Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 6, 2013

Mini review of mercury contamination in environment and human with an emphasis on Malaysia: status and needs

  • Sarva Mangala Praveena EMAIL logo , Claire de Burbure , Ahmad Zaharin Aris and Zailina Hashim

Abstract

This article provides an overview of research on mercury (Hg) contamination in Malaysia and its evolution from 1979 to 2012. The objective of this paper was to review and provide an understanding of Hg exposures in the environment, humans, and food in Malaysia. Hg concentration in the environment is high in areas of West Port, Malacca Straits, Prai, and Johor because these areas receive anthropogenic metal loads brought about by industrial activities. Hg concentration in humans is related to seafood intake (dietary), environmental conditions, and different geographical locations. Hg levels in food showed higher concentration in the West coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Hg concentration is also present in the country’s tropical fruits, which is related to agrochemical and fertilizer usage. This review showed that there is an urgent need to identify Hg toxicology and bioaccumulation as well as the health effects of Hg exposure in different ecological compartments. This review aims to provide helpful recommendations for future Hg biomonitoring and research in Malaysia.


Corresponding author: Sarva Mangala Praveena, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor 43400, Malaysia, Phone: +60389472692, Fax: +60389472395, E-mail:

References

1. Kaoud HA, Zaki MM, Ismail MM. Effects of exposure of mercury on health in tropical Macrobrachium rosenbergii. Life Sci J 2011;8:154–63.Search in Google Scholar

2. Bank MS, Burgess JR, Evers DC, Loftin CS. Mercury contamination of biota from Acadia National Park, Maine: a review. Environ Monit Assess 2007;126:105–15.10.1007/s10661-006-9324-4Search in Google Scholar

3. Zhang L, Wong MH. Environmental mercury contamination in China: Sources and impacts. Environ Int 2007;33:108–21.10.1016/j.envint.2006.06.022Search in Google Scholar

4. Canário J, Vale C, Caetano M. Distribution of monomethylmercury and mercury in surface sediments of the Tagus Estuary (Portugal). Mar Pollut Bull 2005;50:1121–45.10.1016/j.marpolbul.2005.06.052Search in Google Scholar

5. Pirrone N, Mahaffey K. Dynamics of mercury pollution on regional and global scales. Norwell: Springer Verlag Publishers, 2005.10.1007/b105709Search in Google Scholar

6. Counter SA, Buchanan LH. Mercury exposure in children: a review. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2004;198:209–30.10.1016/j.taap.2003.11.032Search in Google Scholar

7. National Research Council. Toxicological effects of methylmercury. Washington: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2000.Search in Google Scholar

8. Ratcliffe HE, Swanson GM, Fischer LJ. Human exposure to mercury: a critical assessment of the evidence of adverse health effects. J Toxicol Environ Health 1996;49:221–70.10.1080/00984108.1996.11667600Search in Google Scholar

9. Afroz R, Hassan MN, Ibrahim NA. Review of air pollution and health impacts in Malaysia. Environ Res 2003; 92:71–7.10.1016/S0013-9351(02)00059-2Search in Google Scholar

10. Department of Environment. Environmental Quality Report 2008. Kuala Lumpur: Department of Environment, 2009.Search in Google Scholar

11. Downs SG, Macleod CL, Lester JN. Mercury in precipitation and its relation to bioaccumulation in fish: a literature review. Water Air Soil Pollut 1998;108:149–87.10.1023/A:1005023916816Search in Google Scholar

12. Tavakoly Sany B, Sulaiman AH, Monazami GH, Salleh A. Assessment of sediment quality according to heavy metal status in the West Port of Malaysia. World Academy of Sci Eng Technol 2001;74:639–43.Search in Google Scholar

13. Ebrahim Saraee KR, Abdi MR, Naghavi K, Saion E, Shafaei MA, et al. Distribution of heavy metals in surface sediments from the South China Sea ecosystem, Malaysia. Environ Monit Assess 2001;183:545–54.10.1007/s10661-011-1939-4Search in Google Scholar PubMed

