Plasma mercury levels in Hong Kong residents: In relation to fish consumption

Peng LIANG, Yan-Yan QIN, Chan ZHANG, Jin ZHANG, Yucheng CAO, Sheng-Chun WU, Chris K. C. WONG, Ming Hung WONG

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Mercury exposure is of particular concern since mercury is a neurotoxin and the developing fetus is most sensitive to its adverse effect. Human blood is routinely used as an indicator for the evaluation of human exposure to Hg. To investigate Hg species in human plasma for Hong Kong residents and the relationship between fish consumption and Hg species in plasma, 151 plasma samples were analyzed for Hg species. The mean values of total Hg (THg) and methyl-mercury (MeHg) concentration in plasma were 0.62 and 0.28. μg/L, respectively. No significant differences were observed between females and males as well as among age groups. Fish consumption rate was significantly positively correlated with MeHg concentrations in plasma, which demonstrated that plasma could be a biomarker for human MeHg exposure.

Two methods were used to estimate human MeHg exposure. One was based on fish MeHg content and fish consumption rate (EDIFish), another was employed by converting MeHg concentration in blood to MeHg exposure amount (EDIBlood). A significant positive correlation was observed between EDIBlood and EDIFish, and no significant difference was found between EDIBlood and EDIFish. These results demonstrated that fish consumption was the major source of MeHg for humans. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1229
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date13 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2013


Liang, P., Qin, Y.-Y., Zhang, C., Zhang, J., Cao, Y., Wu, S.-C., . . . Wong, M. H. (2013). Plasma mercury levels in Hong Kong residents: In relation to fish consumption. Science of The Total Environment, 463-464, 1225-1229. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.04.049


  • Methylmercury
  • Blood plasma
  • Human exposure


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