Vol 64 No 2 (2019): Journal of the Chilean Chemical Society
Original Research Papers


Manuel A. Bravo
Laboratorio de Química Analítica y Ambiental, Instituto de Química, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Sonnia Parra
Laboratorio de Química Analítica y Ambiental, Instituto de Química, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Waldo Quiroz
Laboratorio de Química Analítica y Ambiental, Instituto de Química, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Alexander Neaman
Escuela de Agronomía, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Published July 25, 2019
  • Mercury concentration,
  • Human hair,
  • Fish consumption


In the present study, we assessed mercury exposure of residents of different sites of Valparaiso Region (Chile) due to fish consumption and atmospheric contamination from coal-burning power plant and copper smelter. Total mercury concentration was determined in 199 hair samples and in 14 species of marine fish, purchased in the supermarket or collected in the studied fishing villages. The total mercury (THg) concentrations ranged from 0.04 to 1.78 μg g-1 in human hair samples and from 0.04 to 3.87 μg g-1 in fish samples. Importantly, hair mercury concentration was significantly higher in the case of population exposed to mercury exclusively by fish consumption (e.g. Quintay and Zapallar), in comparison to the residents exposed to industrial emissions and fish consumption (e.g. Puchuncavi, Las Ventanas, Quintero). Finally, high mercury concentrations were observed in fish types commonly consumed by the residents of the fishing villages, evidencing human exposure to mercury through fish consumption.


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