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Abstract Title: Mapping Mercury Exposure Risk Factor from Fish Consumption in Latin America
Presenter Name: Elvira Vergara
Company/Institution: Laboratory of Aquatic Environmental Research, Centro de Estudios Avanzados - HUB Ambiental UPLA, Universidad de Playa Ancha, Valpara¡so, Chile
Session: Special Session - Mercury in the Southern Hemisphere
Day and Session: Wednesday 27th July - Session Two
Start Time: 11:30 UTC
Co-Authors: Elvira Vergara,Paulina Bahamonde,Floria Pancetti,Liliana Zu¤iga

Abstract Information :

Methylmercury is bioaccumulated and biomagnified in the aquatic food web reaching concerning levels in predator fish. Mining activity, one of Latin America?s most important economic activities, is one of the most relevant global anthropogenic mercury emissions. High fish consumption with higher levels of MeHg in humans have been correlated and associated with neurotoxic and motor skill negative effects in humans. In Latin America has been reported significant high levels of mercury concentrations in marine and freshwater fish, and at the same time occupies one of the top three regions with the highest fishery exploitation and aquaculture production. This study assesses the risk of mercury exposure and consequently health hazard due to fish consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean countries. Mercury levels in fish, fish consumption rates and mean population body weight by sex data was searched from all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. A large data set was created evidencing a concerning presence of methylmercury in widely consumed fish. Carnivorous species presented the highest concentrations of methylmercury (1.05 æg g-1dw to 3.87 æg g-1dw), independently of the water habitat, which is recommended to not consume. Furthermore, the risk was estimated trough a hazard quotient based on the U.S. EPA (2011) National-scale assessment of mercury risk. The risk value estimation showed to be strongly associated to high methylmercury levels in the fish and high humans fish consumption rates. Although, the consumption of most do not present a risk for human health; species with high-risk values (hazard quotient above 1), were concentrated in Peru and Venezuela, and extremely high-risk values, above 10, were observed in fish from the genus Epinephelus from Brazil and Thunnus from Chile. The recommendation is to lower the consumption of this kind of species or to avoid it. This project was support by FONDECYT 11180914.

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