14. Naji A, Ismail A. Risk assessment of mercury contamination in surface sediment of the Klang River, Malaysia. Australian J Basic App Sci 2011;5:215–21.Search in Google Scholar

15. Sultan K, Shazili NA, Stefan P. Distribution of Pb, As, Cd, Sn and Hg in soil, sediment and surface water of the tropical river watershed, Terengganu (Malaysia). J Hydro-Environ Res 2011;5:169–76.10.1016/j.jher.2011.03.001Search in Google Scholar

16. Abbas FM, Ahmad A, Ismail N, Mat Easa A. Multivariate analysis of heavy metals concentrations in river estuary. Environ Monit Assess 2008a;143:179–86.10.1007/s10661-007-9966-xSearch in Google Scholar

17. Abbas FMA, Ismail N, Mat Easa A. Assessment of arsenic and heavy metal contents in cockles (Anadara granosa) using multivariate statistical techniques. J Hazard Mater 2008b;150:783–9.10.1016/j.jhazmat.2007.05.035Search in Google Scholar

18. Shaikhah Sabri. Impact of water quality on seagrass meadow at Tanjung Kupang [dissertation]. Skudai: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 2009.Search in Google Scholar

19. Sakamoto H, Ichikawa T, Tomiyasu T, Sato M. Mercury concentration in environmental samples of Malaysia. Faculty of Science Kagoshima University. 2004;37:83–90.Search in Google Scholar

20. Zarcinas BA, Ishak CF, McLaughlin MJ, Cozens G. Heavy metals in soils and crops in Southeast Asia. 1. Peninsular Malaysia. Environ Geochem Health 2004;26:343–57.10.1007/s10653-005-4669-0Search in Google Scholar

21. Yap CK, Ismail A, Soon GT. Mercury concentrations in the surface sediments of the intertidal area along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Toxicol Environ Chem 2003;85:13–21.10.1080/0277224031000135049Search in Google Scholar

22. Wedepohl KH. The composition of the continental crust. Geochim. Cosmochim Ac 1995;59:1217–32.10.1016/0016-7037(95)00038-2Search in Google Scholar

23. Salminen R, Batista MJ, Bidovec M, Demetriades A, De Vivo B, et al. FOREGS geochemical atlas of Europe, part 1 background information. Espoo: Geological Survey of Finland, 2005.Search in Google Scholar

24. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Arsenic Occurrence in Public Drinking Water Supplies. Washington: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2000.Search in Google Scholar

25. Shazili NAM, Yunus K, Ahmad AS, Abdullah N, Rashid MKA. Heavy metal pollution status in the Malaysian aquatic environment. Aquat Ecosys Health Manage 2006;9:137–45.10.1080/14634980600724023Search in Google Scholar

26. Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nation/World Health Organization. List of maximum levels recommended for contaminants by the Joint FAO/WHO. Netherlands: Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods, 2004.Search in Google Scholar

27. Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council. Australian water quality guidelines for fresh and marine waters. Melbourne: Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, 1992.Search in Google Scholar

28. Yusof AM, Thanapalasingham V, Wood AKH. Assessment of the health of a river ecosystem due to the impact of pollution from industrial discharge using instrumental neutron activation analysis and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. J Radioanal Nucl Ch 2007;273:525–31.10.1007/s10967-007-0903-9Search in Google Scholar

29. Kamuruzzaman Y, Rina Z, Akbar John B, Jalal KCA. Heavy metals accumulation in commercially important fishes of South West Malaysian Coast. Res J Environ Sci 2011;5:595–602.10.3923/rjes.2011.595.602Search in Google Scholar

30. Rezai H, Yusoff FM, Yap CK. Mercury in zooplankton from the Malacca Straits. Indian J Mar Sci 2003;32:240–43.Search in Google Scholar

