Methylmercury Monitoring Study in Karakuwacho Peninsula Area in Japan

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Hair mercury Methylmercury Fish species Japanese population 

References

  1. Cernichiari E, Brewer R, Myers GJ, Marsh DO, Lapham LW, Cox C et al (1995) Monitoring methylmercury during pregnancy: maternal hair predicts fetal brain exposure. Neurotoxicology 16:705–710Google Scholar
  2. Guallar E, Sanz-Gallardo MI, Van’t Veer P, Bode P, Aro A, Gomez-Aracena J et al (2002) Mercury, fish oils, and the risk of myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med 347:1747–1754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Harada M (1995) Minamata disease: methylmercury poisoning in Japan caused by environmental pollution. Crit Rev Toxicol 25:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hightower JM, Moore D (2003) Mercury levels in high-end consumers of fish. Environ Health Perspect 111:604–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Karagas MR, Choi AL, Oken E, Horvat M, Schoeny R, Kamai E, Cowell W, Grandjean P, Korrick S (2012) Evidence on the human effects of low-level methylmercury exposure. Environ Health Perspect 120:799–806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kim NS, Lee BK (2010) Blood total mercury and fish consumption in the Korean 1034 general population in KNHANES III, 2005. Sci Total Environ 408:4841–4847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Knobeloch L, Anderson HA, Imm P, Peters D, Smith A (2005) Fish consumption, advisory awareness, and hair mercury levels among women of childbearing age. Environ Res 97:219–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Koizumi A, Harada KH, Inoue K, Hitomi T, Yang HR, Moon CS, Wang P, Hung NN, Watanabe T, Shimbo S, Ikeda M (2009) Past, present, and future of environmental specimen banks. Environ Health Prev Med 14:307–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mahaffey K (1998) Methylmercury exposure and neurotoxicity. JAMA 280:737–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mahaffey KR, Clickner RP, Jeffries RA (2009) Adult women’s blood mercury concentrations vary regionally in USA: association with patterns of fish consumption (NHANES 1999–2004). Environ Health Perspect 117:47–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Maruyama K, Yorifuji T, Tsuda T, Sekikawa T, Nakadaira H, Saito H (2012) Methylmercury exposure at Niigata, Japan: results of neurological examinations of 103 adults. J Biomed Biotechnol 2012:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Matthews AD (1983) Mercury content of commercially important fish of the Seychelles, and hair mercury levels of a selected part of the population. Environ Res 30:305–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McDowell MA, Dillon CF, Osterloh J, Bolger PM, Pellizzari E, Fernando R, Montes de Oca R, Schober SE, Sinks T, Jones RL, Mhaffey KY (2004) Hair mercury levels in U.S. children and women of childbearing age: reference range data from NHANES 1999–2000. Environ Health Perspect 112:1165–1171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mergler D, Anderson HA, Chan LH, Mahaffey KR, Murray M, Sakamoto M, Stern AH, Panel on Health Risks and Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury (2007) Methylmercury exposure and health effects in humans: a worldwide concern. AMBIO 36:3–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. MHLW (2013) Summary of investigation of mercury concentrations in fishes (in Japanese) http://www.mhlw.go.jp/shingi/2010/05/dl/s0518-8g.pdf. Accessed on 28 Mar 2013
  16. Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB (2006) Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. JAMA 296:1885–1899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nakagawa R, Yumita Y, Hiromoto M (1997) Total mercury intake from fish and shellfish by Japanese people. Chemosphere 35:2909–2913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ser PH, Watanabe C (2012) Fish advisories in the USA and Japan: risk communication and public awareness of a common idea with different backgrounds. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 21:487–494Google Scholar
  19. The Food Safety Commission, Japan, the Contaminant Expert Committee (2005) Food safety risk assessment related to methlmercury in seafood http://www.fsc.go.jp/english/topics/methylmercury_risk_assessment.pdf. Accessed on 28 Mar 2013
  20. US EPA (2000) Guidance for assessing chemical contaminant data for use in fish advisories. Volume 2: risk assessment and fish consumption limits. http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/advice/volume2/v2cover.pdf
  21. WHO/JECFA Reports (2004) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants (sixty-first report of the joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives). WHO Technical Report Series, No. 922Google Scholar
  22. Yasuda H, Yoneshiro T, Yoshida K, Shibazaki T, Ishii T, Tsutsui T (2005) High toxic metal levels in scalp hair of infants and children. Biomed Res Trace Elem 16:39–45Google Scholar
  23. Yasutake A, Matsumoto M, Yamaguchi M, Hachiya N (2003) Current hair mercury levels in Japanese: survey in five districts. Tohoku J Exp Med 199:161–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Yasutake A, Matsumoto M, Yamaguchi M, Hachiya N (2004) Current hair mercury levels in Japanese for estimation of methylmercury exposure. J Health Sci 50:120–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yasutake A, Nagano M, Nakano A (2005) Simple method for methylmercury estimation in biological samples using atomic absorption spectroscopy. J Health Sci 51:220–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations