5240.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000: 4:30 PM-6:00 PM

Mercury and Brain Development

Mercury pollution results in contamination of seafood and freshwater fish with methylmercury, a known neurotoxicant. Of greatest concern are the adverse effects caused by prenatal exposures, as seen in a prospective cohort study in the Faroe Islands north of Scotland. Increased mercury concentrations in cord blood were associated with deficits on neurobehavioral tests conducted at age 7 years. While these associations seemed robust to adjustments for confounders, an important question is whether neurobehavioral deficits at school age are reversible. Evidence from other studies suggest that subtle deficits may lead to lower social and academic achievements. Regulatory agencies must therefore consider, on the one hand, the uncertainties of the scientific evidence and, on the other, the potential public health impact. Primary prevention of pollution would be desirable, but may represent a technological challenge without leading to immediate environmental improvements. Consumer behavior may be affected by public warnings using fish advisories, but their effect may have been overestimated. The key question is: How should we protect pregnant women and small children against hazardous exposure to methylmercury? This session will present different aspects of the evidence and conclude with a general discussion
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement.
Learning Objectives: Refer to the individual abstracts for learning objectives
Organizer(s):Philippe Grandjean, MD
4:30 PMDelayed neurotoxicity following developmental exposure to methylmercury
Philippe Grandjean, MD, PhD, Roberta F. White, PhD, Pal Weihe, MD
4:45 PMLong-term Significance of Developmental Toxicity
Roberta F. White, PhD
5:00 PMReduction of Environmental Releases of Mercury: Product Substitution and Regulatory Controls
Kathryn R. Mahaffey, PhD
5:15 PMMercury and fish consumption: Is SHE getting the message?
Laurie A. Draheim, MSPH, Henry A. Anderson, MD, Lawrence P. Hanrahan, PhD, Marty S. Kanarek, PhD, Claire Falk, MS, Dyan M. Steenport, Andrew Smith, PhD
5:30 PMDiscussion

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA