durchschnittlich 5,7 µg/g (1,8-12,4 µg/g) in den Haaren und 8,4 µg/g (2,2-14,1 µg/g) in den Knochen. Die Cadmiumkonzentrationen der "historischen" Proben sind mit denen der Kontrollproben aus dem Sektionsgut vergleichbar (Haare: 0,1 - 0,25 µg/g, Knochen 0,25 - 0,64 µg/g). Bis auf eine "historische" Haar- und Knochenprobe, die offenkundig mit Zink und Kupfer kontaminiert war (Braunschweig), liegen die Konzentrationen der Metalle Kupfer und Zink der "historischen" Proben sowie der Kontrollproben innerhalb des heute gültigen Grenzbereiches. Zusammenfassend kann man anhand der vorliegenden Ergebnisse sowie nach kritischem Studium der Literatur folgende Schlußfolgerungen ziehen: Anhand von "historischen" Haar- und Knochenproben konnte eine ca. 10fach höhere Bleibelastung urbaner Siedlungsgebiete (Berlin, Braunschweig, Bordesholm und Rendsburg) gegenüber einer der ruralen Region (Fürstenberg) nachgewiesen werden. Wir konnten erstmals das Schwermetall Cadmium in "historischen" Haar- und Knochenproben in einer der heutigen Zeit vergleichbaren Konzentration nachweisen. Mögliche Ursachen anthropogener Belastung insbesondere von Blei wurden diskutiert sowie Fehlerquellen (Kontamination, postmortale Veränderungen) berücksichtigt. Welche Auswirkungen erhöhte Bleiaufnahme auf die Menschen der vergangenen Jahrhunderte hatte, läßt sich derzeit nicht einschätzen. Möglicherweise trug sie zur Morbidität und Mortalität der betroffenen Bevölkerung mit bei.
... La semivida del plomo circulante es de unos 25 días, la del plomo de los tejidos blandos de unos 40 días y la del plomo depositado en los huesos puede ser de hasta 30 años. Por ello, el plomo en hueso puede ser utilizado para describir, en el tiempo, el contenido corporal del mismo [33]. ...
Article
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El plomo es un metal pesado caracterizado por ocasionar efectos tóxicos sobre el tracto gastrointestinal, sobre el sistema renal y sobre el SNC y periférico, así como interferencias con sistemas enzimáticos implicados en la síntesis del grupo hemo. A pesar de que en los últimos diez años, los contenidos de plomo de los productos alimenticios se han reducido sensiblemente gracias a los esfuerzos realizados para reducir la emisión de plomo en su origen y por los progresos en la garantía de calidad de los análisis químicos, la dieta sigue siendo una fuente importante de exposición de plomo. Es por ello que, el objetivo a largo plazo de las autoridades sanitarias es el de continuar reduciendo los contenidos medios de plomo en los productos alimenticios con el fin de que las ingestas medias dietéticas de Pb de las poblaciones cumplan con la PTWI (Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake) de 25 µg Pb/Kg/semana establecida por el Comité Mixto FAO/OMS
... Chemical elementosis, considered as environmental diseases, is caused by low (deficiency) or high (excess) intake of chemical elements. Therefore there is an increasing interest in monitoring chemical element contests in humans, not only in cases of known high special burden, but also for individuals of the so-called "normal population" [1]. Information on chemical elements of human tissues and of their body burdens may be useful for assessing nutrition and for prevention and control of various disease states caused by mineral or trace element imbalance. ...
... orrelation coefficients of several factors with the measured mercury content in hair was considered helpful for finding out to what extent these factors influence the accumulation of mercury in the hair of the subjects. The data are presented in theTable 3. The negative correlation between mercury content and body weight is also cited elsewhere Ž . Drasch, et al., 1997; WHO, 1990 . The correlation between mercury content and years of exposure for dental workers was also found to be Ž . significant P-0.05 . It means that the influence ...
Article
The mercury content in hair, for exposed dental workers and unexposed groups of people living in Albania was studied. The influence of factors such as age, sex, body weight, fish consumption in the diet, number of dental amalgam fillings and time exposed to mercury, was determined. The mean value of mercury content in hair for the subjects under study (0.705 microg/g) was found to be lower than the value referred from the World Health Organization (WHO) for people who do not consume fish with a high methylmercury content (1-2 microg/g). A significant positive correlation of Hg content with the number of dental amalgam fillings, time under exposure and frequency of fish consumption in the diet was found. These correlations became stronger when exposed and unexposed groups of people were evaluated separately.
... Therefore, the use of an appropriate biological marker (preferably non-invasive) as a surrogate tissue(hair)/fluid (blood) or an index of the concentration of THg in the brain must come from validating studies of mercury disposition in these compartments. Studies correlating THg in markers (hair or blood) and brain are rare [24][25][26][27][28]. ...
Article
Background Central nervous system tumors (CNSTs) represent the second most frequent form of malignant tumors in childhood and the second leading cause of death associated with neurological diseases, affecting individuals of all age groups. In adults, CNSTs are the sixth most common cause of death in patients with malignant tumors. Additionally, the brain is the most sensitive and studied organ for mercury (Hg) toxicity. Method We studied total Hg (THg) in tissue samples (of benign and malignant CNSTs) and explored its associations with THg in exposure markers (hair and blood) from 65 patients (40 females and 25 males) who underwent surgical treatment. Results No statistically significant differences were found in THg concentrations in brain tumors or in blood and hair from these patients (classified as malignant/benign or glioma/non-glioma); also, there were no statistically significant differences between males and females. However, statistically significant correlations were found between THg in CNSTs and in hair (rs = 0.4967; p= 0.0001) and in blood (rs = 0.4702; p=0.0058); but no significant correlations were found between THg in hair and blood (rs = 0.1229; p = 0.5332). In the Western Amazon, with endemic exposure to fish-methylmercury, these urban patients were low to moderate fish consumers; THg concentrations in blood (median: 0.645 µg.L⁻¹; range: 8.01 - 21.02 µg.L⁻¹; n= 56) and hair (median: 0.686 µg.g-¹; range: 0.01 - 10.02 µg.g⁻¹; n= 65) were relatively low, whereas THg levels in brain tumors (median: 8.194 ng.g⁻¹; range: <0.10 - 69.16 ng.g⁻¹; n= 65) were within range of published studies in brain autopsies. Additionally, no statistically significant correlations (p= 0.4828) were observed between frequency of fish consumption and THg in the brain. Conclusion Although no significant THg concentrations in the type of brain tumors (benign versus malignant) were found, the significantly positive correlation between markers of THg exposure (hair and blood) and THg in the brain tissues indicates its usefulness as a marker/proxy for brain-THg load. These findings confirm the value of using hair and blood as constructs of THg in the brain of exposed populations.
