Detecting mercury exposure
Once absorbed and circulating, mercury becomes bound to numerous proteins, including keratin. The concentration of mercury in nails correlates with the severity of clinical symptoms. If the nails can be segregated by length, such an exercise can be useful in identifying the time of exposure.
0-15 years: not established
> or =16 years: 0.0-0.9 mcg/g of nails
Normally, nails contains <1 mcg/g mercury; any amount more than this indicates that exposure to more than normal amounts of mercury has occurred.
Clinical Reference Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature
1. Marques R, Do’rea J, Bastos W, and Malm O. Changes in children hair-Hg concentrations during the first 5 years: Maternal, environmental and iatrogenic modifying factors. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2007;49:17–24
2. Canuel R, de Grosbois S, Atikesse L, and Lucotte M. New Evidence on Variations of Human Body Burden of Methylmercury from Fish Consumption. Environ Health Perspect 2006;114:302–306