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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Jun 27;11(7):6771-9. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110706771.

The risk of mercury exposure to the people consuming fish from Lake Phewa, Nepal.

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Human and Natural Resources Studies Centre, Kathmandu University, P.O. Box 6250, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Human and Natural Resources Studies Centre, Kathmandu University, P.O. Box 6250, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 10085, China.
Laboratory of Green Chemistry, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Sammonkatu 12, FI-50130 Mikkeli, Finland.


The risk of mercury exposure through consumption of fish from Lake Phewa, Nepal was investigated. A total of 170 people were surveyed to know their fish consumption levels. The weekly mercury (Hg) intake in the form of methylmercury (MeHg) through fish was calculated by using the data on average MeHg concentrations in fish, the average consumption of fish per week, and an average body weight of the people. Hotel owners were consuming significantly high amounts of fish, followed by fishermen, in comparison to the government staff, army/police, locals and others (visitors). Some individuals exceeded the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake (PTWI) of 1.6 µg per kg body weight of MeHg (FAO/WHO). The minimum intake of MeHg (0.05 µg/kg/week) was found in the visitors (others) category, whereas the hotel owners had the maximum intake (3.71 µg/kg/week). In general, it was found that a person of 60 kg can consume at least 2 kg of fish per week without exceeding PTWI such that it does not pose any health risk associated with Hg poisoning at the present contamination level. Hg based PTWI values for Nepal has not been proposed yet in fishery resources so as to reduce health risk of the people.

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