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Abstract Title: Fish Consumption and Levels of Mercury in Hair in Spanish Teenagers Participating in the BEA Study
Presenter Name: Ana Cañas-Portilla
Company/Institution: National Centre for Environmental Health, Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Session: Human Exposure and Risk Assessment of Hg
Day and Session: Tuesday 26th July - Session One
Start Time: 07:30 UTC
Co-Authors: Ana Cañas-Portilla, Juan José Ramos, Miguel Motas, Susana Pedraza-Diaz, Argelia Castaño, Marta Esteban-López.

Abstract Information :

Mercury in fish is an issue affecting populations worldwide, even those in which strict legislation for controlling its use, trade and elimination are in force. Spain, as many other Mediterranean countries, has a diet with a big component on marine products and this is reflected in the mercury levels of the Spanish population. Different human biomonitoring studies have investigated the mercury levels of adults and children in Spain, however the levels in teenagers have not been studied so far.

The BEA study (Biomonitorización En Adolescentes) was the first nation-wide human biomonitoring survey carried out in Spain to study environmental pollutants in urban adolescents. About 500 teenagers (14-16 y.) were recruited from 22 secondary schools in 11 Spanish big cities. All participants completed a self-administered questionnaire and donated hair, urine and blood samples. Total mercury was analysed in hair by Thermal Decomposition Gold Amalgamation Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy. The limit of quantification (LOQ) was 0.01 μg/g hair and 3 mg of hair sample were required for the determination.

All hair samples were over LOQ. The GM (CI 95%) of the total studied population was 0.86 μg/g (0.76-0.96) and the P95, 3.37 μg/g. There was no significant difference by gender but some differences were observed among locations. Two coastal locations, Huelva and Alicante, presented the highest mercury levels (GM CI 95%= 1.86 μg/g (1.12-2.60); 1.13 μg/g (0.82-1.45), respectively) and Granada the lowest (0.54 μg/g (0.27-0.81)). Statistical significant differences (p<0.001) were observed related to the consumption frequency of white fish, small blue fish (e.g. sardine, anchovy), and big blue fish (e.g. tuna, swordfish). About 13% of the participants had total mercury levels in hair above the FAO/WHO JECFA guideline of 2.3 μg/g.

Acknowledgments: BEA is funded by the MAGRAMA-ISCIII (SEG 1321/15) and HBM4EU (EU H2020 research and innovation programme (No 733032)).

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