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Human-biomonitoring and individual soil measurements for children and mothers in an area with recently detected mercury-contaminations and public health concerns: a cross-sectional study

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In this study, we assessed intracorporal mercury concentrations in subjects living on partially mercury-contaminated soils in a defined area in Switzerland. We assessed 64 mothers and 107 children who resided in a defined area for at least 3 months. Mercury in biological samples (urine and hair) was measured, a detailed questionnaire was administered for each individual, and individual mercury soil values were obtained. Human biomonitoring results were compared with health-related and reference values. Mothers and children in our study had geometric means (GMs) of 0.22 µg Hg/g creatinine in urine (95th percentile (P95) = 0.85 µg Hg/g) and 0.16 µg Hg/g (P95 = 0.56 µg Hg/g), respectively. In hair, mothers and children had GMs of 0.21 µg Hg/g (P95 = 0.94 µg/g) and 0.18 µg/g (P95 = 0.60 µg/g), respectively. We found no evidence for an association between mercury values in soil and those in human specimens nor for a health threat in residential mothers and children.
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Keywords: Hg; Human biomonitoring; child health; mercury; soil contamination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich & University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland 2: Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland 3: WHO Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany 4: Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Publication date: July 4, 2018

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