Mercury is widespread in our environment. Methylmercury, one organic form of mercury, can accumulate up the aquatic food chain and lead to high concentrations in predatory fish. When consumed by humans, contaminated fish represent a public health risk.
Combustion processes, especially coal-fired power plants, are major sources of mercury contamination in the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering regulating mercury emissions from those plants.
Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury reviews the health effects of methylmercury and discusses the estimation of mercury exposure from measured biomarkers, how differences between individuals affect mercury toxicity, and appropriate statistical methods for analysis of the data and thoroughly compares the epidemiological studies available on methylmercury. Included are discussions of current mercury levels on public health and a delineation of the scientific aspects and policy decisions involved in the regulation of mercury.
This report is a valuable resource for individuals interested in the public health effects and regulation of mercury. The report also provides an excellent example of the implications of decisions in the risk assessment process for a larger audience.
National Research Council. Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000.
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