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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 945963, 9 pages
Research Article

Mercury Speciation in Hair of Children in Three Communities of the Amazon, Brazil

1Evandro Chagas Institute, 316 Km, 07 Road, Levilândia, 67030-000 Ananindeua, PA, Brazil
2Federal University of Pará, 01 Augusto Corrêa Street, Guamá, 66075-110 Belém, PA, Brazil

Received 21 October 2013; Accepted 27 January 2014; Published 11 March 2014

Academic Editor: Erhan Unlu

Copyright © 2014 Jamile Salim Marinho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Children from riverside communities located downstream of gold mining areas may be chronically exposed to relatively high levels of MeHg through the consumption of fish of this region. The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare levels of THg and MeHg in hair of children less than 12 years in communities near mines in the municipality of Itaituba and in communities far from prospecting areas in the city of Abaetetuba. The communities of Itaituba (Barreiras and São Luiz do Tapajós) had THg mean levels of μg·g−1 (0.43–27.82) and μg.g−1 (1.08–28.17), respectively, and an average count of MeHg relative to THg of 92.20% and 90.27%, respectively. In the Maranhão community, the THg average concentrations results were μg·g−1 (0.13–9.54) and the average values were 93.17% for MeHg. Children of Itaituba had average levels of mercury above the limit established by the World Health Organization (10 μg·g−1) and the strong correlation coefficient between the communities ( and ) suggests the hair as an excellent biomarker of human exposure to organic mercury in riverside populations of the Tapajós, which has the intake of fish daily as main source of protein dietary.