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Open AccessArticle

Predicted Mercury Soil Concentrations from a Kriging Approach for Improved Human Health Risk Assessment

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Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich & University Hospital Zurich, Hirschengraben 84, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland
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Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Hirschengraben 84, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland
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Institute and Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital Munich, LMU Munich, WHO Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health, Ziemssenstraße 1, D-80336 Munich, Germany
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Department of Public Health, Health Services Research and Health Technology Assessment, UMIT (University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology), Eduard-Wallnöfer-Zentrum 1, 6060 Hall i.T., Austria
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Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Hirschengraben 84, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1326; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071326
Received: 16 April 2018 / Revised: 11 June 2018 / Accepted: 23 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Health-risks from contaminated soils are assessed all over the world. An aspect that many risk assessments share is the heterogeneity in the distribution of contaminants. In a preceding study, we assessed potential health-risks for mothers and children living on mercury-contaminated soils in Switzerland using human biomonitoring-values (HBM) and soil samples. We assessed 64 mothers and 107 children who had resided in a defined area for at least 3 months. HBM-concentrations for mercury in urine and hair were measured, a detailed questionnaire was administered for each individual, and more than 4000 individual mercury soil values were obtained in 2015. In this study, we aimed at investigating possible associations of mercury soil- and HBM-values by re-analyzing our data, using predictions of the mercury concentrations at the exact location of the participant’s homes with a kriging approach. Although kriging proved to be a useful method to predict mercury soil concentrations, we did not detect an association between mercury soil- and HBM-values, in agreement with earlier findings. Benefits of geostatistical methods seem to be limited in the context of our study. Conclusions made in our preceding study about potential health risks for the residential population are robust and not altered by the current study. View Full-Text
Keywords: human biomonitoring; geostatistics; kriging; children and mothers; health risk assessment; environmental epidemiology; mercury human biomonitoring; geostatistics; kriging; children and mothers; health risk assessment; environmental epidemiology; mercury
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Imo, D.; Dressel, H.; Byber, K.; Hitzke, C.; Bopp, M.; Maggi, M.; Bose-O’Reilly, S.; Held, L.; Muff, S. Predicted Mercury Soil Concentrations from a Kriging Approach for Improved Human Health Risk Assessment. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1326.

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