... Therefore there is an increasing interest in monitoring chemical element contests in humans, not only in cases of known high special burden, but also for individuals of the so-called "normal population". 1 Hair has many advantages for assessment over the more traditional kinds of medical objects such as blood and urine because of ease of collection, transport and storage. Also, trace element contents in hair samples represent an integrated response over time compared with blood and urine levels, which can rapidly fluctuate in response to variations of nutritional and environmental conditions. ...
Article
On the basis of available evidences, Li has an extraordinarily complex, multifactorial and strongly intercorelated role. As the safety margin between therapeutic and toxic Li doses is very small, its requirements must be accurately determined for the general population and subjects exposed to physical exertion, certain diseases, children, adolescent lactating mother, formula diets and in dialysis patients. Human head hair is a recording filament that can reflect metabolic changes of many elements over long periods of time and thus furnish a print-out of post nutritional events. However, there is a question of reliability of the "hair mineral test", and the scientific validity of the "body mineral status" estimation using the "hair mineral test" results. Therefore, we determined the normal levels and age-related changes of Li in the scalp hair of healthywomen andmen - residents of an uncontaminated area and checked correlations between Li contents in hair and rib-bone tissue. Comparison to bone wasmade because Li has a high affinity to this tissue. Contents of Li in intact scalp hair and rib-bone of 80 relatively healthy 15 - 58 years oldwomen (n = 38) and men (n = 42) were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Mean values (M ± SEM) for the mass fraction of Li (milligram per kilogram) in scalp hair of females, males, and females and males taken together were as follows: 0.0221 ± 0.0035, 0.0399 ± 0.0056, and 0.0317 ± 0.0036, respectively. A tendency for an increased Li mass fraction with age was observed in the scalp hair of females only. It was shown that lower Li content was typical of female scalp hair as compared to those in male hair. No clear correlation was found between the Li content in scalp hair and the rib-bone. The results obtained may serve as indicative normal values for the lithium content in human scalp hair.
... Number of pregnancy was also observed as non-significant on Hg concentrations which is similar to results obtained by Olivero-Verbel, et al. [32] such as lack of a significant association between hair mercury concentrations and number of dental amalgams. In the hair, Hg is mainly present as organic Hg, while in amalgam it is found as inorganic [33]. The frequency of fish consumption during pregnancy was the best predictor of the mercury concentration. ...
Article
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Abstract: This study investigated the level of mercury in hair samples of pregnant women and newborns living in marshes. Hair mercury concentration, as an indicator of mercury body load, was studied in 30 samples of indigenous women and newborns to assess the association between fish consumption and specific characteristics that can influence exposure. In January 2013, 40 pregnant women were invited to participate. An interview was administered and a questionnaire was used to collect information about age, body weight, height, fish (fresh) consumption, pregnancy stage, residence duration, education level, family income and number of dental amalgam fillings. The results showed that for hair total Hg concentration was 6.47 μg/g (6.47 ± 0.71 μg/g). About 5.9% of mothers had hair total Hg levels in excess of 14 μg/g. Maternal hair mercury was above the threshold level of WHO (World Health Organization) (5 μg/g). As expected, there was a clear increase in hair Hg with reported fresh fish consumption (p = 0.08). The highest mean in a group who consumed fish several times per week was 5.93 μg/g. Moreover, a significant effect of age and residential time on Hg in women’s hair was found such as the older women.
... Results obtained confirmed hair samples as satisfactory biopsy materials for heavy metals determination. It is known that heavy metals penetrate in the brain as quickly as in the root of the hair [22]. Furthermore, a positive correlation between total mercury concentrations in hair and blood has been found [6] justifying the use of hair as an indicator of the exposure of the body to mercury [23]. ...
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A number of ninety-six hair samples from Sicilian fishermen were examined for total mercury detection by an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) method. The mercury levels obtained were compared with mercury levels of 96 hair samples from a control group, in order to assess potential exposure to heavy metals of Sicilian fishermen due to fish consumption and closeness to industrial activities. Furthermore, the mercury levels obtained from hair samples were sorted by sampling area in order to verify the possible risks linked to the different locations. The overall mean concentration in the hair of the population of fishermen was 6.45 ± 7.03 μ g g −1 , with a highest value in a fisherman of Sciacca (16.48 μ g g −1 ). Hair mercury concentration in fishermen group was significantly higher than in control group ( p < 0.01 ). There was no significant difference in hair total mercury concentrations between sampling areas ( p > 0.05 ). The results of this study indicate a greater risk of exposure to mercury in Sicilian fishermen, in comparison to the control population, due to the high consumption of fish and the close relationship with sources of exposure (ports, dumps, etc.).
... Von May selbst wurde niedergeschrieben, er spüre "unaufhörliche, fürchterliche Nervenschmerzen, die des Nachts mich emporzerren und am Tage mir die Feder hundertmal aus der Hand reißen" [21]. [2] England Rippen (n = 65) f-pm 0-29 [7] Deutschland Femur (n = 57) f-pm 2-17 [10] Deutschland Becken (n = 149) Kalotte (n = 150) f-pm f-pm 0-22 0-7 [11] Deutschland Rippen (n = 10) Kalotte (n = 5) f-pm s-pm 3-14 4-17 0,1-0,4 0,1-0,6 [12] Deutschland Becken (n = 4) am 4-13 [13] Polen Rippe (n = 54) f-pm 2-8 [16] Deutschland Becken (n = 5) f-pm 4-18 [18] Taiwan Divers (n = 77) am 3-20 1,0-6,0 [28] Japan Rippe (n = 12) f-pm 0-1 0,0-0,2 [32] Schweiz Rippe, Wirbel (n = 21) Rippe, Wirbel (n = 17) f-pm s-pm 2-38 1-16 [34] Deutschland Divers (n = 30) f-pm 1-4 [36] USA Divers (n = 134) f-pm 0-32 [2] England Rippen (n = 3) f-pm 21-45 [3] Arktis Divers (n = 3) s-pm 110-228 [12] Deutschland Becken (n = 6) am 35-200 [16] Deutschland Becken (n = 13) am 26-410 [25] Deutschland Divers (n = 10) f-pm 30-153 [33] England Rippen (n = 336) s-pm 12-449 [35] USA Becken (=12) am 42-350am antemortal (Operationsresektate, Biopsien), f-pm früh-postmortal (Obduktion), s-pm spät-postmortal (Exhumierung, Grab, historische Funde) a ...
