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01.12.2014 | Ausgabe 10/2014

Maternal and Child Health Journal 10/2014

Fish Consumption and Hair Mercury Levels in Women of Childbearing Age, Martin County, Florida

Zeitschrift:
Maternal and Child Health Journal > Ausgabe 10/2014
Autoren:
Anil Nair, Melissa Jordan, Sharon Watkins, Robert Washam, Chris DuClos, Serena Jones, Jason Palcic, Marek Pawlowicz, Carina Blackmore

Abstract

The health effects of mercury in humans are mostly on the developing nervous system. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding must be targeted in order to decrease mercury exposure to the populations at highest risk—infants, unborn fetuses, and young children. This purpose of this study is to understand the demographics of fish-consumption patterns among women of childbearing age (including pregnant women) in Martin County, Florida, and to analyze the associations of mercury levels in participants’ hair with socio-demographic variables in order to better design prevention messages and campaigns. Mercury concentrations in hair samples of 408 women ages 18–49 were assessed. Data on demographic factors, pregnancy status, fish consumption, and awareness of fish advisories were collected during personal interviews. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression. The geometric and arithmetic means of hair mercury concentration were 0.371 and 0.676 µg/g of hair. One-fourth of the respondents had a concentration ≥1 µg/g of hair. Consuming a higher number of fish meals per month, consumption of commercially purchased or locally caught fish higher in mercury, White race and income ≥$75,000 were positively associated with the likelihood of having higher hair mercury levels. This study confirms the existence of a higher overall mean hair mercury level and a higher percentage of women with ≥1 µg/g hair mercury level than those reported at the national level and in other regional studies. This suggests the need for region-specific fish consumption advisories to minimize mercury exposure in humans.

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