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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 849305, 6 pages
Research Article

Relationship between RBC Mercury Levels and Serum n3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Concentrations among Japanese Men and Women

1Department of Environmental Health, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, 1-1 Iseigaoka, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyusyu 807-8555, Japan
2Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8544, Japan
3Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, 1-1-1 Honjo, Kumamoto City 860-8556, Japan

Received 20 July 2011; Revised 1 November 2011; Accepted 8 November 2011

Academic Editor: David Strogatz

Copyright © 2012 Mayumi Tsuji 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.


Aims. To evaluate potential health risk and benefits of fish consumption, the association of fish consumption with total mercury levels in red blood cells (RBCs) and serum eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) concentrations was examined. Subjects and Methods. Study subjects were 269 Japanese (98 men and 171 women) living in a remote island of Kagoshima, and their blood was drawn in 1994. Results. Total mercury levels were related to weekly fish consumption among women ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 3 5 ) but not among men ( 𝑃 = 0 . 6 4 3 ). However, serum EPA levels were not related to fish consumption in both women and men. In contrast, EPA levels in the high-density ipoprotein (HDL) fraction of the sera were significantly related to fish consumption (P values for men and women were 0.014 and 0.073, resp.). Interestingly, mercury levels were related to serum EPA levels and EPA in the HDL fraction of the sera ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 1 ) among women ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 5 ) but not among men. Sex differences in fish species consumed may be an explanation for the observed sex difference. Conclusion. Those findings suggest that the health benefit of fish consumption can be maximized by the careful selection of fish species consumed.