Total mercury content in hair and neurologic signs: Historic data from minamata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Large-scale methylmercury poisonings have occurred in Japan (Minamata and Niigata) and in Iraq. The current WHO threshold for adult exposure (hair level: 50 μg/g) was based on evidence from Niigata, which included only acute and severe cases. That study leaves open the possibility of more subtle effects at lower exposure levels. METHODS: The Shiranui sea had been contaminated in the 1950s by the discharge of methylmercury from a factory near Minamata.In 1960, the hair mercury content of 1694 residents living on the coastline of the Shiranui sea was measured by researchers from the Kumamoto Prefecture Institute for Health Research. Independently, in 1971, a population-based study to examine neurologic signs was conducted in the Minamata and Goshonoura areas, on the coastline of the Shiranui Sea, and the Ariake area (reference), by researchers at Kumamoto University. We identified 120 residents from exposed areas who were included in both datasets, plus 730 residents of Ariake (an unexposed area) who were also examined for neurologic signs. RESULTS: Hair mercury levels were associated with perioral sensory loss in a dose-response relationship. The adjusted prevalence odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for perioral sensory loss, compared with the lowest exposure category (0-10 μg/g), were 4.5 (0.5-44), 9.1 (1.0-83), and 10 (0.9-110), for the dose categories >10 to 20, >20 to 50, and >50 μg/g, respectively. The prevalence of all neurologic signs was higher in the exposure area than in Ariake. CONCLUSIONS: An increased prevalence of neurologic signs, especially perioral sensory loss, was found among residents with hair mercury content below 50 μg/g.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-193
Number of pages6
JournalEpidemiology
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

Fingerprint

Neurologic Manifestations
Mercury
Hair
Oceans and Seas
Research Personnel
Iraq
Poisoning
Japan
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Health
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Total mercury content in hair and neurologic signs : Historic data from minamata. / Yorifuji, Takashi; Tsuda, Toshihide; Takao, Soshi; Suzuki, Etsuji; Harada, Masazumi.

In: Epidemiology, Vol. 20, No. 2, 03.2009, p. 188-193.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{66a32895d5664a619910c79e95240b9d,
title = "Total mercury content in hair and neurologic signs: Historic data from minamata",
abstract = "BACKGROUND: Large-scale methylmercury poisonings have occurred in Japan (Minamata and Niigata) and in Iraq. The current WHO threshold for adult exposure (hair level: 50 μg/g) was based on evidence from Niigata, which included only acute and severe cases. That study leaves open the possibility of more subtle effects at lower exposure levels. METHODS: The Shiranui sea had been contaminated in the 1950s by the discharge of methylmercury from a factory near Minamata.In 1960, the hair mercury content of 1694 residents living on the coastline of the Shiranui sea was measured by researchers from the Kumamoto Prefecture Institute for Health Research. Independently, in 1971, a population-based study to examine neurologic signs was conducted in the Minamata and Goshonoura areas, on the coastline of the Shiranui Sea, and the Ariake area (reference), by researchers at Kumamoto University. We identified 120 residents from exposed areas who were included in both datasets, plus 730 residents of Ariake (an unexposed area) who were also examined for neurologic signs. RESULTS: Hair mercury levels were associated with perioral sensory loss in a dose-response relationship. The adjusted prevalence odds ratios and 95{\%} confidence intervals for perioral sensory loss, compared with the lowest exposure category (0-10 μg/g), were 4.5 (0.5-44), 9.1 (1.0-83), and 10 (0.9-110), for the dose categories >10 to 20, >20 to 50, and >50 μg/g, respectively. The prevalence of all neurologic signs was higher in the exposure area than in Ariake. CONCLUSIONS: An increased prevalence of neurologic signs, especially perioral sensory loss, was found among residents with hair mercury content below 50 μg/g.",
author = "Takashi Yorifuji and Toshihide Tsuda and Soshi Takao and Etsuji Suzuki and Masazumi Harada",
year = "2009",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1097/EDE.0b013e318190e73f",
language = "English",
volume = "20",
pages = "188--193",
journal = "Epidemiology",
issn = "1044-3983",
publisher = "Lippincott Williams and Wilkins",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Total mercury content in hair and neurologic signs

