Mercury, Methylmercury and Selenium Concentrations in Elasmobranch Meat

Published on
11 January 2022

Determination of Mercury, Methylmercury and Selenium Concentrations in Elasmobranch Meat: Fish Consumption Safety

Arianna Storelli, Grazia Barone, Rita Garofalo, Antonio Busco, Maria Maddalena Storelli


This study measures total mercury (THg), methylmercury (MeHg) and selenium (Se) concentrations in elasmobranch fish from an Italian market with the aim of evaluating the risk-benefit associated with their consumption, using estimated weekly intake (EWI), permissible safety level (MeHgPSL), selenium health benefit value (HBVSe) and monthly consumption rate limit (CRmm) for each species. THg and Se were analysed by atomic absorption spectrometry, while MeHg was determined by HrGc/Ms. THg and MeHg concentrations ranged from 0.61 to 1.25 μg g−1 w.w. and from 0.57 to 0.97 μg g−1 w.w., respectively, whereas Se levels were 0.49–0.65 μg g−1 w.w. In most samples European Community limits for THg were surpassed, while for MeHg none of the fish had levels above the limit adopted by FAO/WHO. EWIs for THg and MeHg in many cases were above the provisional tolerable weekly intakes (PTWIs). MeHgPSL estimate showed that fish should contain approximately 50% of the concentration measured to avoid exceeding the PTWI. Nevertheless, the HBVSe index indicated that solely skates were safe for human consumption (HBVSe = 3.57–6.22). Our results highlight the importance of a constant monitoring of THg and MeHg level in fish, especially in apex predators, to avoid the risk of overexposure for consumers.

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 788. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19020788


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