Current progress on understanding the impact of mercury on human health
Authors and Affiliations
Mercury pollution and its impacts on human health is of global concern. The authors of this paper were members of the Plenary Panel on Human Health in the 12th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant held in Korea in June 2015. The Panel was asked by the conference organizers to address two questions: what is the current understanding of the impacts of mercury exposure on human health and what information is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention in lowering exposure and preventing adverse effects. The authors conducted a critical review of the literature published since January 2012 and discussed the current state-of-knowledge in the following areas: environmental exposure and/or risk assessment; kinetics and biomonitoring; effects on children development; effects on adult general populations; effects on artisanal and small-scale gold miners (ASGM); effects on dental workers; risk of ethylmercury in thimerosal-containing vaccines; interactions with nutrients; genetic determinants and; risk communication and management. Knowledge gaps in each area were identified and recommendations for future research were made. The Panel concluded that more knowledge synthesis efforts are needed to translate the research results into management tools for health professionals and policy makers.
Keywords : Critical review; Environmental exposure; Environmental pollutants; Humans; Mercury; Methylmercury; Toxicity; Health; Advisory