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Ann Ig. 1989 May-Aug;1(3-4):661-71.

[Total mercury levels in human milk from Italian mothers having not been particularly exposed to methyl-mercury].

[Article in Italian]

Abstract

Some researches have been carried out about the foetal and neonatal exposure to methylmercury among the epidemiological studies on the effects of the exposure to this compound with foodstuffs. From the whole of these studies it seems that newborns are particularly sensitive to organic mercury compounds. The health effects can also appear in newborn of mother without symptoms. Now we show the early results of a carried out survey on some mothers without stated exposure to methylmercury living in the area or near Padua (Italy). The analytical data are concerning the levels of total mercury, total fats, lactose and total proteins in the breast-milk. The data, on 33 women, are summarized in a table, as: the number of sample, the mother's age, the time-lag from the delivery and the beginning of milk collection (day after delivery), the levels of total mercury, total fats, lactose and total proteins in breast-milk. In the table, also, the smoking habits, the alcohol consumption and the frequency during the last weeks before the delivery of the consumption of fish, if available, are registered. All the samples of breast-milk were positive in the mercury level. The mean total mercury level was 13.94 +/- 12.94 micrograms/L. The range of values was among 1.63 micrograms/L and 52.5 micrograms/L. 11 mothers eat fish on average once a week, only 3 mothers eat fish twice a week. 12 mothers eat fish seldom, between twice a month or once every two months. Present Italian values don't differ significantly from that of Spain and of coastal areas of Alaska. Present Italian values are significantly higher than those of inner areas of Alaska, Poland, Iowa and Tokyo. No statistic significant correlation is between mercury levels and nutritional components of breast-milk. In order to assess the health risk, we utilize the calculated tolerance concentration of mercury in human milk by Jensen, as 4 ppb. Only 11 (33.3%) of the analyzed breast-milk samples have total mercury levels below 4 ppb. Nevertheless, the possible high intake of mercury is over estimated by PTWI.

PMID:
2483638
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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