Risk Analysis

Mercury Levels and Risk Implications Through Fish Consumption on the Sinaloa Coasts (Gulf of California, Northwest Mexico)

Journal Article

  • Author(s): Nydia‐Yuriana Zamora‐Arellano, Miguel Betancourt‐Lozano, César Ilizaliturri‐Hernández, Jaqueline García‐Hernández, Matín Jara‐Marini, Cristina Chávez‐Sánchez, Jorge Ricardo Ruelas‐Inzunza
  • Article first published online: 18 Sep 2018
  • DOI: 10.1111/risa.13185
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Fish consumption is the major source of mercury to humans. Fetuses and children are the most sensitive groups of populations to the effects of mercury. Consequently, fish consumption by pregnant women, children, and women of childbearing age is of concern because of the effects of mercury exposure on human health. To assess mercury exposure in a population in northwest Mexico, the allowed daily consumption of fish (which indicates the maximum daily amount of fish that can be consumed without causing adverse noncarcinogenic effects) was calculated for the general population (GP) and fishing‐related population (FRP). The studied groups for both sectors of the population were children A (3–10 years old), children B (11–15 years old), women of childbearing age (16–40 years old), and the rest of the population (men ≥16 years old, and women ≥41 years old). Mercury content in canned and frozen tuna, smoked marlin, tilapia, Pacific sierra, dolphinfish, and bullseye puffer ranged from 0.01 to 0.23 μg/g wet weight; none of the values were above the limit set by Mexico. Regarding mercury concentrations and rates of fish consumption, the GP consumes 1.7–2.7 times the allowed daily consumption, and the FRP consumes 1.6–3.9 that limit. The risk analysis showed the children A and B groups from the GP and adults of FRP to be the highest percentage of the population at risk (approximately 35%). These results highlight the need for adequate strategies that consider mercury exposure as part of public health policies associated with fish consumption in Mexico.

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