Mercury Cycling and Health Effects

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Metals and Radioactive Substances".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 26 July 2024 | Viewed by 4261

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Geostatistics and Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory, University of Brasilia, Campus Planaltina, Brasília 73345-010, Brazil
Interests: soil science; mercury biogeochemical cycles; spatial distribution of mercury hotspot; mercury and metilmercury in trophic webs; mercury toxic risks; mercury exposure
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory, Federal University of Rondônia, Campus Porto Velho, Porto Velho 76901-000, Brazil
Interests: ecotoxicology; heavy metals; mercury and metilmercury; mercury exposure
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Faculty UnB at Planaltina, University of Brasilia, Brasília 73345-010, Brazil
Interests: mercury cycling; amazon; mercury ecotoxicology; mercury toxic risks; mercury exposure
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Guest Editor
Analytical and Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Instituto de Química, University of Brasilia, Brasília 70919-970, Brazil
Interests: mercury contamination; distribution of mercury in the environment; analytical aspects of mercury in samples of environmental interest; environmental ecotoxicology and human health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mercury (Hg) is a chemical element that, depending on its concentration, poses high toxicity and risks to biological communities and human health. Therefore, mercury is considered a primary control pollutant, and the Minamata Convention was established to protect human health and the environment from the anthropogenic emissions of mercury and its compounds.

Mercury enters human populations through various pathways, including occupational exposure from artisanal gold mining, industrial activities, and the burning of fossil fuels. Additionally, humans can be exposed to mercury through their diet, primarily via fish and seafood with high mercury concentrations. There is also the potential for exposure through vegetables grown in contaminated soil and/or water.

Thus, the topics for the Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Local and regional factors that influence the distribution of mercury in the environment.
  • Bioaccumulation and biomagnification of mercury in aquatic and terrestrial food chains.
  • Assessment of risks associated with mercury exposure in abiotic compartments (atmosphere, water, sediment, and soil) and in food sources (fish, seafood, and vegetables).
  • Mercury exposure in human populations.
  • Prenatal and postnatal mercury exposure, including transfer during breastfeeding.

Prof. Dr. José Vicente Elias Bernardi
Prof. Dr. Wanderley Rodrigues Bastos
Prof. Dr. Carlos José Sousa Passos
Prof. Dr. Jurandir Rodrigues De Souza
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • mercury exposure
  • food web
  • methylmercury
  • ecotoxicology
  • health risk assessment
  • environment
  • fish
  • gestational age
  • fetal growth
  • pregnancy

