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Biomarkers of mercury exposure in two eastern Ukraine cities

January 1, 2011

This study evaluates biomarkers of mercury exposure among residents of Horlivka, a city in eastern Ukraine located in an area with geologic and industrial sources of environmental mercury, and residents of Artemivsk, a nearby comparison city outside the mercury-enriched area. Samples of urine, blood, hair, and nails were collected from study participants, and a questionnaire was administered to obtain data on age, gender, occupational history, smoking, alcohol consumption, fish consumption, tattoos, dental amalgams, home heating system, education, source of drinking water, and family employment in mines. Median biomarker mercury concentrations in Artemivsk were 0.26 μg/g-Cr (urine), 0.92 μg/L (blood), 0.42 μg/g (hair), 0.11 μg/g (toenails), and 0.09 μg/g (fingernails); median concentrations in Horlivka were 0.15 μg/g-Cr (urine), 1.01 μg/L (blood), 0.14 μg/g (hair), 0.31 μg/g (toenails), and 0.31 μg/g (fingernails). Biomarkers of mercury exposure for study participants from Horlivka and Artemivsk are low in comparison with occupationally exposed workers at a mercury recycling facility in Horlivka and in comparison with exposures known to be associated with clinical effects. Blood and urinary mercury did not suggest a higher mercury exposure among Horlivka residents as compared with Artemivsk; however, three individuals living in the immediate vicinity of the mercury mines had elevated blood and urinary mercury, relative to overall results for either city. For a limited number of residents from Horlivka (N = 7) and Artemivsk (N = 4), environmental samples (vacuum cleaner dust, dust wipes, soil) were collected from their residences. Mercury concentrations in vacuum cleaner dust and soil were good predictors of blood and urinary mercury.

Publication Year 2011
Title Biomarkers of mercury exposure in two eastern Ukraine cities
DOI 10.1080/15459624.2011.556984
Authors H. Gibb, C. Haver, K. Kozlov, J.A. Centeno, V. Jurgenson, Allan Kolker, Kathryn M. Conko, Edward R. Landa, H. Xu
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Index ID 70034822
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Mercury Research Laboratory; Toxic Substances Hydrology Program