University of Oulu

Bryan Adlard, Mélanie Lemire, Eva C. Bonefeld-Jørgensen, Manhai Long, Kristín Ólafsdóttir, Jon O. Odland, Arja Rautio, Päivi Myllynen, Torkjel M. Sandanger, Alexey A. Dudarev, Ingvar A. Bergdahl, Maria Wennberg, James Berner & Pierre Ayotte (2021) MercuNorth – monitoring mercury in pregnant women from the Arctic as a baseline to assess the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention, International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 80:1, DOI: 10.1080/22423982.2021.1881345

MercuNorth : monitoring mercury in pregnant women from the Arctic as a baseline to assess the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention

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Author: Adlard, Bryan1; Lemire, Mélanie2,3; Bonefeld-Jørgensen, Eva C.4,5;
Organizations: 1Population Studies Division, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
2Axe Santé Des Populations Et Pratiques Optimales En Santé, Centre De Recherche Du CHU De Québec, Québec, QC, Canada
3Département De Médecine Sociale Et Préventive, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada
4Center for Arctic Health & Molecular Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark
5Greenland Center for Health Research, University of Greenland, Nuuk, Greenland
6dCenter for Arctic Health & Molecular Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark
7Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
8Institute of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
9International Research Laboratory for Reproductive Ecotoxicology (IL RET), The National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
10Thule Institute and Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu and University of Arctic, Oulu, Finland
11Northern Finland Laboratory Centre Nordlab, Northern Finland Laboratory Centre Nordlab, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
12Environmental Chemistry Department, NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research, the Fram Centre, Tromsø, Norway
13lDepartment of Community Medicine, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso, Norway
14Department of Arctic Environmental Health, Northwest Public Health Research Center, St. Petersburg, Russia
15Section of Sustainable Health, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
16Department of Environment and Health, Division of Community Health, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, Alaska, USA
17Centre De Toxicologie, Institut National De Santé Publique Du Québec, Québec, QC, Canada
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-09-21


Exposure to mercury (Hg) is a global concern, particularly among Arctic populations that rely on the consumption of marine mammals and fish which are the main route of Hg exposure for Arctic populations. The MercuNorth project was created to establish baseline Hg levels across several Arctic regions during the period preceding the Minamata Convention. Blood samples were collected from 669 pregnant women, aged 18–44 years, between 2010 and 2016 from sites across the circumpolar Arctic including Alaska (USA), Nunavik (Canada), Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Northern Lapland (Finland) and Murmansk Oblast (Russia). Descriptive statistics were calculated, multiple pairwise comparisons were made between regions, and unadjusted linear trend analyses were performed. Geometric mean concentrations of total Hg were highest in Nunavik (5.20 µg/L) and Greenland (3.79 µg/L), followed by Alaska (2.13 µg/L), with much lower concentrations observed in the other regions (ranged between 0.48 and 1.29 µg/L). In Nunavik, Alaska and Greenland, blood Hg concentrations have decreased significantly since 1992, 2000 and 2010 respectively with % annual decreases of 4.7%, 7.5% and 2.7%, respectively. These circumpolar data combined with fish and marine mammal consumption data can be used for assessing long-term Hg trends and the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention.

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Series: International journal of circumpolar health
ISSN: 1239-9736
ISSN-E: 2242-3982
ISSN-L: 1239-9736
Volume: 80
Issue: 1
Article number: 1881345
DOI: 10.1080/22423982.2021.1881345
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 317 Pharmacy
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This work was supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers [Project #14137]; Swedish Environmental Protection Agency [n/a]; Kolarctic ENPI CBC 2007-2013 programme [n/a]; Danish Environmental Agency [n/a].
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.