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Title: Mercury contamination in humans linked to river chemistry in the Amazon basin
Authors: Silva-Forsberg, Maria Clara
Forsberg, Bruce Rider
Zeidemann, Vivian Karina
Keywords: Mercury (element)
Organic Carbon
Pollution Exposure
River Pollution
Cellular Organisms
Issue Date: 1999
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Ambio
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 28, Número 6, Pags. 519-521
Abstract: Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and pH are key variables influencing mercury levels in freshwater biota. DOC complexes with mercury, facilitates its transport to and accumulation in aquatic ecosystems. Low pH favors the methylation and bioaccumulation of mercury in aquatic food chains. Mercury concentrations in predatory fish tend to be positively correlated with DOC and negatively correlated with pH. We encountered a similar pattern for fish-eating human populations in the upper Rio Negro, a black water tributary of the Amazon river. The highest levels of human contamination were encountered in affluents with exceptionally high DOC and low pH. When data from other Amazonian tributaries were included, a general pattern emerged. Hair mercury was positively correlated with river DOC and negatively correlated with pH. No clear effect of gold-mining activities was encountered. The results demonstrate the importance of river chemistry in determining the pattern of mercury contamination in the Amazon basin.
Appears in Collections:Artigos

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