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Food Chem. 2013 Jan 15;136(2):682-8. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.08.059. Epub 2012 Sep 2.

Hair mercury levels and food consumption in residents from the Pearl River Delta: South China.

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Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, and Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, PR China.


The Pearl River Delta (PRD) is located in the Southern part of China and is the main region for fish culture in Guangdong Province. In order to assess the potential health risks associated with dietary consumption of mercury, hair samples from 91 urban, town and fishing village residents, 37 species of fish, cereal, vegetables, and meat samples were collected. The average total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations in hair were 1.08 ± 0.94 and 0.58 ± 0.59 μg/g, respectively. Daily Hg intake via fish consumption is significantly correlated with THg and MeHg accumulated in human hair (r=0.48, p<0.01; r=0.43, p<0.01). The estimated daily intake of Hg via different food types showed that both fish and cereal consumption were the two main routes of Hg exposure for residents in the sampling areas. Besides food intake, smoking was also an important source for daily THg intake in the smoke group, contributing 11-18% to EDI of THg.

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