T2 - Historic data from minamata

AU - Yorifuji, Takashi

AU - Tsuda, Toshihide

AU - Takao, Soshi

AU - Suzuki, Etsuji

AU - Harada, Masazumi

PY - 2009/3

Y1 - 2009/3

N2 - BACKGROUND: Large-scale methylmercury poisonings have occurred in Japan (Minamata and Niigata) and in Iraq. The current WHO threshold for adult exposure (hair level: 50 μg/g) was based on evidence from Niigata, which included only acute and severe cases. That study leaves open the possibility of more subtle effects at lower exposure levels. METHODS: The Shiranui sea had been contaminated in the 1950s by the discharge of methylmercury from a factory near Minamata.In 1960, the hair mercury content of 1694 residents living on the coastline of the Shiranui sea was measured by researchers from the Kumamoto Prefecture Institute for Health Research. Independently, in 1971, a population-based study to examine neurologic signs was conducted in the Minamata and Goshonoura areas, on the coastline of the Shiranui Sea, and the Ariake area (reference), by researchers at Kumamoto University. We identified 120 residents from exposed areas who were included in both datasets, plus 730 residents of Ariake (an unexposed area) who were also examined for neurologic signs. RESULTS: Hair mercury levels were associated with perioral sensory loss in a dose-response relationship. The adjusted prevalence odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for perioral sensory loss, compared with the lowest exposure category (0-10 μg/g), were 4.5 (0.5-44), 9.1 (1.0-83), and 10 (0.9-110), for the dose categories >10 to 20, >20 to 50, and >50 μg/g, respectively. The prevalence of all neurologic signs was higher in the exposure area than in Ariake. CONCLUSIONS: An increased prevalence of neurologic signs, especially perioral sensory loss, was found among residents with hair mercury content below 50 μg/g.

AB - BACKGROUND: Large-scale methylmercury poisonings have occurred in Japan (Minamata and Niigata) and in Iraq. The current WHO threshold for adult exposure (hair level: 50 μg/g) was based on evidence from Niigata, which included only acute and severe cases. That study leaves open the possibility of more subtle effects at lower exposure levels. METHODS: The Shiranui sea had been contaminated in the 1950s by the discharge of methylmercury from a factory near Minamata.In 1960, the hair mercury content of 1694 residents living on the coastline of the Shiranui sea was measured by researchers from the Kumamoto Prefecture Institute for Health Research. Independently, in 1971, a population-based study to examine neurologic signs was conducted in the Minamata and Goshonoura areas, on the coastline of the Shiranui Sea, and the Ariake area (reference), by researchers at Kumamoto University. We identified 120 residents from exposed areas who were included in both datasets, plus 730 residents of Ariake (an unexposed area) who were also examined for neurologic signs. RESULTS: Hair mercury levels were associated with perioral sensory loss in a dose-response relationship. The adjusted prevalence odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for perioral sensory loss, compared with the lowest exposure category (0-10 μg/g), were 4.5 (0.5-44), 9.1 (1.0-83), and 10 (0.9-110), for the dose categories >10 to 20, >20 to 50, and >50 μg/g, respectively. The prevalence of all neurologic signs was higher in the exposure area than in Ariake. CONCLUSIONS: An increased prevalence of neurologic signs, especially perioral sensory loss, was found among residents with hair mercury content below 50 μg/g.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=66149126977&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=66149126977&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1097/EDE.0b013e318190e73f

DO - 10.1097/EDE.0b013e318190e73f

M3 - Article

C2 - 19057389

AN - SCOPUS:66149126977

VL - 20

SP - 188

EP - 193

JO - Epidemiology

JF - Epidemiology

SN - 1044-3983

IS - 2

ER -