A State-of-the-Science Review of Mercury Biomarkers in Human Populations Worldwide between 2000 and 2018

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  • Erstellungsdatum 20. Mai 2022
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A State-of-the-Science Review of Mercury Biomarkers in Human Populations Worldwide between 2000 and 2018


The motivation for this study was the decision to include a chapter on human biomonitoring of mercury exposure in the 2018 UN Global Mercury Assessment. To achieve this, we aimed to increase worldwide understanding of human exposures to mercury by collecting, collating, and analyzing mercury concentrations in bio-
marker samples using systemic review methodologies. From this work we are able to conclude that all populations worldwide are likely exposed to some amount of mercury and that there is great variability in exposures within and across countries and regions.

This type of information is critical in helping understand exposures, particularly in light of certain stipulations in the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Notably, the entry into force of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2017 signaled the global commitment by governments to take action against mercury in order to protect human health and the environment (Article 1) (UNEP 2017). The parties to the convention now have a responsibility to develop schemes to evaluate the effectiveness of the convention (Article 22), which includes monitoring trends in human populations (vulnerable ones in particular, Article 19.1c) through harmonized methods (Article 19.1d).

The state-of-the-science review performed here concerning mercury exposures worldwide results in a database that will be further developed and shared with the global community through future-planned WHO and UNEP outreach efforts and thus help to address several convention articles (e.g., Article 17, Information Exchange; Article 18, Public Information, Awareness and Education; and Article 19, Research, Development and Monitoring, among others). In doing so here, we provide an evidence-based foundation for work to come on assessing the effectiveness of the convention as well as for identifying data gaps requiring attention.