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Special Issue "Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Timothy Dvonch

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: exposure assessment and health effects of air pollution; atmospheric transport and fate of mercury and other trace metals; receptor modeling and source apportionment of atmospheric pollutants
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Nicola Pirrone

CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Director Rome, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: atmospheric mercury transport and fate modeling; atmospheric chemistry and meteorological modeling of air pollutants; translation of environmental research for international environmental policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Exposure to mercury has been linked to serious health problems, including toxic effects on the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, as well as lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. Mercury is considered by the World Health Organization as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern on a global scale. Consequently, there has been a significant investment of resources towards investigations assessing the measurement and modeling of mercury in environmental systems, the health risks associated with exposure to mercury, and possible strategies to reduce sources of mercury to the environment, as well as subsequent reductions in exposure to mercury. Although numerous articles have been published on this topic, there are still substantial scientific knowledge gaps, and significant challenges to implementation of environmental policy remain as mercury continues to be released into the environment from human activities, and mercury remains present in the food chain and continues to cause adverse effects on humans and the environment.

In recognition of the extent and severity of mercury pollution on a global scale, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health invites you to submit manuscripts for consideration in this Special Issue, which will aim to synthesize our understanding regarding current perspectives and future directions for mercury and health.

Prof. Dr. J. Timothy Dvonch
Prof. Dr. Nicola Pirrone
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • mercury
  • environmental cycling
  • human health
  • source reduction
  • environmental policy
  • transport and fate
  • environmental impacts

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Gaseous Elemental Mercury and Total and Leached Mercury in Building Materials from the Former Hg-Mining Area of Abbadia San Salvatore (Central Italy)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14040425
Received: 3 January 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2017 / Published: 15 April 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6299 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Mercury has a strong environmental impact since both its organic and inorganic forms are toxic, and it represents a pollutant of global concern. Liquid Hg is highly volatile and can be released during natural and anthropogenic processes in the hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. [...] Read more.
Mercury has a strong environmental impact since both its organic and inorganic forms are toxic, and it represents a pollutant of global concern. Liquid Hg is highly volatile and can be released during natural and anthropogenic processes in the hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. In this study, the distribution of Gaseous Elemental Mercury (GEM) and the total and leached mercury concentrations on paint, plaster, roof tiles, concrete, metals, dust and wood structures were determined in the main buildings and structures of the former Hg-mining area of Abbadia San Salvatore (Siena, Central Italy). The mining complex (divided into seven units) covers a surface of about 65 ha and contains mining structures and managers’ and workers’ buildings. Nine surveys of GEM measurements were carried out from July 2011 to August 2015 for the buildings and structures located in Units 2, 3 and 6, the latter being the area where liquid mercury was produced. Measurements were also performed in February, April, July, September and December 2016 in the edifices and mining structures of Unit 6. GEM concentrations showed a strong variability in time and space mostly depending on ambient temperature and the operational activities that were carried out in each building. The Unit 2 surveys carried out in the hotter period (from June to September) showed GEM concentrations up to 27,500 ng·m−3, while in Unit 6, they were on average much higher, and occasionally, they saturated the GEM measurement device (>50,000 ng·m−3). Concentrations of total (in mg·kg−1) and leached (in μg·L−1) mercury measured in different building materials (up to 46,580 mg·kg−1 and 4470 mg·L−1, respectively) were highly variable, being related to the edifice or mining structure from which they were collected. The results obtained in this study are of relevant interest for operational cleanings to be carried out during reclamation activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Mercury Levels in Human Hair and Farmed Fish near Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining Communities in the Madre de Dios River Basin, Peru
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030302
Received: 22 November 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1752 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has been an important source of income for communities in the Madre de Dios River Basin in Peru for hundreds of years. However, in recent decades, the scale of ASGM activities in the region has increased dramatically, [...] Read more.
