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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 1994;27(1): 44-58.
Mercury Contents of Scalp Hair by Consumption Pattern of Fishes, Shellfishes and its Products.
Won Shik Lee, Doo Hie Kim
Department of Public Health Graduate Schoo, Kyungpook National University, Korea.
This study was conducted to examine the levels of total and organic mercury in the scalp hair of the elementary school children and adults, and their relalionship with the consumption pattern of fishes and shellfishes. The scalp hair samples were collected from the occipital part of 115 children and 131 adults in costal, urban and rural areas of kyungpook province from June to August 1991. The mercury content was analysed by the atomic absorption spectrophotometer (model IL. 555)with atomic vapor accessory (model IL. 440). The total and organic mercury contents of hair were significantly higher (P<0.01) among the children who prefer fish and/or shellfish (7.728ppm, 6.610ppm), and canned fish and/or fish pastes (6.969 ppm, 5.885ppm) than those who prefer meat(4.822ppm, 3.905ppm) and vegetables(3.974ppm, 3.224 ppm). The children who prefer to eat the canned fish without cooking showed a higher mercury content than the children who prefer to eat it as stew or mixed with vegetables (P<0.01l). There was a dose-response relationship between the intake frequency of canned fish, raw fish and cooked fish and the content of total and organic mercury of hair; the children who eat fish almost everyday showed 2 times higher than those who eat rarely (P<0.0l). The mercury content in the hair of the children who eat raw fish was significantly higher than that of the children who eat boiled or broiled fish (P<0.01). The total and organic mercury contents of adult scalp hair increased with age up to the forties and slightly decreased in the fifties. The mercury contents of those who were engaged in the fishery and raw fish restaurant were 2 times higher than those of the farmers. The mercury content of the persons who were favorite dishes of fish and shellfish were most high, and who prefer raw fish were 2 times higher than those of the persons who prefer vegetables and broiled fish. The contents of total and organic mercury in adult scalp hair showed also a increasing tendency with the intake frequency of raw and cooked fish.
Key words: organic mercury; total mercury; hair; consumption of fishes and shellfishes
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