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Abstract Title: Evaluation of Microsampling Methods for Human Biomonitoring of Mercury in the Blood of a Low-Exposed Population.
Presenter Name: Stefan Rakete
Company/Institution: Klinikum der Universität München
Session: Human Exposure and Risk Assessment of Hg
Co-Authors: Stefan Rakete,Ann-Kathrin Schweizer,Anastasia Koutsimpani-Wagner,Christopher Bake vel Bakin,Stephan Bose-O'Reilly

Abstract Information :

Background: Venous blood sampling is the gold standard for biomonitoring of mercury in blood. However, this requires medically trained personnel. Furthermore, the samples must be refrigerated or frozen for transport and storage. In contrast, microsampling involves taking a very small amount of capillary blood. This can substantially reduce the logistical and financial burden of biomonitoring. Although microsampling methods have been already used for different applications, there are only a few studies on their application for mercury biomonitoring in areas with a high mercury exposure, e.g. in artisanal and small-scale gold mining areas. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether microsampling methods are suitable for mercury biomonitoring in the blood of low-exposed adults in Germany. Methods: Two microsampling methods were tested in this study: Dried Blood Spots (DBS) and Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling (VAMS). For each method, the stability of mercury was investigated under different storage conditions. For evaluation of the suitability for human biomonitoring, paired venous and capillary blood (microsampling) were collected from non-occupationally exposed healthy adults (DBS: n =53, VAMS: n = 68), respectively. All samples were analyzed by direct mercury analysis. Results: Best storage stability was achieved when the microsamples were stored in cleaned glass containers. In contrast, storage in sealable plastic bags showed an accumulation of mercury. Both DBS and VAMS showed a very good correlation with venous blood samples, especially at blood mercury levels above 0.5 æg/l. Here, median recoveries were 93% for DBS and 117% for VAMS, respectively. In terms of usability, VAMS showed advantages in handling as well as in precision. Summary: Our study showed that microsampling methods are a valid and simple alternative to venous blood sampling for mercury biomonitoring in a low-exposed population. A clear limitation is a relatively low accuracy for blood mercury values lower than 0.5 æg/l.

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