In vitro estimation of exposure of Hong Kong residents to mercury and methylmercury via consumption of market fishes

Hong Sheng Wang*, Wei Feng Xu, Zhuo Jia Chen, Zhang Cheng, Li Chen Ge, Yu Bon Man, John P. Giesy, Jun Du, Chris K C WONG, Ming Hung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


In order to evaluate effects of exposure to mercury (tHg) and methylmercury (MeHg) of Hong Kong residents via consumption of fish, total and bioaccessible concentrations of tHg and MeHg were measured in 10 freshwater and 10 marine fishes collected from markets in Hong Kong. Concentrations of tHg and MeHg in fishes ranged from 27.2 to 311ngg-1 (median 88.9ngg-1) and ND to 116ngg-1 (median 45.0ngg-1), respectively. Concentrations of MeHg in marine fishes (64.4±28.5ngg-1) were significantly greater than those in freshwater fishes (40.3±26.0ngg-1). Bioaccessibility tHg and MeHg was predicted for edible flesh of twenty fishes by use of an in vitro gastrointestinal assay. Bioaccessibilities of tHg and MeHg ranged from 21.4 to 51.7% (mean 37.4%) and 19.5 to 59.2% (mean 43.7%), respectively. Based on total concentrations, diets of 36% of adults and 51% of children exceeded the reference dose (RfD, 100ngkg-1bodymass(bm)d-1) for MeHg, but when bioaccessibility was considered, consumption of local market fish would not result in an EDIbio exceeded the RfD of MeHg for Hong Kong adults. These contradictory results suggested that risk assessments based on total concentrations would overestimate exposure because not all of contaminants consumed are bioaccessible. Furthermore, 9% of children had EDIbio for MeHg that exceeded the RfD, which suggests that more attention should be paid to consumption of local fish on health and development of children in Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-393
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bioaccessible
  • Dietary intake
  • Health risks, Asia
  • Mercury
  • Sea products


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