Total hair mercury in children from a coastal population in Cananéia, São Paulo State, Brazil

Mercury (Hg) levels in hair are directly related to eating habits, especially fish consumption by coastal populations with a large contingent of traditional fishing families. This study assessed total Hg levels in children's hair. The study group was selected from three public elementary schools in Cananéia, São Paulo State, Brazil (ages 4 to 12 years). The results (median and range) for total Hg levels in children's hair were: 0.04mg.kg-1 (0.01-0.77mg.kg-1), 0.39mg.kg-1 (< 0.01-3.33mg.kg-1), and 0.39mg.kg-1 (< 0.01-2.81mg.kg-1) for schools ES1, ES2, and ES3, respectively. The values were well below the level set by World Health Organization for an adult population unexposed to Hg (2.0mg.kg-1). However, since there are no existing reference values for total Hg in children's hair, these results can be used as a contribution to establishing reference values for total hair Hg in Brazilian children living in coastal areas.

Chemical Compound Exposure; Mercury; Hair; Child


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