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has been an important source of income for communities in the Madre de Dios River Basin in Peru for hundreds of years. However, in recent decades, the scale of ASGM activities in the region has increased dramatically, and exposures to a variety of occupational and environmental hazards related to ASGM, including mercury, are becoming more widespread. The aims of our study were to: (1) examine patterns in the total hair mercury level of human participants in several communities in the region and compare these results to the 2.2 µg/g total hair mercury level equivalent to the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee of Food Additives (JECFA)’s Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake (PTWI); and (2), to measure the mercury levels of paco (Piaractus brachypomus) fish raised in local aquaculture ponds, in order to compare these levels to the EPA Fish Tissue Residue Criterion of 0.3 µg Hg/g fish (wet weight). We collected hair samples from 80 participants in four communities (one control and three where ASGM activities occurred) in the region, and collected 111 samples from fish raised in 24 local aquaculture farms. We then analyzed the samples for total mercury. Total mercury levels in hair were statistically significantly higher in the mining communities than in the control community, and increased with increasing geodesic distance from the Madre de Dios headwaters, did not differ by sex, and frequently exceeded the reference level. Regression analyses indicated that higher hair mercury levels were associated with residence in ASGM communities. The analysis of paco fish samples found no samples that exceeded the EPA tissue residue criterion. Collectively, these results align with other recent studies showing that ASGM activities are associated with elevated human mercury exposure. The fish farmed through the relatively new process of aquaculture in ASGM areas appeared to have little potential to contribute to human mercury exposure. More research is needed on human health risks associated with ASGM to discern occupational, residential, and nutritional exposure, especially through tracking temporal changes in mercury levels as fish ponds age, and assessing levels in different farmed fish species. Additionally, research is needed to definitively determine that elevated mercury levels in humans and fish result from the elemental mercury from mining, rather than from a different source, such as the mercury released from soil erosion during deforestation events from mining or other activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
An Artificial Turf-Based Surrogate Surface Collector for the Direct Measurement of Atmospheric Mercury Dry Deposition
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020173
Received: 5 December 2016 / Revised: 3 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1497 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper describes the development of a new artificial turf surrogate surface (ATSS) sampler for use in the measurement of mercury (Hg) dry deposition. In contrast to many existing surrogate surface designs, the ATSS utilizes a three-dimensional deposition surface that may more closely [...] Read more.
This paper describes the development of a new artificial turf surrogate surface (ATSS) sampler for use in the measurement of mercury (Hg) dry deposition. In contrast to many existing surrogate surface designs, the ATSS utilizes a three-dimensional deposition surface that may more closely mimic the physical structure of many natural surfaces than traditional flat surrogate surface designs (water, filter, greased Mylar film). The ATSS has been designed to overcome several complicating factors that can impact the integrity of samples with other direct measurement approaches by providing a passive system which can be deployed for both short and extended periods of time (days to weeks), and is not contaminated by precipitation and/or invalidated by strong winds. Performance characteristics including collocated precision, in-field procedural and laboratory blanks were evaluated. The results of these performance evaluations included a mean collocated precision of 9%, low blanks (0.8 ng), high extraction efficiency (97%–103%), and a quantitative matrix spike recovery (100%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Toward an Assessment of the Global Inventory of Present-Day Mercury Releases to Freshwater Environments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020138
Received: 23 November 2016 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 1 February 2017
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (1745 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Aquatic ecosystems are an essential component of the biogeochemical cycle of mercury (Hg), as inorganic Hg can be converted to toxic methylmercury (MeHg) in these environments and reemissions of elemental Hg rival anthropogenic Hg releases on a global scale. Quantification of effluent Hg [...] Read more.