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For more than 100 years Karl May has been one of the most widely read novelists worldwide. In contrast to his fame, little is known regarding his medical history with the exception of some autobiographical texts. May’s cause of death has so far not been clarified although anecdotal reports range from speculation to reputable research approaches. As part of the restoration of Karl May’s tomb, we were approached to examine his mortal remains in the burial vault after a postmortem interval of 102 years. Personal identification was accomplished using a proportional comparison of the skull, superimposing a portrait photo of the Saxon author. No traumatic or pathological bone alterations were observed on the skeletal remains. Elevated levels of radium and highly elevated levels of lead and cadmium were detected in the bone samples. Orderly remains of clothing and the coffin offerings were indicative of an undisturbed burial and rest in death. The results of this prominent forensic case are presented and discussed in the context of contemporary references to Karl May’s health condition and the scientific literature concerning chronic heavy metal poisoning.
... This is likely to be due to the difference in the form in which Hg is present in the hair and in amalgam. In the hair, Hg is mainly present as organic Hg, while in amalgam it is found as inorganic (Bratel et al., 1997a,b;Drasch et al., 1997). This may explain the findings of others who have reported positive correlation between the number of amalgam restorations and mercury levels in urine, where Hg is present in the inorganic form (Kingman et al., 1998;Bratel et al., 1997a,b;Soleo et al., 1998;Begerow et al., 1994;Schweinsberg, 1994). ...
Article
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The aim of the current study is to examine the various factors, which contribute to high levels of mercury (Hg) in the hair of Lebanese dentists. The survey, which was carried out on ninety-nine dentists in the greater Beirut area, included a structured questionnaire designed to provide information about the parameters that influenced their occupational exposure to Hg. These included: precautionary measures, dental fillings, work habits and lifestyle of the tested dentists. The study showed that two of the four investigated precautionary measures had a significant effect on Hg level. The results revealed that, at the 95% confidence levels, Hg concentration in hair was significantly lower among the dentists who always used gloves and masks. Multiple regression analysis showed that the use of masks (P = 0.055) had significant effects on mercury accumulation in hair. In addition, dentists who saw more than eight patients per day had marginally higher mercury levels in their hair than those who did not. Since it was shown that precautionary measures could limit exposure to Hg concentration, then the use of protective measures needs to be emphasized.
... Chronic exposure to mercury results in an accumulation in the brain, heart and kidneys, the main target organs [11] [30] [35]. Dental amalgam has been identified as the largest source of mercury vapor in the nonindustrially exposed population [49] and this vapor easily penetrates the central nervous system [34]. ...
Article
Apolipoprotein-E (apo-E) genotyping has been investigated as an indicator of susceptibility to heavy metal (i.e., lead) neurotoxicity. Moreover, the apo-E epsilon (epsilon)4 allele is a major risk factor for neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). A theoretical biochemical basis for this risk factor is discussed herein, supported by data from 400 patients with presumptive mercury-related neuro-psychiatric symptoms and in whom apo-E determinations were made. A statistically relevant shift toward the at-risk apo-E epsilon4 groups was found in the patients p<0.001). The patients possessed a mean of 13.7 dental amalgam fillings and 31.5 amalgam surfaces. This far exceeds the number capable of producing the maximum identified tolerable daily intake of mercury from amalgam. The clinical diagnosis and proof of chronic low-level mercury toxicity has been difficult due to the non-specific nature of the symptoms and signs. Dental amalgam is the greatest source of mercury in the general population and brain, blood and urine mercury levels increase correspondingly with the number of amalgams and amalgam surfaces in the mouth. Confirmation of an elevated body burden of mercury can be made by measuring urinary mercury, after provocation with 2,3,-dimercapto-propane sulfonate (DMPS) and this was measured in 150 patients. Apo-E genotyping warrants investigation as a clinically useful biomarker for those at increased risk of neuropathology, including AD, when subjected to long-term mercury exposures. Additionally, when clinical findings suggest adverse effects of chronic mercury exposure, a DMPS urine mercury challenge appears to be a simple, inexpensive procedure that provides objective confirmatory evidence. An opportunity could now exist for primary health practitioners to help identify those at greater risk and possibly forestall subsequent neurological deterioration.
... Biomonitoring of the heavy metals concentrations in food chains is extremely important for the wellbeing of all organisms. Exposure of heavy metals to humans in normal populations as well as in occupational circumstances has created an increasing interest in biomonitoring of these heavy metals (Drasch et al., 1997). The present study aimed to assess the extent of bioaccumulation of two heavy metals i.e. lead and arsenic in various tissues of a model organism i.e. the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), under laboratory conditions. ...
Article
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Heavy metals present in surroundings tend to accumulate into the bodies of animals vide the food chains. This bioaccumulation of toxic heavy metals cause several pathological conditions, thus, imposing serious health hazards to humans and other animals. It has become extremely important to monitor levels of heavy metals for well being of humans. The present study was carried to evaluate the extent of bioaccumulation of two heavy metals in rabbit by measuring their levels in various tissues. The rabbits were divided into control (C) and two experimental groups i.e. T1 (Lead treated) and T2 (Arsenic treated). Experimental groups were orally administered lead and arsenic at concentration of 0.02 mg/L of glucose solution for a period of 28 days. Further, the concentration of above heavy metals was determined in liver, kidney and muscle using atomic absorption spectrometry. Concentration of lead in liver and kidney, while concentration of arsenic in kidney was found to be significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) in treatment groups as compared to the control. Higher mean concentration of lead (35.68±7.36) and arsenic (18.70± 3.456) was detected in kidney in treatment groups. Lower mean concentration of lead (12.43±4.70) and arsenic (7.07±2.45) was determined in muscles in treatment groups. The lead accumulated at significantly higher rate (P ≤ 0.05) compared to arsenic in all three tissues in treatment groups. It is concluded that heavy metals tend to bioaccumulate at relatively higher concentration in tissues involved in metabolic activities i.e. kidney and liver in rabbit.
... Sea fish is the main source for uptake of mercury which consumption was comparatively rare in our study with only 11% reported eating regularly (at least two times a week) sea fish. Results from Denmark or Germany are reported with 800 g/kg and 250 g/kg, respectively (Drasch et al., 1997;Grandjean et al., 1992). Occupationally exposed persons (fishermen) can show concentrations up to 5000 g/kg (Grandjean et al., 1992). ...
