Mercury in children: Current state on exposure through human biomonitoring studies

Flavia Ruggieri, Costanza Majorani, Francesco Domanico, Alessandro Alimonti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Mercury (Hg) in children has multiple exposure sources and the toxicity of Hg compounds depends on exposure routes, dose, timing of exposure, and developmental stage (be it prenatal or postnatal). Over the last decades, Hg was widely recognized as a threat to the children’s health and there have been acknowledgements at the international level of the need of a global policy intervention—like the Minamata treaty—aimed at reducing or preventing Hg exposure and protecting the child health. National human biomonitoring (HBM) data has demonstrated that low levels of exposure of Hg are still an important health concern for children, which no one country can solve alone. Although independent HBM surveys have provided the basis for the achievements of exposure mitigation in specific contexts, a new paradigm for a coordinated global monitoring of children’s exposure, aimed at a reliable decision-making tool at global level is yet a great challenge for the next future. The objective of the present review is to describe current HBM studies on Hg exposure in children, taking into account the potential pathways of Hg exposure and the actual Hg exposure levels assessed by different biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number519
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 12 2017


  • Biomarkers
  • Children’s health
  • Human biomonitoring (HBM)
  • Mercury exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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