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Children 2017, 4(12), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/children4120109

Mercury Hair Concentration among Primary School Children in Malaysia

1
Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center (UKMMC), Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2
Environmental and Occupational Health Program, School of Health Sciences, Health Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 3 December 2017 / Accepted: 7 December 2017 / Published: 14 December 2017
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Abstract

The main concern regarding mercury exposure is the adverse health effect on the developing nervous system. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to determine hair mercury levels and their association with socio-demographic characteristics, complaints about mercury poisoning symptoms and the fish consumption pattern among children in Malaysia. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 215 school children aged 11 years old. Hair was collected from the children and the total mercury was analyzed using oxygen combustion–gold amalgamation atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Anthropometric data, a fish consumption questionnaire and mercury poisoning symptoms were collected during a personal interview. The mean hair mercury level among primary school children was 0.63 ± 0.59 µg/g with the geometric mean of 0.47 µg/g. A total of 14% of respondents had hair mercury levels above 1 µg/g. A multiple binary logistic regression analysis outlined that fish consumption of at least one meal per week increased the likelihood of having a high mercury level (odds ratio (OR) 3.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3–10.4). This study confirms the existence of a mercury burden among Malaysian children and the level is high compared to other regional studies. This study provides important baseline data regarding the mercury level among children in Malaysia. View Full-Text
Keywords: hair mercury; children; fish consumption; mercury poisoning symptoms hair mercury; children; fish consumption; mercury poisoning symptoms
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Abdul Samad, N.I.; Md Isa, Z.; Hod, R. Mercury Hair Concentration among Primary School Children in Malaysia. Children 2017, 4, 109.

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