Article
Humans are exposed to a broad variety of man-made chemicals. Human biomonitoring (HBM) data reveal the individual body burden irrespective of sources and routes of uptake. A first population-based study was started in Austria in 2008 and was finished at the end of May 2011. This cross sectional study aims at documenting the extent, the distribution and the determinants of human exposure to industrial chemicals as well as proving the feasibility of a representative HBM study. Overall, 150 volunteers (50 families) were selected by stratified random sampling. Exposure to phthalates, trisphosphates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), bisphenol A (along with nonyl- and octyl phenol) and methyl mercury was assessed. Sixteen of 18 PBDE determined were detected above the limit of quantification (LOQ) in blood samples with #153 and #197 the most abundant species. Bisphenol A in urine was measured in a subsample of 25 with only 4 samples found above the LOQ. In 3 of 100 urine samples at least one of 8 trisphosphate compounds assessed was above the LOQ. These first analytical results of the human biomonitoring data show that the body burden of the Austrian population with respect to the assessed compounds is comparable to or even lower than in other European countries. Overall, the study revealed that in order to develop a feasible protocol for representative human biomonitoring studies procedures have to be optimized to allow for non-invasive sampling of body tissues in accordance with the main metabolic pathways. Procedures of participants' recruitment were, however, labor intensive and have to be improved.
Article
Exposure of humans and wildlife to various inorganic and organometallic forms of mercury (Hg) may induce adverse health effects. While human populations in developed countries are mainly exposed to marine fish monomethylmercury (MMHg), this is not necessarily the case for developing countries and diverse indigenous people. Identification of Hg exposure sources from biomonitor media such as urine or hair would be useful in combating exposure. Here we report on the Hg stable isotope signatures and Hg speciation in human hair across different gold miner, indigenous and urban populations in Bolivia and France. We found evidence for both mass-dependent isotope fractionation (MDF) and mass-independent isotope fractionation (MIF) in all hair samples. Three limiting cases of dominant exposure to inorganic Hg (IHg), freshwater fish MMHg, and marine fish MMHg sources are used to define approximate Hg isotope source signatures. Knowing the source signatures, we then estimated Hg exposure sources for the Bolivian gold miner populations. Modeled IHg levels in hair correspond well to measured IHg concentrations (R = 0.9), demonstrating that IHg exposure sources to gold miners can be monitored in hair samples following either its chemical speciation or isotopic composition. Different MMHg and inorganic exposure levels among gold miners appear to correspond to living and working conditions, including proximity to small towns, and artisanal vs large scale mining activity.
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A method is presented by which blood lead concentrations can be estimated from environmental concentrations using a multipathway analysis. For the ingestion and dermal uptake pathways the incremental increase in blood lead concentration is estimated as the product of the concentration in the relevant medium, a medium-specific contact rate, and an empirically determined ratio between intake and blood level. The inhalation pathway omits the contact rate and uses a ratio between the concentration in blood and the concentration in air. Model outputs corresponding to various input parameters are presented, and some of these are compared with outputs from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Biokinetic/Uptake model, Lead 5.
Article
The concentrations of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), tin (Sn), vanadium (V) and zinc (Zn) were determined in autopsy tissues collected from subjects who at the time of death had lived in Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) over a period of, at least, the previous 10 years. Samples of liver, lung, kidney, brain and bone were obtained from a total of 78 non-occupationally exposed subjects, autopsied between 1997 and 1999. Arsenic, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Pb, Mn, Hg, Ni, Sn, V and Zn were determined by inductively coupled plasma spectrometry (ICP/MS). The results were analyzed with respect to age, sex, smoking and drinking habits, and the subject's place of residence. Most tissue concentrations of As, Co, Cr, Hg and V were near to the analytical detection limit or, in some cases, even below it. However, the levels of Cu were slightly higher than the average concentrations found in other studies. Also, tissue concentrations of Mn, Sn and Zn were similar to those found in previous surveys, while those of Ni were lower than previously reported. Although the current levels of tissue Cd and Pb were comparatively lower than in studies in other areas, the distribution of both metals was similar to previously-reported trends. From the tissue metal concentrations observed in the present study, it would appear that neither environmental exposure nor a dietary excess of these elements could be considered a health hazard to people living in the study area.
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Mercury concentration in human hair is used as an indicator of long-term environmental exposure to mercury. Over 90% of mercury in hair occur in the metylmercury form. Exposure to mercury almost entirely results from the consumption of seafood and meat of big sea mammals. This paper presents a review of toxic effects of mercury, biological monitoring of exposure to mercury and biological levels of mercury in hair and blood of people consuming a variety of fish diets. It also describes the methods most often used for preliminary sample preparation and applied to determining mercury hair levels. Validation parameters of the method for the determination of mercury in hair, developed and applied by the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, is also presented.
Article
To evaluate intra- and inter-laboratory agreement concerning hair mineral analysis and interpretation of results, hair samples from 2 volunteers were sent to seven laboratories, which commercially offer hair mineral analysis in Germany. 6 weeks later, another identical part from the hair sample of volunteer 1 was sent to all seven labs. Altogether, 50 elements were analyzed, 23 by all seven labs. For comparability, only the results for these 23 elements were assessed. The intra-laboratory reproducibility was evaluated by the 2 identical hair samples from volunteer 1. On the average, the reproducibility seems to be sufficient (median +/- 9.48% to +/- 20.59%), but for individual elements there were unacceptable out-rulers up to 100%. Only one lab classified all elements of the first and the second analysis of the identical hair sample in the same category (below, within, or above normal range). The others grouped 4 to 7 elements different. This is not tolerable. The inter-laboratory comparability was assessed by the results of the hair samples of both volunteers. For the sample of volunteer 1 at least the results of 6 (out of 23) elements were within an acceptable range of +/- 30% from the consensus value (= mean of all seven labs). For volunteer 2 this was only the case for 2 (!) elements. Differences of more than 100% were found for most other elements. Moreover, in the vast majority of the tested elements there was no comparability of the cLassification to the respective reference ranges of the different laboratories. For example, for volunteer 1 only 3 elements (our of 23!) were identically classified by all seven labs. As neither the analytical results nor the classification to the individual reference ranges by the laboratories correspond in tolerable borders, conclusions, drawn from these results, cannot be valid. Hair mineral analysis from these laboratories is unreliable. Therefore we must recommend to refrain from using such analysis to assess individual nutritional status or suspected environmental exposure.
