The Spaniards are the Europeans with the most mercury in their bodies

The Spaniards are the Europeans who have the most mercury in their organism due to the consumption of fish, according to a study in which the professor of Toxicology of the Univers has participated.

Spaniards are the Europeans who have the most mercury in their bodies due to the consumption of fish, according to a study in which the professor of Toxicology at the University of Murcia (UMU), Miguel Motas, took part. Within Spain, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean communities have the highest rates of this dangerous metal.

This work of human biomonitoring is framed within the context of a macro-study that is being carried out at European level to study the presence of different toxins in the organism of Europeans, and evidence that Spain has higher levels of the recommended mercury, above the rest of the EU states, followed by France, Italy or Greece.

This research also establishes that the inhabitants of Murcia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Andalusia and Catalonia are the ones with the most presence of this toxic metal, although their position in the hierarchy varies if what is taken into account are blood tests, of urine or hair, as reported by the UMU in a statement.

Also regions like Galicia and the Basque Country show high rates, although below the communities of the Mediterranean strip. The main conclusion is that these high levels of mercury are directly related to the consumption of fish and shellfish .

"The majority of the population studied is in the reference values ​​established by the World Health Organization (WHO), which implies that the presence of mercury in your body does not have direct effects on health , but it is about very high levels that must be monitored, "explains Professor Motas, who has done this study during his two-year stay as head of the Toxicology Area of ​​the National Center for Environmental Health, under the Carlos III Health Institute.


The consumption of tuna and swordfish is the one that most affects these high mercury rates in the inhabitants of the Mediterranean areas of Spain. "It is not that we have to stop eating these fish, but that their consumption is moderated," says Motas, who stresses that the greatest precaution "must have pregnant women and children . "

The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN) recommends not taking more than one or two cans of tuna a week for these two population groups at risk, according to Motas, who points out that the rest of the population simply "should have caution and balance the consumption of these fish with other smaller ones, since they do not present a presence of such large mercury ".

Mercury reaches the sea as a consequence of man's action and extends and magnifies through the food chain . It crosses the cell membranes and can affect the nervous system of adults. In the case of fetuses and children, the possibility of having damage due to the excessive presence of this toxic in the diet multiplies. One of the characteristics of methylmercury is that it is absorbed very quickly, taking a long time to be eliminated.

When fish consumption exceeds five times per week, analyzes of the presence of mercury reveal that it increases exponentially. In addition, the older, more presence of this toxic effect of a sustained diet over the years. By sex, women have a higher rate of mercury in their body.

This study has been carried out with 1,900 blood samples, 1,700 urine samples and 600 hair samples from people residing in Spain , which is the largest sample that a mercury biomonitoring study in Spain has ever had. Around 5 percent of people who have participated in the work have levels of mercury that pose a risk to their health.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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