Scalp hair and saliva as biomarkers in determination of mercury levels in Iranian women: amalgam as a determinant of exposure.

Research paper by H H Fakour, A A Esmaili-Sari, F F Zayeri

Indexed on: 26 Dec '09Published on: 26 Dec '09Published in: Journal of Hazardous Materials


The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between mercury concentrations in saliva and hair in women with amalgam fillings and its relation with age and number of amalgam fillings. Eighty-two hair and saliva samples were collected randomly from Iranian women who have the same fish consumption pattern and free from occupational exposures. The mean+/-SD age of these women was 29.37+/-8.12 (ranged from 20 to 56). The determination of Hg level in hair samples was carried out by the LECO, AMA 254, Advanced Mercury Analyzer according to ASTM, standard No. D-6722. Mercury concentration in saliva samples was analyzed by PERKIN-ELMER 3030 Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. The mean+/-SD mercury level in the women was 1.28+/-1.38 microg/g in hair and 4.14+/-4.08 microg/l in saliva; and there were positive correlation among them. A significant correlation was also observed between Hg level of saliva (Spearman's rho=0.93, P<0.001) and hair (Spearman's rho=0.92, P<0.001) with number of amalgam fillings. According to the results, we can conclude that amalgam fillings may be an effective source for high Hg concentration in hair and releasing the mercury to the saliva samples.