Article
MeHg is a well-documented neurotoxicant even at low levels of exposure. Developing brain, in particular, is vulnerable to that. Through bioaccumulating to differing degrees in various fish species, it can have serious adverse effects on the development and functioning of the human central nervous system, especially during prenatal exposure. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate mercury concentration in hair samples of pregnant women living in Mahshahr located in Khuzestan province, Iran. It assessed the association between fish consumption and specific characteristics that can influence exposure. From April to June 2008, 149 pregnant women were invited to participate in this study. An interview administered questionnaire was used to collect information about age, body weight, height, fish (fresh, canned and shrimp) consumption, pregnancy stage, residence duration, education level, family income and number of dental amalgam fillings. The obtained results showed that the geometric mean and range for hair total Hg concentration was 3.52 microg/g (0.44-53.56 microg/g). About 5.4% of mothers had hair total Hg levels in excess of 10 microg/g. Maternal hair mercury level was less than threshold level of WHO (5 microg/g). As expected, there was a clear increase in hair Hg with reported fresh marine fish consumption (p=0.04). The highest mean for hair mercury level in a group who consumed fish several times per week, was 4.93 microg/g. Moreover, a significant effect of age and residential time on Hg concentration in the hair of the women was found. Pregnant women in Mahshahr consumed large amounts of fish; consequently, most of their offspring were prenatally exposed to moderately high levels of mercury. The results found suggest that pregnant women should decrease their fish consumption.
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Several researchers conducted studies to demonstrate the use of fluoro- and chromogenic chemodosimeters for heavy metal ion detection in solution and biospecimens. They demonstrated that fluorescent chemodosimeters had emerged as as a research area of significant importance due to their potential in detecting heavy metal ions in solution and biospecimens. Chemodosimeters were used to detect an analyte through a highly selective and irreversible chemical reaction between the dosimeter molecule and the target analyte. This led to an observable signal that had an accumulative effect and was directly related to the concentration of the analyte. The chemodosimeter also provided signaling changes in absorption wavelength and color that were widely used as detection events, as they required only the use of cost-effective equipment or no equipment in some cases.
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Mercury is a toxic heavy metal which is widely dispersed in nature. Most human exposure results from fish consumption or dental amalgam. Mercury occurs in several chemical forms, with complex pharmacokinetics. Mercury is capable of inducing a wide range of clinical presentations. Diagnosis of mercury toxicity can be challenging but can be obtained with reasonable reliability. Effective therapies for clinical toxicity have been described.
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Objective: Metals are commonly found in air, water, soil and biologic substances. Many factors are involved in the path metals' follow to reach the food chain with air, water, soil and finally plants. Many tissue studies were conducted and reported for different countries as tissue biopsies are crucial for identifying chronic exposure. A tissue study carried out this way is not available in Turkey. Thus we aimed to detect and report levels of heavy metals (cadmium and lead) and trace elements (zinc and copper) in renal cortex tissues for Turkey. Material and Methods: Autopsy tissue samples used in our study were obtained from a total of 114 adult autopsy cases arrived to the Council of Forensic Medicine between June-November 2007. Measurements were done with Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. Copper and zinc were detected with Flame Atomic Absorption Technique and lead and cadmium were detected with Microwave Oven Digestion Procedure. Results: Cadmium levels were 20.9-312 (mu g/g), lead levels were 0.037-7.49 (mu g/g), copper levels were 25.6-475 (mu g/g) and cupper levels were 1.54-171 (mu g/g) in renal cortex tissue. Cadmium values in our country were comparable to levels in many European countries and significantly lower compared to the values reported from Japan. Renal cortex lead values of our country were similar to those of Norway and Czech Republic and significantly lower compared to the other countries, especially USA. A significant difference was not found between zinc concentrations of our study and the values reported from other countries. Copper concentrations that we found for our country were significantly higher compared to those reported for other countries. Results were analysed according to the age, gender, smoking habit and residence of the subjects. Renal cadmium values increased with age and were found significantly higher in males compared to females. Lead and cadmium values were significantly highes among individuals who smoked. Conclusion: In conclusion, renal cortex Cd, Pb, Zn and Cu levels were determined for Turkey and compared with the levels in various studies in literature.
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Introduction: mercury exposure is recognized as a worldwide public health concern. However, the effect of long-term exposure to low-doses of this heavy metal is still subject to debate. Due to the use of mercury in dental amalgam, dental health care professionals are chronically exposed to low-doses of this metal. In this context, we have conducted a descriptive cross-sectional survey among liberal dentists in two regions of the center of Morocco. In parallel, the global health status of participants was investigated to assess the relevance of a subsequent etiological survey. Methods: data were collected through a self-reported questionnaire. Occupational exposure of dentists to mercury was evaluated based on their use of dental amalgam. Moreover, the other common factors increasing the background pollution or inducing exposure peaks were also investigated. On the other hand, smoking, vaccination, fish consumption, and the number of dental amalgam in mouth were considered as non-occupational exposure sources. Finally, the self-reported global health problems of participants were collected. Results: 192 dentists were included in the present study. Seventy-six percent (76.04%) of them declared using dental amalgam in their practice. Moreover, the presence of dental amalgam in mouth was identified as the main non-occupational source of exposure to mercury (63.45% of participants). Finally, most of participants (46.35%) have expressed neuropsychological complaints. Conclusion: altogether, our results revealed a real mercury exposure in the studied population. Thus, effective preventive measures should be promoted to minimize the mercury exposure in dental offices. Moreover, an etiological study will be of great interest to reveal the impact of mercury exposure in this population.
Chapter
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It is unknown to most people that the dental amalgams which have been used as standard in recent decades, namely non-gamma-2 dental amalgams, have been substantially unlike those used before the 1970s, in that they constantly emit 20 to 50 times more mercury vapor than the older types. This is the first-ever study of health consequences of non-gamma-2. Following the changeover to non-gamma-2 amalgams, there promptly began a tenfoldish increase of autism, a tenfoldish change of ratio between late onset and early onset, a change from mainly genetic to mainly environmental, and a change from lifelong incurable to sometimes clearly recoverable. Exactly simultaneously there occurred a fourfoldish increase of claims for adult disability in the UK, with disabilities all or mostly of the nature that would be expected from chronic mercury poisoning (including mental disabilities and neurological disabilities). And similarly in the US. These timings cannot be dismissed as coincidence because there are no credible alternative explanations for the increases. Data strongly suggests that non-gamma-2 amalgams are currently by far the main cause of chronic disability in the UK, US, and other such countries, with about 10% of the UK working-age population disabled thereby.
Chapter
This chapter discusses toxiciology of various substances such as alcohols, illegal drugs, narcotics, toxic chemical elements and their ions, and pesticides and insecticides. Some pharmacokinetic parameters for sedative-hypnotics are given in the chapter. Acute or chronic poisonings caused by some gases or solvents occur with various incidences worldwide and can be associated with environmental or occupational pollution, or industrial accidents. They can cause serious intoxications in the criminal or suicidal context, and they can be misused by mistake. Those substances likely to be seen in forensic toxicology are discussed in the chapter. The chapter also discusses natural toxins that originate from plants and mushrooms. Specific requirements distinct to toxicology, forensics or doping controls are present, and selected aspects peculiar to sports drug testing are outlined and discussed in the chapter.
