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Biomonitoring of Mercury Levels in Hair Samples from Women of

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					    Biomonitoring of Mercury Levels in Hair Samples from Women of Child-Bearing
                     Age in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, FL
                                                                                             R. Rao, N. Renier, J. Lanza,
                                                                                           P. Wilson, D. Hodges, S. Rivers
                                                                              Escambia County Health Dept. and University of West Florida
                                                                                                 Pensacola, Florida


                   ABSTRACT                                                  RESULTS                                                                                                          CONCLUSIONS
Background - According to the U.S. EPA, nearly          Interim results for 70% of the study population have                                                            The information gained through this biomonitoring
75% of fish consumption advisories in the United        been received and analyzed. The mean Hg (µg/g) in
                                                                                                                   Distribution of Hg in Study Population               program has established a baseline mercury data set
States have been issued due to mercury                  the hair was 0.581 (0.117, 0.282 and 0.610 at 25th,                                                             that can be used in future studies to determine whether
contamination (U.S. EPA, 2003). Despite a               50th and 75th percentiles, respectively) and 16% fell                                                           levels in the human population change in response to
significant reduction in the use and release of         above the recommended EPA known safe level of                                  1.50%                            new environmental regulations.            Local fishing
mercury from industrial processes since the 1970s,      1.0 µg/g Hg in hair (NRC, 2000). There was a                                                                    populations appear to be better informed of state fish
mercury contamination associated with increased
                                                                                                                          14%
                                                        significant correlation between increased MeHg                                                                  consumption advisories, although it did not decrease
fossil    fuel   combustion     poses    a    growing   levels and increased self-reported consumption of                                                               the amount of MeHg that was found in their hair. The
contamination problem in many areas (U.S. EPA,          fish over the previous 30 days (Pearson Correlation                                                             data suggest that public health interventions such as
2000). The Southeast, and in particular the Gulf        R=0.210; p<0.01) and 60 days (Pearson Correlation                                                               education and fish advisories should be geared more
Coast, experiences the highest levels of mercury        R=0.207; p<0.01).          Only 15.7% of the study                                                              towards pregnant women, who are at most risk. Public
deposition in the U.S. (NADP, 2004), and the State      population reported catching their own fish, while the                                                          health education may need to be focused on fish
of Florida issues fish consumption advisories due to    majority purchased fish at a store (60.8%) and/or                                                               markets and restaurants because the majority of the
mercury levels on varying fish species. Thus, the       consumed fish at a restaurant (64.4%).             No                                                           study population consumed their fish through those
human population in the Florida Panhandle, near         correlation was found between MeHg levels and                                                          n=343    avenues and they were less likely to know about the
Pensacola, is potentially exposed to highly elevated    knowledge about the fish advisory although people                                                               fish advisory. Future studies should focus on species of
levels of mercury, primarily through the consumption    who caught fish were 2.7 times more likely to know                                                              fish consumed and a more detailed inventory of fish
of regionally caught fish species. Many of the fish
                                                                                                                                                             <1 µg/g
                                                        about the fish advisory than people who did not               84.50%                                            consumed to better understand the risk factors involved
consumption surveys that have been issued in the                                                                                                             1-3 µg/g
                                                        consume fish (p<0.05), and 1.7 times more likely to                                                             with elevated MeHg in this high risk subset of our
U.S specifically target women of child bearing age      know about the advisory than people who bought
                                                                                                                                                             > 3 µg/g   population.
because of the concerns that maternal intake of         their fish at a store or restaurant (p<0.05).                                                                                          REFERENCES
contaminants poses a major health risk to a
developing fetus. The human nervous system is                                                                                                                           Budtz-Jorgensen, E., Grandjean, P., Jorgensen, P.J., Weihe, P.l.,
                                                                                                                 Interim results for 70% of the study population have      Keiding, N., 2004. Association between mercury concentrations
highly vulnerable to methyl mercury (MeHg), and
                                                                                                                 been received and analyzed. 16% fell above the            in blood and hair in methylmercury-exposed subjects at different
exposure to high levels of MeHg during the last two                                                                                                                        ages. Environmental Research 95, 385-393.
trimesters of pregnancy produces documented                                                                      recommended EPA safe level of 1.0 µg/g.
neurodevelopment problems in children (McDowell                                                                                                                         NADP, 2004. National Atmospheric Deposition Program 2003
et al., 2004). Biomonitoring of human hair for                                                                                                                            Annual Summary. National Atmospheric Deposition Program
                                                                                                                                                                          (NADP), Illinois State Water Survey. NADP Data Report 2004-
mercury is a useful indicator of exposure over                                                                                                                            01.
extended periods of time and hair-mercury
concentrations reflect longer-term averages than                                                                           Aware of Fish Advisory                       National Research Council. Committee on the Toxicological Effects
levels in the blood (Budtz-Jorgensen et al., 2004).                                                                                                                        of Methylmercury. 2000.Wahshington, DC: National Academies
                                                                                                                                                                           Press
        MATERIALS and METHODS
                                                                                                                                                                        McDowell, M.A., Dillon, C.F., Osterloh, J., Bolger, P.M., Pellizzari,
The study collected hair from approximately 600         Supplies used for hair sampling. A copy of the                                                    31.40%          E., Fernando, R., Oca, R.M.d., Susan E. Schober, T.S., Jones,
                                                                                                                                                                          R.L., Mahaffey, K.R., 2004. Hair mercury levels in U.S. children
participants (women 18-49 years old regardless of       Florida Fish Advisory was provided to each
                                                                                                                                                                          and women of childbearing age: reference range data from
pregnancy status) from Santa Rosa and Escambia          participant.                                                                                                      NHANES 1999-2000. Environmental Health Perspectives 112,
Counties, Florida. Only persons that had resided in                                                                                                                       1165–1171.
the study area for at least one year and could give
informed consent were included. Hair samples                                                                                                                            SPSS, 12.0 version 2002. Chicago, IL
(approximately 100 strands of hair ~ 50 mg) were
collected by trained staff, and sent to a certified                                                                                                             n=602   U.S. EPA, 2000. Guidance for assessing chemical contaminant
                                                                                                                                                                           data for use in fish advisories: fish sampling and analysis. US
analytical chemistry laboratory for analysis of                                                                     68.60%                                  Yes            EPA.
mercury levels. In addition, each volunteer was                                                                                                             No
interviewed regarding demographic information and                                                                                                                       U.S. EPA, 2003. Update: National Listing of Fish and Wildlife
                                                                                                                                                                           Advisories. United States Environmental Protection Agency,
recent fish consumption practices. Demographic                                                                                                                             Office of Water.
data collected included residency zip code, race,                                                                                                                       Acknowledgements: This study was supported by Grant # 1
gender, years of residency, age, and pregnancy                                                                                                                          R01 EH000096-01 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
status. A follow-up survey was given to the                                                                      The majority of participants were unaware of the       and Prevention (CDC) to the University of West Florida
participants to allow for feedback and a satisfaction                                                            Florida Fish Advisory prior to the study. No           (Principal Investigator, K. Ranga Rao). The contents of this
                                                        Approximately 100 strands of hair were collected         correlation was found between levels of mercury        abstract are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not
rating of the project. Descriptive statistics and
                                                        from an inconspicuous location close to the scalp.       and knowledge of the advisory.                         necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.
correlation analysis were run using SPSS version
12.0 (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL).

				
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