Methylmercury Monitoring Study in Karakuwacho Peninsula Area in Japan

  • Junxia Yan
  • Kayoko Inoue
  • Akihiro Asakawa
  • Kouji H. Harada
  • Takao Watanabe
  • Noriyuki Hachiya
  • Akio Koizumi


Methylmercury (MeHg) is a worldwide concern owing to its adverse health effects. To explore MeHg exposure burdens and the potential contributing factors in different subpopulations in a peninsula area (Karakuwacho) in Japan, a cross-sectional survey was performed. This study included 189 individuals from 102 families. The geometric means of total hair mercury (THg) were 5.74, 3.78 and 2.37 μg/g for adult males, females and children, respectively, of which 56.5 %, 30.9 % and 12.9 % had hair THg exceeding 5 μg/g, respectively. Tuna and mackerel were the common fish species that were positively correlated with hair THg levels in different subpopulations (standardized coefficient ranged from 0.20 to 0.58, p < 0.05). Frequent consumption of these fish species and a large amount of fish intake are likely major contributors of MeHg exposure in this area. Local-scale risk evaluation and risk communication should be highlighted in future studies.


Hair mercury Methylmercury Fish species Japanese population 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junxia Yan
    • 1
  • Kayoko Inoue
    • 1
  • Akihiro Asakawa
    • 2
  • Kouji H. Harada
    • 1
  • Takao Watanabe
    • 3
  • Noriyuki Hachiya
    • 4
  • Akio Koizumi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health and Environmental SciencesKyoto University Graduate School of MedicineYoshida-Sakyo, KyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Social and Behavioral MedicineKagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental SciencesKagoshimaJapan
  3. 3.Miyagi University of EducationSendaiJapan
  4. 4.Department of International Affairs and Environmental SciencesNational Institute for Minamata DiseaseMinamataJapan

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