Head Hair Total Mercury and Methylmercury Levels in Some Ghanaian Individuals for the Estimation of Their Exposure to Mercury: Preliminary Studies

  • Ray B. VoegborloEmail author
  • Akito Matsuyama
  • Anthony A. Adimado
  • Hirokatsu Akagi


The extent of human exposure to mercury in some individuals in Ghana was evaluated by analysing samples of human head hair for total mercury and methylmercury. The average level of total mercury was 0.843 μg g−1 (in range of 0.119–4.140, n = 123) and that of methylmercury was 0.787 μg g−1 (in range of 0.208–1.847, n = 42). Mercury was present in the hair samples almost completely in the methylated form. The average percentage ratio of methylmercury to total mercury was 97.2% (in range of 88.5%–107.6%). The results of this study indicate low levels of exposure to methylmercury and does not pose a significant risk to the individuals and to a greater extent the general population.


Total mercury Methylmercury Head hair Ghana 



The technical assistance of the staff of NIMD to Ray B. Voegborlo during his visit to the institute where this research was carried out is highly appreciated. We are grateful to Dr Eric Woode, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, KNUST for his useful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray B. Voegborlo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Akito Matsuyama
    • 2
  • Anthony A. Adimado
    • 1
  • Hirokatsu Akagi
    • 3
  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentKwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana
  2. 2.National Institute for Minamata DiseaseKumamotoJapan
  3. 3.International Mercury LaboratoryKumamotoJapan

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