Aquatic ecosystems are an essential component of the biogeochemical cycle of mercury (Hg), as inorganic Hg can be converted to toxic methylmercury (MeHg) in these environments and reemissions of elemental Hg rival anthropogenic Hg releases on a global scale. Quantification of effluent Hg releases to aquatic systems globally has focused on discharges to the global oceans, rather than contributions to freshwater systems that affect local exposures and risks associated with MeHg. Here we produce a first-estimate of sector-specific, spatially resolved global aquatic Hg discharges to freshwater systems. We compare our release estimates to atmospheric sources that have been quantified elsewhere. By analyzing available quantitative and qualitative information, we estimate that present-day global Hg releases to freshwater environments (rivers and lakes) associated with anthropogenic activities have a lower bound of ~1000 Mg· a−1. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) represents the single largest source, followed by disposal of mercury-containing products and domestic waste water, metal production, and releases from industrial installations such as chlor-alkali plants and oil refineries. In addition to these direct anthropogenic inputs, diffuse inputs from land management activities and remobilization of Hg previously accumulated in terrestrial ecosystems are likely comparable in magnitude. Aquatic discharges of Hg are greatly understudied and further constraining associated data gaps is crucial for reducing the uncertainties in the global biogeochemical Hg budget. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Disability Weights for Chronic Mercury Intoxication Resulting from Gold Mining Activities: Results from an Online Pairwise Comparisons Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010057
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (325 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In artisanal small-scale gold mining, mercury is used for gold-extraction, putting miners and nearby residents at risk of chronic metallic mercury vapor intoxication (CMMVI). Burden of disease (BoD) analyses allow the estimation of the public health relevance of CMMVI, but until now there [...] Read more.
In artisanal small-scale gold mining, mercury is used for gold-extraction, putting miners and nearby residents at risk of chronic metallic mercury vapor intoxication (CMMVI). Burden of disease (BoD) analyses allow the estimation of the public health relevance of CMMVI, but until now there have been no specific CMMVI disability weights (DWs). The objective is to derive DWs for moderate and severe CMMVI. Disease-specific and generic health state descriptions of 18 diseases were used in a pairwise comparison survey. Mercury and BoD experts were invited to participate in an online survey. Data were analyzed using probit regression. Local regression was used to make the DWs comparable to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. Alternative survey (visual analogue scale) and data analyses approaches (linear interpolation) were evaluated in scenario analyses. A total of 105 participants completed the questionnaire. DWs for moderate and severe CMMVI were 0.368 (0.261–0.484) and 0.588 (0.193–0.907), respectively. Scenario analyses resulted in higher mean values. The results are limited by the sample size, group of interviewees, questionnaire extent, and lack of generally accepted health state descriptions. DWs were derived to improve the data basis of mercury-related BoD estimates, providing useful information for policy-making. Integration of the results into the GBD DWs enhances comparability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
Open AccessArticle
Gold Mining in Ecuador: A Cross-Sectional Assessment of Mercury in Urine and Medical Symptoms in Miners from Portovelo/Zaruma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010034
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mercury is a toxic metal and is used in small scale gold mining. In Portovelo, Ecuador, mercury has been an environmental and health problem for decades. The target of this study was to assess the mercury concentration in the urine of miners from [...] Read more.
Mercury is a toxic metal and is used in small scale gold mining. In Portovelo, Ecuador, mercury has been an environmental and health problem for decades. The target of this study was to assess the mercury concentration in the urine of miners from Portovelo/Zaruma to establish a prevalence of high values. Eight hundred and sixty-five (865) urine samples were collected and analysed for their mercury content, using cold vapor atom absorption spectroscopy. The prevalence of high mercury values (>25 μg/L) was estimated. Forty-four (44) miners with mercury levels >15 μg/L filled in a questionnaire for characteristics and possible confounders, and were examined for intoxication symptoms to establish the ten points medical score sum. The median urine value was 1.8 μg/L; 78.3% of miners were below 7 μg/L and were not at risk of an intoxication, whereas 5.9% of miners exceeded the limit of 25 μg/L and were probable to experience intoxication symptoms. The medical score sum had a range of 2 to 8 points with a median of 6. The low prevalence of high mercury concentrations shows that the politics and techniques to eliminate the use of mercury are being successfully implemented. Further studies are needed to identify factors enabling this process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Mercury Exposure in Children of the Wanshan Mercury Mining Area, Guizhou, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13111107
Received: 12 August 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1964 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To evaluate the mercury (Hg) exposure level of children located in a Hg mining area, total Hg concentrations and speciation were determined in hair and urine samples of children in the Wanshan Hg mining area, Guizhou Province, China. Rice samples consumed by these [...] Read more.
