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Heavy Metals and Trace Elements in Whole-Blood Samples of the Fishermen in Turkey: The Fish/Ermen Heavy Metal Study (FHMS)

Abstract

Selected heavy metal-trace element (Ag, As, Ba, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, Sb, Se, Sr, and V) levels were determined by the ICP-MS method in whole-blood samples of fishermen and control group who accommodate in four provinces of the Marmara Sea. Mercury (1.267 ± 1.061 µg/L to 0.796 ± 0.853 µg/L) and lead (17.8 ± 9.0 µg/L to 12.0 ± 6.83 µg/L) levels were higher in the fishermen group than that of control group (p < 0.001 for both). There was no difference between the fishermen group and the control group in terms of whole-blood levels of other elements. Total monthly fish consumption was 9340.4 gr in the fishermen group and 326.4 gr in the control group, and the difference between the groups was significant (p < 0.001). There was no difference between the groups in terms of having amalgam dental filling (p > 0.05). The results suggest that consuming high amounts of sea products caught from the Marmara Sea is a source for some heavy metals such as mercury and lead, which poses a public health risk. Unlike the control group, the positive correlation between arsenic, copper, and strontium levels and age in fishermen can also be evaluated as an indicator of chronic exposure.

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Funding

This study, which is a part of the project titled “Heavy Metal-Trace Element Load and Risk Mapping in Sea Products and Fishermen” with the number of 116S520, is supported by TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey).

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Correspondence to Derya Çamur.

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This study was performed in line with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval was granted by the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University (Date: June 6, 2018/No: 2018/12).

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Çamur, D., Topbaş, M., İlter, H. et al. Heavy Metals and Trace Elements in Whole-Blood Samples of the Fishermen in Turkey: The Fish/Ermen Heavy Metal Study (FHMS). Environmental Management 67, 553–562 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-020-01398-y

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Keywords

  • Fishermen
  • Heavy metals
  • Trace elements
  • Whole- blood