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Reports from human case studies indicate a half-life for inorganic mercury in the brain of years - contradicting older radioisotope studies that estimated half-lives in the order of weeks to months in duration. This study systematically reviews available evidence on the retention time of inorganic mercury in humans and primates to better understand this conflicting evidence. A broad search strategy was used to capture 16,539 abstracts on the Pubmed database. Abstracts were screened to include only study types containing relevant information. 131 studies of interest were identified. Only 1 primate study made a numeric estimate for the half-life of inorganic mercury (227 - 540 days). Eighteen human mercury poisoning cases were followed up long term including autopsy. Brain inorganic mercury concentrations at death were consistent with a half-life of several years or longer. 5 radionucleotide studies were found, one of which estimated head half-life (21 days). This estimate has sometimes been misinterpreted to be equivalent to brain half-life - which ignores several confounding factors including limited radioactive half-life and radioactive decay from surrounding tissues including circulating blood. No autopsy cohort study estimated a half-life for inorganic mercury, although some noted bioaccumulation of brain mercury with age. Modeling studies provided some extreme estimates (69 days vs 22 years). Estimates from modeling studies appear sensitive to model assumptions, however predications based on a long half-life (27.4 years) are consistent with autopsy findings. In summary, shorter estimates of half-life are not supported by evidence from animal studies, human case studies, or modeling studies based on appropriate assumptions. Evidence from such studies point to a half-life of inorganic mercury in human brains of several years to several decades. This finding carries important implications for pharmcokinetic modeling of mercury and potentially for the regulatory toxicology of mercury.
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The violin virtuoso Paganini died at Nice in 1840 after a long, severe illness. It is undisputed that Paganini was treated with mercury for suspected syphilis and lost all his teeth in 1828 because of that treatment. In the comprehensive literature published on this topic, most authors assume that the terminal complaints and his death were caused by tuberculosis. On the other hand, the hypothesis that he may have died from mercury poisoning was rejected, because there was no information available supporting this assumption. The authors performed morphological investigations using light microscopy and raster electron microscopy (REM). The examined hairs corresponded to a growth phase of > 1 year and < 3 years before death. Structural damage to the hairs indicate heavy metal intoxication in that phase of life; compatible results were supplied by the complex investigations using ICP mass spectrometry and TXRF, which revealed high concentrations of mercury. Using ICP-MS, the mean value for mercury found in the hair sample was 15.4 microg/g with a standard deviation of 0.7 microg/g. The values obtained when investigating segments of single hairs showed high dispersion, but overlapped with the values from the area investigated using ICP-MS. Information not yet considered in the literature support the diagnosis of syphilis and provide a complete and unambiguous explanation for Paganini's death on the basis of the mercury concentrations found.
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Amalgam, welches weltweit seit 150 Jahren als Zahnfllmateri- al verwendet wird, besteht aus etwa 50 % elementarem Queck- silber und einer Mischung aus Silber, Zinn, Kupfer und Zink. Aus fertigen Amalgamfllungen werden kontinuierlich kleine Men- gen an Quecksilberdampf freigesetzt. Amalgam trgt dabei sig- nifikant zur menschlichen Quecksilberbelastung bei. Quecksil- ber kann in Organen, insbesondere im Gehirn akkumulieren, da die Bindung zu Proteinen strker als die von anderen Schwer- metallen (z. B. Blei, Kadmium) ist. Im Gehirn werden Halb- wertszeiten von 1 - 18 Jahren angenommen. Quecksilber gilt als eines der giftigsten nichtradioaktiven Elemente. Es bestehen Hinweise darauf, dass Quecksilberdampf strker neurotoxisch wirkt als Methyl-Quecksilber aus Fisch. Neuere Publikationen weisen auf das Risiko von Nierenschdigungen, neuropsycholo- gischen Beeintrchtigungen, Induktion von Autoimmuner- krankungen oder Sensibilisierungen, gesteigerte oxidative Be- lastung, Autismus, Haut- und Schleimhautreaktionen und unspezifische Beschwerden durch Amalgamexposition hin. Auch die Alzheimer-Erkrankung oder die Entwicklung einer MS wird z. T. mit einer Quecksilberexposition in Zusammen- hang gebracht. Es bestehen, mglicherweise erblich bedingt oder erworben, unterschiedliche interindividuelle Empfind- lichkeiten zur Entstehung von negativen Effekten durch Amal- gambelastungen. Quecksilbermessungen in Biomarkern sind aufgrund fehlender Korrelation zu den Quecksilberkonzentra- tionen in den Organen nur bedingt zur Abschtzung der Queck- silberbelastung der kritischen Organe geeignet. Wegen metho- discher Mngel sind manche Amalgamstudien in ihren Aussagen nur bedingt verwertbar. Eine Amalgamentfernung Abstract
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A study was conducted to investigate the bioinorganic chemistry of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The two main histopathological criteria for AD were observations of extracellular deposits of fibrillar peptides, called senile plaques and of widespread intraneuronal fibrillar tangles. The senile plaques were formed from ̃40-residue fragments known as β-amyloids (Aβ), of the transmembrane amyloid precursor protein (APP) found in the membranes of cells and organelles such as mitochondria. The neurofibrillar tangles consisted of twisted strands of hyperphosphorylated tau protein, which was important for the structural integrity of microtubules, structural tubulin polymers of the cytoskeleton of the neurons, and were commonly observed upon neurodegeneration. The amyloid cascade hypothesis stated that impaired balance between Aβ production and clearance was the main cause of AD and that amyloids were the main neurotoxic substances in the disease.
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Mercury and other heavy metal poisoning, represent a problem that is more common than most physicians recognize. Such poisoning can also have far reaching import in the diagnosis and understanding of the patient's hormone status, especially in the aging individual. The diagnosis and treatment of mercury poisoning is a major key to the reversal of hormonal dysregulation, often seen in patients of any age. This paper reviews the important clinical connection between hormone dysregulation and mercury toxicity and offers suggestions for diagnosis and treatment.
