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Increased mercury levels in mothers and children from fish consumption
The mercury pollution in mothers and their children increases with increasing fish consumption, the Federal Environment Agency reports on the results of the measurements of the first uniform European research project on human biomonitoring (HBM). The project examined the pollution levels in human tissue and body fluids.
The higher the fish consumption, the higher the mercury exposure in mothers and their children, reports the news agency "dpa" of the results of human biomonitoring. In the current research project, data from 1,844 mothers and their children from 17 nations were taken into account. The exposure to mercury, cadmium, cotinine and phthalates was recorded.
Using a hair analysis, researchers determined the mercury levels in mothers and their children. While in some some countries mercury concentrations were 40 times higher than in other European countries, the values in Germany were below the average of 0.145 micrograms per gram of hair in children and 0.225 micrograms in mothers, according to the "dpa". Analysis of the data from 120 German mothers and their six to eleven-year-old children showed values of 0.055 micrograms per gram of hair in the children and 0.113 micrograms in the mothers.
Fish as the cause of mercury pollution According to the experts, the main reason for the mercury pollution in humans is the accumulation of the pollutant in the tissue of fish. Fish consumption is considered the only potential source of mercury in the human diet. Even the smallest consumption of contaminated fish can lead to a significant increase in mercury pollution in our organism and cause serious health problems. Earlier studies by the European Commission had already shown, according to the German Federal Agency for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), that people from the Mediterranean region who live in communities in which fishing has played an important role to date have increased mercury levels. The "level of exposure was so great" that "it will certainly cause neurological damage to their children." In Germany, however, fish consumption is well below the European average, so that the mercury exposure in mothers and children in Germany is correspondingly lower .
Pollution of the population must be further reduced In the human biomonitoring research project, increased levels of cotinine in mothers and children were identified, which are attributed to smoking and passive smoking. The Federal Environment Agency also spoke in favor of better protection against passive smoke, since almost half of the children examined were exposed to passive smoke outside their own home, reports the news agency "dpa". Overall, the HBM shows that many people are still exposed to an excessive level of pollutants and that this must be reduced in terms of health, according to the Federal Environment Agency. (fp)
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