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Individual methylmercury intake estimates from local seafood of the Mediterranean Sea, in Italy

March 23, 2014

A Seafood Frequency Questionnaire (SFQ) broken down in more than 42 items with 8-week coverage was interview-administered to 278 adults aged 19–82 years (167 women, 98 in the reproductive age 19–45 years, and 111 men), resident on the Italian Mediterranean shore and frequent buyer at local fish markets. Methylmercury (MeHg) intake on individual basis was estimated for a selected occurrence equal to the median value + Median Absolute Deviation (MAD) in each seafood species reported (conservative scenario). MeHg occurrence was derived from an extensive seafood database referred to years 2009–2011. Accounting for an average body weight of 62.2 kg, 24.6% of women resulted overexposed with respect to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Tolerable Weekly Intake (TWI) for MeHg of 1.3 μg/kg bw, with a mean of 0.92 μg/kg bw. In the vulnerable group aged 19–45 years, 29.6% exceeded the TWI. Rather than the amount of seafood consumed, the seafood choice appears to be the main determinant of the MeHg intake. Risk awareness was reported in the 49% of SFQs. Uncertainties related to such estimates from questionnaires are discussed, in order to give adequate health recommendations without compromising seafood consumption in the Mediterranean region.

  • Dellatte E,
  •  Brambilla G,
  •  Miniero R,
  •  Cesarina Abete M,
  •  Orletti R,
  •  Chessa G,
  •  Ubald A,
  •  Chiaravalle E,
  •  Tiso M,
  •   Ferrari A, in press: Individual methylmercury intake estimates from local seafood of the Mediterranean Sea, in Italy, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2014.03.002. Article.
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