A review of human exposure to mercury and its hematological effects. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Human exposure to mercury and its hematological effects: a systematic review.
Cad Saude Publica. 2019 Feb 11 ;35(2):e00091618. Epub 2019 Feb 11. PMID: 30758455
Angélica Dos Santos Vianna
Mercury is a metal found in the environment from natural and anthropogenic sources. It is highly toxic to ecosystems and living beings. Most human exposures come from ingestion of contaminated seafood, outgassing from dental amalgam or occupational exposure (e.g. gold mining), among other cases. Large populations are exposed to mercury, making it a very important issue from the public health perspective. Adverse health effects are commonly seen in the nervous system, but every organ is a potential target, such as the bone marrow. The main goal of this study was to assess the available evidence on human exposure to mercury and its hematological effects. A search strategy was constructed, including key terms (MeSH, text word and equivalents) for querying 2 repositories of master dissertation and PhD thesis (Fiocruz/ARCA and University of São Paulo) and 4 different electronic databases: BVS/LILACS, MEDLINE/PubMed, Scopus and TOXLINE/NIH, for articles published from 1950 to February 2018. There was no language restriction and a tool (EPHPP) was used to assess the quality of included studies. According to pre-established criteria, 80 studies were retrieved, all of them observational (48 case reports, 24 cross-sectional, 6 case series and 2 cohorts), comprising 9,284 people. Despite the fact that most exposed ones (6,012) had normal blood cell count and mercury hematological effects did not seem very usual (1,914 cases: 14 severeand 29 deaths), three studies reported association (β) for anemia, lymphopenia, neutrophilia and basophilia. We concluded that the gathered information pointed to mercury hematotoxic effects, some of them may be serious and even fatal.