Online Program

Differences in methylmercury exposure among residents of sundarban and calcutta, India

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Keri Fulcher, MS, Tetra Tech Sciences, Arlington, VA
Herman Gibb, PhD, MPH, Tetra Tech Sciences, Arlington, VA
Santosh Kumar Sarkar, PhD, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, India
Jing Wang, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Lisa Liguori, Georgia Sea Grant College Program, University of Georgia Marine Extension Service, Brunswick, GA
Holly Rainis, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Objectives: This study examined the concentration of mercury in hair in two populations in India: Sundarban, a mega delta and fishing area, and Calcutta, a large city and India's oldest functioning port. Methods: Individuals from whom hair was collected (N=100) were asked a series of questions on occupation, education, age, smoking, alcohol consumption, and fish consumption. SAS was utilized to generate descriptive statistics including frequency analysis and univariate analysis and to perform linear stepwise regression to determine significant predictors of hair mercury. The Kruskal-Wallis test was executed to determine if there was a difference in median hair mercury concentration between fishermen and non-fishermen. Results: The mean hair mercury concentration was 0.725 mg/kg (range: 0.119-2.556 mg/kg). Hair mercury concentration increased with the first three age groups (<21, 21-30, 31-45) and decreased in the fourth age group (>45). Location and age were significant predictors of hair mercury concentration (p=0.0030 and p=0.0456, respectively). Hair mercury concentration was significantly higher in the residents of Sundarban compared to Calcutta (p=0.0004). There was no significant difference in hair mercury between fishermen and non-fishermen (p=0.9232). Conclusion: Average hair mercury concentration in this study was consistent with the results from studies of hair mercury in other fishing communities. Location of residence and age are important predictors of mercury concentration in hair in these two populations. Hair mercury may be elevated in Sundarban residents due to greater consumption of fish and type of fish consumed.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain why hair mercury reflects fish mercury. Describe the relationship of fish consumption to hair mercury. Identify variables other than fish consumption that may influence hair mercury concentrations.

Keyword(s): Environmental Exposures, India

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work full-time at Tetra Tech Sciences as an epidemiologist and have been heavily involved in the conduct of this study including data management, statistical analysis and composition of the abstract and journal manuscript. I am enrolling in a PhD program in Fall 2013.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.