Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 156, Issue 1–3, pp 29–35 | Cite as

Mercury in Scalp Hair Near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) in Relation to High Fish Consumption

  • H. C. Vieira
  • F. Morgado
  • A. M. V. M. Soares
  • S. N. Abreu


The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential risk of mercury contamination near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge relating total mercury (THg) concentrations in the human scalp hair (n = 110) and high fish consumption levels. THg was quantified in human scalp hair, and volunteers were questioned about age, gender, and smoking habits being subsequently grouped in categories based on the individual average intake of fish meals per week. THg concentrations ([THg]) in hair samples ranged from 0.05 to 2.24 μg g−1, and significant differences were found according to age (p < 0.05) and also among volunteers presenting different fish consumption rates (p < 0.001) being the highest [THg] observed on the adult population and also on volunteers that indicated consuming five or more meals of fish per week. Results indicate a pattern of increased mercury accumulation with increasing fish consumption. Despite mercury availability and a potential mercury intake of up to seven times, the WHO provisional tolerable weekly intake of mercury value, in consequence of high fish consumption, mercury concentrations in scalp hair are comparatively low regarding recommended levels by WHO.


Azores High fish consumption Mercury bioaccumulation Mid-Atlantic Ridge Scalp hair 



Sizenando Abreu received an individual postdoctoral grant ref. BPD/UI88/2911/2013 within the “Projeto CENTRO–07/ST24/002033 MARES—Sustainable Use of Marine Resources,” co-financed by QREN, Mais Centro-Programa Operacional Regional do Centro e União Europeia/Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. C. Vieira
    • 1
  • F. Morgado
    • 2
  • A. M. V. M. Soares
    • 2
  • S. N. Abreu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Biology & CESAMUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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