Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury

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National Academies Press, Sep 27, 2000 - Medical - 368 pages
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Mercury is widespread in our environment. Methylmercury, one organic form of mercury, can accumulate up the aquatic food chain and lead to high concentrations in predatory fish. When consumed by humans, contaminated fish represent a public health risk.

Combustion processes, especially coal-fired power plants, are major sources of mercury contamination in the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering regulating mercury emissions from those plants.

Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury reviews the health effects of methylmercury and discusses the estimation of mercury exposure from measured biomarkers, how differences between individuals affect mercury toxicity, and appropriate statistical methods for analysis of the data and thoroughly compares the epidemiological studies available on methylmercury. Included are discussions of current mercury levels on public health and a delineation of the scientific aspects and policy decisions involved in the regulation of mercury.

This report is a valuable resource for individuals interested in the public health effects and regulation of mercury. The report also provides an excellent example of the implications of decisions in the risk assessment process for a larger audience.

  

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
13
SOURCES OF Hg
15
FATE AND TRANSPORT
16
EXPOSURE EVENTS AND STUDIES
18
SUMMARY OF RISK ASSESSMENTS FOR MeHg
21
SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSIES AND SOURCES OF UNCERTAINTY
26
REFERENCES
27
CHEMISTRY EXPOSURE TOXICOKINETICS AND TOXICODYNAMICS
31
HEMATOLOGICAL EFFECTS
173
DEVELOPING CENTRALNERVOUSSYSTEM TOXICITY
174
ADULT CENTRALNERVOUSSYSTEM TOXICITY
221
CONCLUSIONS
228
RECOMMENDATIONS
231
REFERENCES
232
COMPARISON OF STUDIES FOR USE IN RISK ASSESSMENT
250
CORD BLOOD VERSUS MATERNAL HAIR AND TIMING OF EXPOSURE
252

METHODS OF CHEMICAL ANALYSIS
37
EXPOSURES TO MeHg IN THE US POPULATION
38
TOXICOKINETICS
42
MOBILIZATION OF BODY Hg
51
CHEMICAL FORMS OF Hg IN TOXICITY
52
TOXIC EFFECTS AND TARGET ORGANS
53
BIOCHEMICAL MECHANISMS OF TOXICITY
54
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
58
RECOMMENDATIONS
60
BIOLOGICAL VARIABILITY
72
GENDER DIFFERENCES
73
GENETICS
74
MECHANISMS OF NUTRITIONAL INFLUENCE ON MeHg HEALTH EFFECTS
75
TOXICOKINETIC VARIABILITY
83
CONCLUSIONS
95
RECOMMENDATIONS
96
REFERENCES
98
DOSE ESTIMATION
105
BIOMARKERS OF EXPOSURE
111
ANALYTICAL ERROR IN BIOMARKER MEASUREMENTS
127
EXPOSURE AND DOSE ASSESSMENT IN THE SEYCHELLES FAROE ISLANDS AND NEW ZEALAND STUDIES
129
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
136
RECOMMENDATIONS
139
REFERENCES
140
HEALTH EFFECTS OF METHYLMERCURY
147
CARCINOGENICITY
149
GENOTOXICITY
154
IMMUNOTOXICITY
156
REPRODUCTIVE EFFECTS
161
RENAL TOXICITY
164
CARDIOVASCULAR EFFECTS
168
DIFFERENCES IN THE NEUROBEHAVIORAL END POINTS ASSESSED AND THE CHILDRENS AGES AT ASSESSMENT
255
STABLE VERSUS EPISODIC PATTERN OF EXPOSURE
258
STUDY DIFFERENCES IN CONTROL FOR CONFOUNDERS
259
POPULATION DIFFERENCES IN VULNERABILITY
264
RANDOM VARIATION IN THE DETECTABILITY OF EFFECTS AT LOW EXPOSURES
266
CONCLUSIONS
267
RECOMMENDATIONS
269
DOSERESPONSE ASSESSMENT
271
BENCHMARKDOSE CALCULATIONS FOR CONTINUOUS OUTCOMES
273
SOME SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR MeHg
277
COMPARING BENCHMARK DOSES
281
CHOOSING A CRITICAL DOSE FOR A POINT OF DEPARTURE
283
AN INTEGRATIVE ANALYSIS
289
MODEL CHOICE ISSUES
293
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
298
RECOMMENDATIONS
300
REFERENCES
301
RISK CHARACTERIZATION AND PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS
304
THE CURRENT EPA REFERENCE DOSE
305
EVALUATING THE RfDEND POINTS OF MeHg TOXICITY
307
SELECTION OF THE END POINT FOR THE RfD
311
SELECTING A POINT OF DEPARTURE
314
SELECTION OF THE CRITICAL STUDY AND POINT OF DEPARTURE FOR THE REVISED RfD
317
CONSIDERATION FOR UNCERTAINTY FACTORS
318
IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND RISK MANAGEMENT
322
COMMITTEE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
326
REFERENCES
329
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 7
333
REFERENCES
335
GLOSSARY
337
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