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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10 pages, 1549 KiB  
Communication
Hair Mercury Levels in Pregnant Women: Fish Consumption as a Determinant of Exposure
by Olga Rumiantseva, Viktor Komov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Hicham Zaroual, Ksenia Mizina, Maria Belova, Igor Nikitin, Alla Stolyarova, Dmitry Mashin and Daria Vilkova
Toxics 2024, 12(5), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics12050366 - 16 May 2024
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Abstract
The consumption of fish in food may contain mercury, a harmful element and dangerous chemical detrimental to human health. The purpose of this study was to determine the mercury level in the hair of pregnant women with different fish intakes in their diets. [...] Read more.
The consumption of fish in food may contain mercury, a harmful element and dangerous chemical detrimental to human health. The purpose of this study was to determine the mercury level in the hair of pregnant women with different fish intakes in their diets. The concentration of total mercury in hair was determined using an atomic absorption spectrometer. In this study, 98 pregnant women were invited to participate (aged from 18 to 48 years). The mean content of mercury in the hair of pregnant women in Northwestern Russia was 0.428 mg/kg (ranging from 0.018 to 3.1 mg/kg). As a result, 22% of women had mercury values above 0.58 mg/kg, which is considered dangerous for the fetus. The hair mercury concentration in a village area was higher than that in a city area (i.e., 0.548 mg/kg and 0.326 mg/kg). Moreover, the maximum level of mercury was noted for a group of pregnant women who consumed more than 5 kg/month of fish and fish products. Furthermore, the consumption of freshwater fish in the diet leads to a higher mercury content in the hair of pregnant women than the consumption of marine fish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury Cycling and Health Effects)
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12 pages, 2396 KiB  
Article
A 35-Year Record (1987–2022) of Hg Concentrations in Two of the Fish Species Most Consumed by People Living in the Upper Madeira River Basin, Brazilian Amazon Region
by Luiz Drude de Lacerda, Ronaldo de Almeida and Wanderley Rodrigues Bastos
Toxics 2024, 12(2), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics12020144 - 10 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1181
Abstract
This study presents a 35-year record of total mercury (Hg) concentrations in the detritivore fish Prochilodus nigricans (Curimatã) and the carnivore Cichla pleiozona (Tucunaré), two of the most widely distributed, ecologically important and consumed fish species in the upper Madeira River Basin in [...] Read more.
This study presents a 35-year record of total mercury (Hg) concentrations in the detritivore fish Prochilodus nigricans (Curimatã) and the carnivore Cichla pleiozona (Tucunaré), two of the most widely distributed, ecologically important and consumed fish species in the upper Madeira River Basin in the Western Brazilian Amazon. Fish samples from the major Madeira River and marginal lakes and tributaries were compared. Irrespective of site, Hg concentrations were higher in the carnivore fish compared to the detritivore. Hg concentrations increased 5-fold in C. pleiozona in the past three decades, whereas they remained relatively constant in P. nigricans when analyzing the entire 35-year period. When analyzed separately, fish in the main river and marginal lake and tributaries presented the same pattern of Hg variation, with a significant increase in Hg concentrations in the carnivore and in the detritivore in marginal lakes and tributaries but not in the main river. This was in line with the increase in methyl-Hg production in tributaries, mostly associated with deforestation in the past decade in the basin. Although an increase in direct emissions from artisanal gold mining also occurred in the past decade, this caused virtually no impact on fish Hg concentrations, suggesting atmospheric emission and deposition in forests and further export to water systems as an intermediate link with fish Hg concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury Cycling and Health Effects)
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13 pages, 2634 KiB  
Article
Mercury Contamination as an Indicator of Fish Species’ Trophic Position in the Middle Araguaia River, Brazil
by Lilian de Castro Moraes, José Vicente Elias Bernardi, João Pedro Rudrigues de Souza, Joelma Ferreira Portela, Hasley Rodrigo Pereira, Hugo de Oliveira Barbosa, Nayara Luiz Pires, Lucas Cabrera Monteiro, Ygor Oliveira Sarmento Rodrigues, Ludgero Cardoso Galli Vieira, Carlos José Sousa Passos, Jurandir Rodrigues de Souza, Wanderley Rodrigues Bastos and José Garrofe Dórea
Toxics 2023, 11(11), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11110886 - 29 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
This study evaluates the use of mercury (Hg) concentrations in fish muscle tissue to determine a species’ trophic position (TP) in its environment. A campaign conducted in 2019 along 375 km in the middle Araguaia River basin, Brazil, resulted in 239 organisms from [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the use of mercury (Hg) concentrations in fish muscle tissue to determine a species’ trophic position (TP) in its environment. A campaign conducted in 2019 along 375 km in the middle Araguaia River basin, Brazil, resulted in 239 organisms from 20 species collected. The highest total mercury (THg) concentrations were found in Pellonacastelnaeana (6.93 µg·g−1, wet weight) and in Triportheus elongatus (3.18 µg·g−1, wet weight), whose TPs were different according to the FishBase database. However, they occupied the same trophic level in this study. The intra-specific comparison showed a difference in Hg concentrations between individuals captured in distinct sites. The study of the biota–sediment accumulation factor (BSAF) showed that spatiality interferes with a species’ TP. Statistical analyses revealed that when we used a predicted species’ TP based on each individual’s size, it explained 72% of the variability in THg concentration across all fish species. Multiple regression analysis confirmed that standard length and FishBase values are positively associated with THg (R2 = 0.943). These results point to Hg as a viable indicator of a fish species’ TP since it reflects regional, biological, and environmental factors, as demonstrated here for the middle Araguaia River. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury Cycling and Health Effects)
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Review

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28 pages, 6501 KiB  
Review
Trends in Mercury Contamination Distribution among Human and Animal Populations in the Amazon Region
by Irvin Martoredjo, Lenize Batista Calvão Santos, Jéssica Caroline Evangelista Vilhena, Alex Bruno Lobato Rodrigues, Andréia de Almeida, Carlos José Sousa Passos and Alexandro Cezar Florentino
Toxics 2024, 12(3), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics12030204 - 7 Mar 2024
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Abstract
Mercury contamination in the Amazon arising from both natural sources and intensive mining activities in the region is a significant public health concern. This metal is used to separate Au from sediments. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess the impact of mining on [...] Read more.
Mercury contamination in the Amazon arising from both natural sources and intensive mining activities in the region is a significant public health concern. This metal is used to separate Au from sediments. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess the impact of mining on mercury contamination in the animal and human populations of the Amazon. This overall objective was pursued through a systematic review of the existing literature to assess the impact of Hg and identify gaps in geographic coverage arising from this assessment. Herein, we employed PECO and PRISMA-ScR protocols to select articles published between 2017 and 2023 based on projected points on a map within the biogeographic boundaries of the Amazon. We found that mercury concentrations increase with trophic levels, reaching high values of 3.7 µg/g in the muscles of predatory fish and 34.9 µg/g in human hair. The mean level of mercury in human hair in the whole (Amazon) region exceeds 6 µg/g, surpassing tolerance levels. Although mining regions show high concentrations of Hg, the highest incidence was observed among populations with fish-based diets. It was concluded that continuous research and monitoring of fish in the region are required in order to accurately assess the risk associated with Hg contamination, especially since fish are the main source of protein in this region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mercury Cycling and Health Effects)
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