Health effects in the Flemish population in relation to low levels of mercury exposure: From organ to transcriptome level
Croes, Kim × De Coster, Sam De Galan, Sandra Morrens, Bert Loots, Ilse Van de Mieroop, Els Nelen, Vera Sioen, Isabelle Bruckers, Liesbeth Nawrot, Tim Colles, Ann Hond, Elly Den Schoeters, Greet van Larebeke, Nicolas Baeyens, Willy Gao, Yue #
Urban & Fischer
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health vol:217 issue:2-3 pages:239-47
Due to possible health risks, quantification of mercury accumulation in humans was included in the Flemish biomonitoring programmes FLEHS I (2002-2006) and FLEHS II (2007-2011). The general objective of FLEHS I was to assess regional exposure levels in order to link possible differences in these internal exposure levels to different types of local environmental pressure. Therefore, Hg and MMHg (methylmercury) were only measured in pooled blood samples per region and per age class. In FLEHS II, mercury concentrations were measured in hair of each participant. About 200 adolescents and 250 mothers (reference group) and two times 200 adolescents (2 hotspots) were screened. The main objectives of the FLEHS II study were: (1) to determine reference levels of mercury in hair for Flanders; (2) to assess relations between mercury exposure and possible sources like fish consumption; (3) to assess dose-effect relations between mercury exposure and health effect markers. The results showed that mercury concentrations in the Flemish population were rather low compared to other studies. Mercury levels in the Flemish populations were strongly related to the age of the participants and consumption of fish. Significant negative associations were observed between mercury in hair and asthma, having received breast feeding as a newborn, age at menarche in girls, allergy for animals and free testosterone levels. Significant correlations were also observed between mercury in hair and genes JAK2, ARID4A, Hist1HA4L (boys) and HLAdrb5, PIAS2, MANN1B1, GIT and ABCA1 (girls).