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In order to investigate the effects of exposure to possible environmental pollutants such as Cd, Pb and Hg on haematological and serum biochemistry values, New Zealand White female rabbits were treated orally with distilled water solutions of CdSO4 x H2O, Pb(NO3)2 and HgCl2 (n = 4/treatment) in concentrations of 2.3, 4.1, and 30 mg/kg dry matter, respectively, for 28 days. The initial concentrations of Cd, Pb, and Hg in serum were significantly increased by the treatment. Exposure to Pb significantly decreased the red blood cell (RBC) count, haemoglobin (Hgb) concentration and the haematocrit (Hct) value. The Zn-protoporphyrin concentration did not change as a result of Pb exposure. Pb and Hg loading significantly increased the aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity was also increased by both Hg and Cd exposure. Comparing the treated and the control rabbits, all the trace elements studied significantly reduced the activity of enzymes in the pancreatic tissues. The haematological results indicate that hyperchromic macrocytic anaemia developed in rabbits treated with Pb. The increased activities of both AST and ALT indicate pathophysiological changes of the liver parenchyma, which was verified by focal fatty infiltration seen histopathologically. Cd exposure could exert a toxic effect on the kidneys, although the slight tubulonephrosis developed would not possibly affect the renal function. The reduced activities of amylase, trypsin, protease and lipase induced by Cd, Pb and Hg suggest toxicity to the pancreas.
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Lead concentration of different human bones (skull, sternum, crest of ilium, femur center, femur epiphysis) of 57 cadavers were measured by flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The higher the compacta value, the higher the lead concentration in bones (except femur epiphysis). A distinct sex difference was not seen. City people had higher lead concentrations than those from the country. A significant increase of lead concentration with age was found in all bones of the male city population. Comparing investigations with prehistorical and historical bones did not indicate a remarkable change in lead concentration.
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The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the cadmium (Cd) levels measured in scalp hair as a potential predictive index of the body burden of Cd. In vivo measurements of kidney and liver Cd along with hair, blood, and urine Cd levels were obtained in 29 industrially-exposed workers and ten control subjects. The relationship of hair Cd levels to the Cd values for the kidney, liver, blood, and urine were tested using nonparametric analyses. In the control group no statistically significant correlations were found. In the Cd-exposed workers with more than one year of employment there were weak correlations (p ≤ 0.05); however, the relationships were not sufficiently quantitative for predicting the status of an individual worker. Furthermore, when workers with less than one year of exposure were included in the analysis, no significant correlations were obtained. Although this latter group of workers had low body burdens of Cd, exceptionally high Cd concentrations were found in their hair - an observation that was unexpected. It was concluded that hair Cd levels are not a good index of body burden of Cd in the industrially-exposed individual.
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Lead toxicity is one of the known human health problems. Lead accumulates in biological systems and its mechanism of action is slow. Generally, lead could cause protoplasm poisoning. The toxicity of lead at high levels of exposure is well known, but a major concern of today is the possibility that continual exposure to relatively low level of lead may entail adverse health effects. Lead impairs the renal, hemopoietic and nervous systems and it has been suggested that lead is causally related to deficiency in cognitive functioning. Hair has been used indicator filaments for lead accumulation in human because lead concentration in hair is probably correlated to lead storage in bones. Lead circulates in human body system through the blood circulation. Lead concentration in blood (PbB) is an important parameter in the assessment of lead exposure and its toxicity effects to humans. Blood is a good indicator of the current level of lead in human body but not a good indicator of the total lead body burden. Lead concentration in blood depicts the dynamic equilibrium between exposure level, rates of take, distribution and excretion. In this study the concentration of lead in blood and lead in hair from a selected populationmore » living in the vicinity of a copper mine in Ranau district and population living in the vicinity of a proposed copper mine in Bidu Bidu was measured. The copper mine in Ranau has been operational since 1975. Previous physicochemical studies around the copper mine area reported elevated levels of heavy metals in water, sediment, plants and aquatic organisms samples suggesting a possible contamination due to mining activities, Mokhtar and Hazan reported their preliminary findings of elevated trace metals (including lead) in hair samples of the population living in the vicinity of the copper mine in Ranau. 22 refs., 1 fig., 4 tabs.« less
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Specimens of aorta, heart, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas and skeletal muscle were collected at autopsy from 86 traumatic accident victims. After dry-ashing, the cadmium concentration in each tissue was determined with atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The cadmium concentration was highest in kidney, the level becoming less in the different tissues in the following order: liver, pancreas, lung, aorta, heart and muscle. The mean (geometric) cadmium concentration of kidney sample in the age group of 40-50 years was 86.9 μg/g of dry weight, corresponding to approximately 26 μg/g of wet weight in kidney cortex. All values for cadmium in kidney were well below 200 μg/g of wet weight, a limit considered tentatively as a critical concentration in kidney cortex. When the effect of age on the cadmium concentration of tissues was studied, the same general pattern was seen, i.e., the median values were low in the early years of life and increased thereafter. In the cases of heart, kidney, lung and pancreas a maximum was found at the age of maturity, but the median concentration in aorta, liver and muscle reached the maximum in older age. The cadmium concentration of muscle showed the best correlation with age. From the data obtained from the correlation matrix of cadmium in the tissues investigated, a clear trend was noticed; if the concentration was high in one tissue, it was likely to be high also in other tissues. The cadmium concentrations show that the exposure of the general public in Finland to cadmium corresponds to that found in other nonpolluted countries.
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Analyses of Cadmium (Cd) in human specimens demand special interest since the Federal Environmental Agency of West-Germany (UBA, FRG) has published calculations and high figures of renal disturbances due to Cd. We analyzed autopsy material from the Cd-polluted area of Goslar/Harz Mountains (N = 28) and from the less contaminated region Erlangen/Nürnberg (Franconia) (N = 50). As determinants of Cd-concentration special regard was given to age, smoking habits, residence (urban/rural), and medical findings (nephropathy, hypertension). A balanced distribution of age is found in all subdivisions, the mean age of death is 66 and 68 yrs., respectively, in both regions. Median values of Cd-concentrations in the target organs from Franconia were found to be half the amount of those from Goslar (renal cortex: 12/19, medulla: 8/16, liver: 1/3 micrograms Cd/g wet weight). Significant local differences are found for renal medulla and liver (p less than 0.05). In both regions the Cd-content is independent from sex and residence (urban/rural). The influence of tobacco smoking on the Cd-burden is evident (greater than 50%). Cases of hypertension show maximum values, although this trend can't be confirmed by the median values. Regional Cd-pollution seems to have more effect than pathological findings: normotensive persons from Goslar have higher median renal Cd-concentrations than hypertensive patients from Franconia. Analyses of renal diseases reveal the same result. All Cd-concentrations are far below the critical value (200 micrograms Cd/g renal cortex, w.w.). The evaluation of such limit values and the results of similar studies are briefly discussed.
