Plasma mercury levels in Hong Kong residents: In relation to fish consumption

Peng Liang, Yan Yan Qin, Chan Zhang, Jin Zhang, Yucheng Cao, Sheng Chun Wu, Chris K C WONG, Ming Hung WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Mercury exposure is of particular concern since mercury is a neurotoxin and the developing fetus is most sensitive to its adverse effect. Human blood is routinely used as an indicator for the evaluation of human exposure to Hg. To investigate Hg species in human plasma for Hong Kong residents and the relationship between fish consumption and Hg species in plasma, 151 plasma samples were analyzed for Hg species. The mean values of total Hg (THg) and methyl-mercury (MeHg) concentration in plasma were 0.62 and 0.28. μg/L, respectively. No significant differences were observed between females and males as well as among age groups. Fish consumption rate was significantly positively correlated with MeHg concentrations in plasma, which demonstrated that plasma could be a biomarker for human MeHg exposure.Two methods were used to estimate human MeHg exposure. One was based on fish MeHg content and fish consumption rate (EDIFish), another was employed by converting MeHg concentration in blood to MeHg exposure amount (EDIBlood). A significant positive correlation was observed between EDIBlood and EDIFish, and no significant difference was found between EDIBlood and EDIFish. These results demonstrated that fish consumption was the major source of MeHg for humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1229
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Blood plasma
  • Human exposure
  • Methylmercury


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