31. Law AT, Singh A. Relationships between heavy metals content and body weight of fish from the Kelang Estuary. Mar Pollut Bull 1991;13:217–8.Search in Google Scholar

32. Sivalingam PM. Mercury contamination in tropical algal species of the island of Penang, Malaysia. Mar Pollut Bull 1980;11:106–7.10.1016/0025-326X(80)90257-XSearch in Google Scholar

33. Babji AS, Embong MS, Woon WW. Heavy metal contents in coastal water fishes of West Malaysia. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 1979;23:830–6.10.1007/BF01770050Search in Google Scholar PubMed

34. Yahya MN, Zubir. The effect of metals accumulation on aquaculture from Juru River. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia, 1994.Search in Google Scholar

35. Rahman SA, Wood AK, Sarmani S, Majid AA. Determination of mercury and organic mercury contents in Malaysian seafood. J Radioanal Nucl Ch 1997;217:53–6.10.1007/BF02055348Search in Google Scholar

36. Tengku Hanidza TI, Tunku Khalkausar F, Yasutake A, Sharifuddin MZ, Hafizan J, et al. Hair Mercury Levels in Relation to Marine Fish Consumption among Adults in Malaysia. Environment Asia 2011;3:175–85.Search in Google Scholar

37. Hajeb P, Jinab A, Ismail A, Fatimah AB, Jamilah B, et al. Hair mercury level of coastal communities in Malaysia: a linkage with fish consumption. Eur Food Res Technol 2008;227:1349–55.10.1007/s00217-008-0851-9Search in Google Scholar

38. Hajeb P, Jinap S, Ismail A, Fatimah AB, Jamilah B, et al. Assessment of mercury level in commonly consumed marine fishes in Malaysia. Food Control 2009;20:79–84.10.1016/j.foodcont.2008.02.012Search in Google Scholar

39. Tan BS, Sahani M, Wan M, Muttalib K, Sulaiman N, et al. Urinary mercury levels in oral healthcare personnel in Malaysia. The Preliminary Program for IADR General Session & Exhibition. Brisbane, Australia, 2006.Search in Google Scholar

40. Sarmani SB, Alakili I. Determination of total mercury and methylmercury in hair samples from residents of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by neutron activation analysis. J Radioanal Nucl Ch 2004;259:261–4.10.1023/B:JRNC.0000017299.35903.b7Search in Google Scholar

41. Khidzir AM, Sarmani S, Isa ZM. Kajian paras merkuri rambut wanita mengandung di Shah Alam, Selangor. Shah Alam: Jabatan Kesihatan Masyarakat, 2004.Search in Google Scholar

42. Sivalingam PM, Ahzura S. Mercury content in hair from fishing communities of the State of Penang, Malaysia. Mar Pollut Bull 1980;11:188–91.10.1016/0025-326X(80)90490-7Search in Google Scholar

43. Alina M, Azrina A, Mohd Yunus AA, Mohd Zakiuddin S, Mohd Izuan Effendi H, et al. Heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, cadmium, plumbum) in selected marine fish and shellfish along the Straits of Malacca. Int Food Res J 2012;19:135–40.Search in Google Scholar

44. Irwandi J, Farida O. Mineral and heavy metal contents of marine fin fish in Langkawi Island, Malaysia. Int Food Res J 2009;16:105–12.Search in Google Scholar

45. Agusa T, Kunito T, Yasunaga G, Iwata H, Subramanian A, et al. Concentrations of trace elements in marine fish and its risk assessment in Malaysia. Mar Pollut Bull 2005;51:896–911.10.1016/j.marpolbul.2005.06.007Search in Google Scholar PubMed

46. Ang HH, Ng KL. Contamination of mercury in Tongkat Ali Hitam herbal preparations. Food Chem Toxicol 2000;44:1245–50.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2013-9-10
Accepted: 2013-11-1
Published Online: 2013-12-06
Published in Print: 2013-12-01

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

Downloaded on 7.2.2023 from https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/reveh-2013-0011/html
Scroll Up Arrow