Organ samples of the right kidney the right and left lobe of liver, the cerebellum, and the left cerebrum (cortex and marrow separately) from 51 autopsies were analysed on their mercury content. A special high pressure-digestion was used for the sample preparation. The quantitative determination of the mercury concentrations was performed by the so-called cold vapour technique. In the organs the following median mercury concentrations were found: a) left lobe of liver: 58 microgram/kg b) right lobe of liver: 54 microgram/kg c) right kidney: 96 microgram/kg d) cerebellum: less than 5 microgram/kg e) cerebrum cortex: less than 5 microgram/kg f) cerebrum marrow: less than 5 microgram/kg. All values were below the internationally discussed range. No sex differences were detectable in the median mercury concentrations of the analysed organs. The positive correlation between age and the mercury concentration in the cerebellum could reflect an accumulation over the life. But most likely the concentrations still stay considerably below the critical limits. The negative correlations between age and the mercury concentrations of the liver lobes as well as of the kidneys indicates a change in the distribution of mercury in the body with increasing age.
Total mercury concentrations determined in the organs (muscle, brain, lungs, pancreas, liver, kidneys) of necropsy patients are evaluated. The mercury concentrations were also determined in the hair and urine of children residing in two different areas employed in a grain dressing paint (exposed and nonexposed to mercury fungicide formulation). The human autopsy study showed that the detected organ mercury concentrations were considerably lower than those reported in the literature: 94% of necropsy tissue samples showed mercury content lower than 100 micrograms . kg-1, irrespective of the type of body organ and the age of necropsy patients. The organ mercury concentrations were rising in the following order of organs: muscle, brain, lungs, pancreas liver and kidneys. No correlation could be demonstrated between the organ mercury concentration and the age of necropsy patient, or the primary cause of death. The highest hair and urine mercury concentrations were detected in workers occupationally exposed to the mercury containing fungicide formation. Increased average hair mercury concentrations corresponded with increased average mercury concentrations in the urine. The average mercury concentrations detected in the hair and urine of children and nonexposed workers were considerably lower than those reported in the literature. The authors provide also the most important data on the reported case of livestock overexposure to mercury, which has primarily stimulated their interest in mercury as an important environmental contaminant.
In this study 149 test persons were included, which were divided in 2 groups: consumption of Rhine fish (n = 77) and control group which consumed no Rhine fish (n = 72), but eventually fish from other sources. The consumption of Rhine fish averaged 1290 g per month (range: 100-5250 g per month), in the control group the consumption of fish averaged 340 g per month (range: 0-4000 g per month). The monthly fish consumption for inhabitants of Baden-Württemberg is in the range of 300 to 400 g. From this it can be seen that the control group consumed fish in the range of the general population, whereas in the group with Rhine fish consumption the quantity of consumed fish was 4 fold. In the group with Rhine fish consumption the levels of mercury in blood were in the geometric mean (GM) 2.41 micrograms/l, arithmetic mean (AM) 3.43 micrograms/l (range: 0.5-17.8 micrograms/l); control group an estimated GM: 0.68 micrograms/l, AM of 0.90 micrograms/l (range: 0.2-3.2 micrograms/l). The corresponding levels in hair were in the group with Rhine fish consumption GM: 1060 micrograms/kg, AM: 1410 micrograms/kg (range: 190-7200 micrograms/kg) and in the control group: GM 520 micrograms/kg, AM: 610 micrograms/kg (range: 190-2710 micrograms/kg). From this data it can be concluded that the consumption of Rhine fish gives rise to higher levels of mercury in blood (GM: 3.5, AM: 3.8 fold) and hair (GM: 2.0, AM: 2.3 fold). In the Umwelt-Survey of the German Bundesgesundheitsamt for the general German population an estimated GM of 0.46 microgram/l and AM of 0.74 microgram/l for mercury levels in blood was reported. The corresponding mercury concentrations determined in the group with Rhine fish consumption were 5.2. and 4.6 fold higher. No significant differences of mercury levels in urine were seen in the 2 groups (Rhine fish consumption GM: 0.57 microgram/l, AM: 0.84 microgram/l, range: < 0.1-4.7 micrograms/l; control group GM: 0.40 micrograms/l, AM: 0.93 microgram/l, range: < 0.1-13.6 micrograms/l). In both groups no correlation was found between mercury in urine and mercury in blood or hair respectively. For biological monitoring of organic mercury derived from fish consumption the determination of mercury in blood and hair is suited. The excretion of mercury in urine does not reveal an exposition with mercury from fish consumption.
Article
Seven Japanese female workers exposed to mercury vapour at a concentration of < 0.02 mg Hg/m3 (8 h/day, 44 h/week) were examined for inorganic (I-Hg) and organic (O-Hg) mercury concentrations in urine, blood, and hair after 0, 4, 8, 17, and 23 months of exposure. Both I-Hg and O-Hg concentrations in urine and hair did not increase significantly even after 23 months of exposure. The concentration of I-Hg and O-Hg in plasma and O-Hg in erythrocytes, however, increased significantly after four months of exposure, and the high concentrations were maintained until the end of the study (23 months of exposure). Absence of a significant increase in the concentration of O-Hg in hair indicates that changes in concentrations of I-Hg and O-Hg in blood could be caused by the occupational exposure to mercury vapour. These results show clearly that mercury concentration in blood indicates the uptake of mercury compared with data from before employment with mercury. Even after 23 months of exposure to mercury vapour, however, urinary mercury concentration was not affected.
The statistically significant correlation between mercury urine concentrations of 67 male volunteers aged 16 to 72 years (mean: 1.20 micrograms/l, range 0.1-5.0; 1.57 micrograms/24 h, range 0.1-7.8) and their amalgam filling index (r = 0.653; p < or = 0.0001) indicates that amalgam fillings burden the organism with mercury. Oral gavage of 300 mg DMPS (Dimaval) elevated mercury elimination in the urine by a factor of 9.2. The correlation between mercury elimination in the 24 h urine with and without DMPS is statistically highly significant (r = 0.89, p < or = 0.0001). This means that the information yield from mercury determination in urine is usually not improved by DMPS. For toxicological evaluation of mercury excretion in urine we propose to employ 1/20 of the BAT-level for inorganic mercury (200 micrograms/l). This approach is frequently used in setting MIK levels based on MAK levels. We refer to the resulting standard as BUT level (Biologischer Umweltstofftoleranzwert). The BUT level for inorganic mercury in urine is thus 10 micrograms/l. The mean determined in the cohort under investigation was ca. 10 times lower than the proposed threshold value. Therefore the present findings do not suggest a risk to health due to mercury in the volunteers examined here. Hair analysis of the same volunteers did not correlate with inorganic mercury burden from amalgam fillings. However, a weak correlation was found between hair mercury levels and fish consumption. Since fish are mainly a source of organic mercury, hair analysis may be useful for biological monitoring of this form of mercury.