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New insight into biomarkers of human mercury exposure using naturally occurring mercury stable isotopes.

Authors
Sherman-LS; Blum-JD; Franzblau-A; Basu-N
Source
Environ Sci Technol 2013 Apr; 47(7):3403-3409
NIOSHTIC No.
20044014
Abstract
Human exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) and elemental mercury vapor (Hg(0)(g)) are often estimated using total Hg concentrations in hair and urine, respectively. We investigated whether Hg stable isotopes could be used to better distinguish between exposure to Hg(0)(g) versus MeHg. We found that hair from North American dental professionals was characterized by high positive delta(199)Hg values (mean = 1.86 0/00, 1 SD = 0.12 0/00, n = 11). This confirms that among people who regularly consume fish, total Hg concentrations in hair reflect exposure to MeHg. In contrast, we found that urine from the same individuals was characterized by a range of delta(199)Hg values (0.29 to 1.77 0/00, 2 SD = 0.06 0/00, n = 12) that were significantly correlated to the number of dental amalgams in each individual's mouth. We hypothesize that fish-derived MeHg is demethylated within the body, causing mass-dependent fractionation and the excretion of inorganic Hg in urine. Mercury in urine therefore represents a mixture of demethylated fish-derived MeHg and amalgam-derived inorganic Hg. We estimate that the majority (>70%) of Hg in urine from individuals with <10 dental amalgams is derived from ingestion of MeHg in fish. These data suggest that within populations that consume fish, urine total Hg concentrations may overestimate Hg exposure from personal dental amalgams.
Keywords
Dental-materials; Dentists; Mercury-compounds; Exposure-assessment; Employee-exposure; Environmental-exposure; Humans; Biomarkers; Methyl-compounds; Urinalysis; Food; Inorganic-mercury; Chemical-analysis; Isotope-effect; Inorganic-mercury; Inorganic-mercury-compounds; Foodstuff; Analytical-processes; Animal-products
CODEN
ESTHAG
CAS No.
22967-92-6; 7439-97-6
Publication Date
20130402
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2013
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T42-OH-008455
Issue of Publication
7
ISSN
0013-936X
Source Name
Environmental Science and Technology
State
MI
Performing Organization
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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