To evaluate the mercury (Hg) exposure level of children located in a Hg mining area, total Hg concentrations and speciation were determined in hair and urine samples of children in the Wanshan Hg mining area, Guizhou Province, China. Rice samples consumed by these same children were also collected for total mercury (THg) and methyl-mercury (MeHg) analysis. The geometric mean concentrations of THg and MeHg in the hair samples were 1.4 (range 0.50–6.0) μg/g and 1.1 (range 0.35–4.2) μg/g, respectively, while the geometric mean concentration of urine Hg (UHg) was 1.4 (range 0.09–26) μg/g Creatinine (Cr). The average of the probable daily intake (PDI) of MeHg via rice consumption was 0.052 (0.0033–0.39) µg/kg/day, which significantly correlated with the hair MeHg concentrations (r = 0.55, p < 0.01), indicating that ingestion of rice is the main pathway of MeHg exposure for children in this area. Furthermore, 18% (26/141) of the PDIs of MeHg exceeded the USEPA Reference Dose (RfD) of 0.10 µg/kg/day, indicating that children in this area are at a high MeHg exposure level. This paper for the first time evaluates the co-exposure levels of IHg and MeHg of children living in Wanshan mining area, and revealed the difference in exposure patterns between children and adults in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Dietary Mercury Intake and Blood Mercury Levels in the Korean Population: Results from the Korean National Environmental Health Survey 2012–2014
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13090877
Received: 29 July 2016 / Revised: 17 August 2016 / Accepted: 23 August 2016 / Published: 1 September 2016
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (876 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
From a public health perspective, there is growing concern about dietary mercury intake as the most important source of mercury exposure. This study was performed to estimate dietary mercury exposure and to analyze the association between mercury intake and blood mercury levels in [...] Read more.
From a public health perspective, there is growing concern about dietary mercury intake as the most important source of mercury exposure. This study was performed to estimate dietary mercury exposure and to analyze the association between mercury intake and blood mercury levels in Koreans. The study subjects were 553 adults, comprising a 10% representative subsample of the Korean National Environmental Health Survey (KoNEHS) 2012–2014, who completed a health examination, a face-to-face interview, and a three-day food record. Dietary mercury and methylmercury intakes were assessed from the three-day food record, and blood mercury concentration was measured using a mercury analyzer. The association between dietary mercury intake and blood mercury levels was analyzed by comparing the odds ratios for the blood mercury levels above the Human BioMonitoring (HBM) I value (5 μg/L) among the three groups with different mercury intakes. The average total mercury intake was 4.74 and 3.07 μg/day in males and females, respectively. The food group that contributed most to mercury intake was fish and shellfish, accounting for 77.8% of total intake. The geometric mean of the blood mercury concentration significantly and linearly increased with the mercury and methylmercury intakes (p < 0.001). The odds ratios for blood mercury levels above the HBM I value in the highest mercury and methyl mercury intake group were 3.27 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.79–5.95) and 3.20 (95% CI 1.77–5.79) times higher than that of the lowest intake group, respectively. Our results provide compelling evidence that blood mercury level has a strong positive association with dietary intake, and that fish and shellfish contribute most to the dietary mercury exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Mercury in Children: Current State on Exposure through Human Biomonitoring Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050519
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 28 April 2017 / Accepted: 8 May 2017 / Published: 12 May 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (533 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mercury (Hg) in children has multiple exposure sources and the toxicity of Hg compounds depends on exposure routes, dose, timing of exposure, and developmental stage (be it prenatal or postnatal). Over the last decades, Hg was widely recognized as a threat to the [...] Read more.
Mercury (Hg) in children has multiple exposure sources and the toxicity of Hg compounds depends on exposure routes, dose, timing of exposure, and developmental stage (be it prenatal or postnatal). Over the last decades, Hg was widely recognized as a threat to the children’s health and there have been acknowledgements at the international level of the need of a global policy intervention—like the Minamata treaty—aimed at reducing or preventing Hg exposure and protecting the child health. National human biomonitoring (HBM) data has demonstrated that low levels of exposure of Hg are still an important health concern for children, which no one country can solve alone. Although independent HBM surveys have provided the basis for the achievements of exposure mitigation in specific contexts, a new paradigm for a coordinated global monitoring of children’s exposure, aimed at a reliable decision-making tool at global level is yet a great challenge for the next future. The objective of the present review is to describe current HBM studies on Hg exposure in children, taking into account the potential pathways of Hg exposure and the actual Hg exposure levels assessed by different biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessReview
Global Sources and Pathways of Mercury in the Context of Human Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010105
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 22 January 2017
Cited by 34 | PDF Full-text (779 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reviews information from the existing literature and the EU GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System) project to assess the current scientific knowledge on global mercury releases into the atmosphere, on global atmospheric transport and deposition, and on the linkage between environmental contamination [...] Read more.
