The neurological effects of prenatal and postnatal mercury/methylmercury exposure on three-year-old children in taiwan

Hsing Cheng Hsi, Chuen Bin Jiang, Tzu Hsuan Yang, Ling Chu Chien

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25 Citations (Scopus)


This study attempts to elucidate the relationship between neurological effects and mercury/methylmercury concentrations in various biomarkers, including meconium, hair, fingernail, and toenail. Eight-three mother-infant pairs were recruited between August 2008 and December 2009, and follow-up examinations on these children were completed after three years. The Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III) for evaluating the cognitive, language, and motor development of three-year-old children were calculated and validated. The geometric mean of the total mercury concentration in meconium was 89.6ngg-1. The methylmercury concentrations in hair, fingernail, and toenail samples were 1.96, 0.64, and 0.55μgg-1, respectively. Seventy percent of children had hair methylmercury concentrations exceeding the U.S. environmental protection agency (EPA) reference of 1μgg-1. A significantly positive correlation was obtained between methylmercury levels in hair, fingernail, and toenail. These methylmercury levels were also significantly positively correlated with the children's fish intake and negatively correlated with a Bayley-III scale score of expressive language. The prenatal mercury exposure, however, did not show significant influence on neurological development. High fish consumption appears to be a critical risk factor for methylmercury levels in children and may cause a lower expressive language score.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Children
  • Fish intake
  • Mercury
  • Methylmercury
  • Neurological effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

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