Using human hair as an indicator for exposure to mercury.

OBJECTIVES: Exposure to mercury, a risk factor for neuro-developmental toxicity, was evaluated in the Czech Republic by performing mercury determination using human hair as an indicator.

METHODS: Hair samples from Czechs (n=311; 2-66 years old) were analyzed for mercury content. Total mercury was analysed by mercury analyzer AMA 254.

RESULTS: The highest total mercury content found in sampled hair was 3.55 microg/g and the lowest content was 0.015 microg/g. No correlation was found between the mercury levels in the sampled hair and the subject's age, gender, and the amount of amalgam fillings. A total of 38 hair samples were analyzed for methylmercury content.

CONCLUSION: The results show a positive correlation between the total mercury content in human hair and the consumption of marine and freshwater fish. Hair are a very good indicator of fish consumption.

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