This paper reviews information from the existing literature and the EU GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System) project to assess the current scientific knowledge on global mercury releases into the atmosphere, on global atmospheric transport and deposition, and on the linkage between environmental contamination and potential impacts on human health. The review concludes that assessment of global sources and pathways of mercury in the context of human health is important for being able to monitor the effects from implementation of the Minamata Convention targets, although new research is needed on the improvement of emission inventory data, the chemical and physical behaviour of mercury in the atmosphere, the improvement of monitoring network data, predictions of future emissions and speciation, and on the subsequent effects on the environment, human health, as well as the economic costs and benefits of reducing these aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessReview
Genetic Aspects of Susceptibility to Mercury Toxicity: An Overview
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010093
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2017 / Published: 18 January 2017
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (534 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Human exposure to mercury is still a major public health concern. In this context, children have a higher susceptibility to adverse neurological mercury effects, compared to adults with similar exposures. Moreover, there exists a marked variability of personal response to detrimental mercury action, [...] Read more.
Human exposure to mercury is still a major public health concern. In this context, children have a higher susceptibility to adverse neurological mercury effects, compared to adults with similar exposures. Moreover, there exists a marked variability of personal response to detrimental mercury action, in particular among population groups with significant mercury exposure. New scientific evidence on genetic backgrounds has raised the issue of whether candidate susceptibility genes can make certain individuals more or less vulnerable to mercury toxicity. In this review, the aim is to evaluate a new genetic dimension and its involvement in mercury risk assessment, focusing on the important role played by relevant polymorphisms, located in attractive gene targets for mercury toxicity. Existing original articles on epidemiologic research which report a direct link between the genetic basis of personal vulnerability and different mercury repercussions on human health will be reviewed. Based on this evidence, a careful evaluation of the significant markers of susceptibility will be suggested, in order to obtain a powerful positive “feedback” to improve the quality of life. Large consortia of studies with clear phenotypic assessments will help clarify the “window of susceptibility” in the human health risks due to mercury exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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Open AccessReview
Mercury Exposure and Heart Diseases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010074
Received: 9 October 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 12 January 2017
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (902 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental contamination has exposed humans to various metal agents, including mercury. It has been determined that mercury is not only harmful to the health of vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children, but is also toxic to ordinary adults in various ways. [...] Read more.
Environmental contamination has exposed humans to various metal agents, including mercury. It has been determined that mercury is not only harmful to the health of vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children, but is also toxic to ordinary adults in various ways. For many years, mercury was used in a wide variety of human activities. Nowadays, the exposure to this metal from both natural and artificial sources is significantly increasing. Recent studies suggest that chronic exposure, even to low concentration levels of mercury, can cause cardiovascular, reproductive, and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and carcinogenicity. Possible biological effects of mercury, including the relationship between mercury toxicity and diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction, are being studied. As heart rhythm and function are under autonomic nervous system control, it has been hypothesized that the neurotoxic effects of mercury might also impact cardiac autonomic function. Mercury exposure could have a long-lasting effect on cardiac parasympathetic activity and some evidence has shown that mercury exposure might affect heart rate variability, particularly early exposures in children. The mechanism by which mercury produces toxic effects on the cardiovascular system is not fully elucidated, but this mechanism is believed to involve an increase in oxidative stress. The exposure to mercury increases the production of free radicals, potentially because of the role of mercury in the Fenton reaction and a reduction in the activity of antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase. In this review we report an overview on the toxicity of mercury and focus our attention on the toxic effects on the cardiovascular system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury and Health: Current Perspectives and Future Directions)
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