An Exposure Assessment of Methyl Mercury via Fish Consumption for the Japanese Population
The objective of this article was to propose an exposure assessment model to describe the relationship between fish consumption and body methyl mercury (MeHg) levels in the Japanese population. Individual MeHg intake was estimated by the summation of species-specific fish consumption multiplied by species-specific fish MeHg levels. The distribution of fish consumed by individuals and the MeHg level in each fish species were assigned based on published data from Japanese government institutions. The probability of MeHg intake for a population was accomplished through a Monte Carlo simulation by the random sampling of fish consumption and species-specific MeHg levels. Internal body MeHg levels in blood and hair were estimated using a one-compartment model. Overall, the mean value of MeHg intake for the Japanese population was estimated to be 6.76 g/day or 0.14 g/kg body weight per day (bw/day), while the mean value for the hair mercury level was 2.02 g/g. Compared with the survey data that tabulated hair mercury levels in a cross-section of the Japanese population, the simulation results matched the hair mercury survey data very well for women, but somewhat underestimated for men and all of the population. This exposure assessment model is a useful attempt at further risk assessment with respect to a risk-benefit analysis.
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