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Blood mercury levels Louisiana, 2007.

McCormick M; Katner A; Soileau S; Locklin C; Badakhsh R; Lackovic M; Palermo C; White L; Dugas D
LA Morb Rep 2008 Nov-Dec; 19(6):1-2,4-5
In June of 2006, changes in disease reporting requirements mandated that healthcare providers report all laboratory results for cases of heavy metal exposure (arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury) to the Louisiana Office of Public Health, Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology (OPH-SEET). Since mandatory reporting was initiated in 2006, over 2000 records have been received by OPH related to mercury exposure. This is the first statewide evaluation of blood mercury tests reported for Louisiana residents. Testing for mercury is not part of routine clinical assessments; therefore, results may be biased towards individuals who may have been exposed to mercury or towards those with symptoms consistent with mercury toxicity. This review evaluates the 928 blood mercury test results reported to OPH-SEET between January and December of 2007. Conclusion: This report represents the first surveillance of blood mercury levels among Louisiana residents that has been conducted using statewide reported laboratory test results. Approximately five percent of individuals tested exceeded national background blood mercury levels, two percent of which met the case definition for mercury poisoning. High blood mercury levels, when they occur, may be a consequence of Louisiana's heavy seafood diet, as the most common source of exposure to mercury is via consumption of fish contaminated with methyl mercury. It is recommended that individuals with blood mercury levels greater than 10 ug/L decrease their fish consumption and return for follow-up testing. An assessment of potential sources of mercury exposure should also be conducted by the consulting physician. All mercury laboratory test results must be reported to Louisiana OPH-SEET. This reporting requirement was promulgated to help collect data on exposed individuals in an effort to identify sources of mercury exposure and reduce mercury-related health impacts across the state.
Health-care-personnel; Mercury-compounds; Mercury-poisoning; Heavy-metals; Heavy-metal-poisoning; Surveillance-programs; Laboratory-testing
Louisiana Office of Public Health - Infectious Disease Epidemiology Section, P.O. Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Services; Wholesale and Retail Trade
Source Name
Louisiana Morbidity Report
Performing Organization
Louisiana State Office of Public Health
Page last reviewed: October 21, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division