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Sci Total Environ. 1987 Sep;65:63-8.

Trace elements intake in the Faroe Islands. II. Intake of mercury and other elements by consumption of pilot whales (Globicephalus meleanus).

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National Food Agency, Søborg Denmark.


The long-term intakes of total mercury, methyl mercury and cadmium from eating pilot whale (Globicephalus meleanus) in the Faroe Islands have been estimated. The long-term intakes of both total and methyl mercury far exceed the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intakes (PTWI) recommended by WHO. For the general population The PTWI's are 300 and 200 micrograms mercury per person per week for total and methyl mercury, respectively. The calculated intake of methyl mercury in this study approaches the lower value (1200 micrograms/person/week) of the recognized critical level of methyl mercury intoxication in the general population. In the years 1980 and 1981 the cadmium intake from consuming pilot whale foods exceeded the PTWI by a factor of 2. The PTWI for cadmium is 400-500 micrograms/person/week. It is concluded that the general Faroe Island population should significantly restrict the consumption of pilot whale foods. Pregnant women probably should not eat pilot whale foods at all, as the critical levels for methyl mercury intoxication of pregnant women and fetuses are lower by a factor of 2-5 than for the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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