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Title: Hair mercury concentrations and associated factors in an electronic waste recycling area, Guiyu, China

Objective: Toxic heavy metals are released to the environment constantly from unregulated electronic waste (e-waste) recycling in Guiyu, China, and thus may contribute to the elevation of mercury (Hg) and other heavy metals levels in human hair. We aimed to investigate concentrations of mercury in hair from Guiyu and potential risk factors and compared them with those from a control area where no e-waste processing occurs. Methods: A total of 285 human hair samples were collected from three villages (including Beilin, Xianma, and Huamei) of Guiyu (n=205) and the control area, Jinping district of Shantou city (n=80). All the volunteers were administered a questionnaire regarding socio-demographic characteristics and other possible factors contributed to hair mercury concentration. Hair mercury concentration was analyzed by hydride generation atomic fluorescence spectrometry (AFS). Results: Our results suggested that hair mercury concentrations in volunteers of Guiyu (median, 0.99; range, 0.18–3.98 μg/g) were significantly higher than those of Jinping (median, 0.59; range, 0.12–1.63 μg/g). We also observed a higher over-limit ratio (>1 μg/g according to USEPA) in Guiyu than in Jinping (48.29% vs. 11.25%, P<0.001). Logistic regression model showed that the variables of living house also served as an e-waste workshop, work related to e-waste, family income,more » time of residence in Guiyu, the distance between home and waste incineration, and fish intake were associated with hair mercury concentration. After multiple stepwise regression analysis, in the Guiyu samples, hair mercury concentration was found positively associated with the time residence in Guiyu (β=0.299, P<0.001), and frequency of shellfish intake (β=0.184, P=0.016); and negatively associated with the distance between home and waste incineration (β=−0.190, P=0.015) and whether house also served as e-waste workshop (β=−0.278, P=0.001). Conclusions: This study investigated human mercury exposure and suggested elevated hair mercury concentrations in an e-waste recycling area, Guiyu, China. Living in Guiyu for a long time and work related to e-waste may primarily contribute to the high hair mercury concentrations. -- Highlights: • Mercury levels in hair samples from Guiyu and risk factors were assessed. • The recruitments from Guiyu were exposed to high levels of mercury. • Primitive e-waste recycling resulted in high mercury exposure of local people.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Department of Preventive Medicine, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, Guangdong (China)
  2. Central Laboratory of Shantou University, Shantou 515063, Guangdong (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22246960
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Research; Journal Volume: 128; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ABUNDANCE; CONCENTRATION RATIO; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; FLUORESCENCE SPECTROSCOPY; HAIR; HEAVY METALS; HOUSES; HUMAN POPULATIONS; MERCURY; PUBLIC HEALTH; TOXICITY; URBAN AREAS