Breast-milk mercury concentrations and amalgam surface in mothers from Brasília, Brazil

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005 Aug;106(2):145-51. doi: 10.1385/BTER:106:2:145.


Human milk is the best source of nourishment for the newborn because of its incomparable balanced nutrition and psychological benefits to the infant's development. Dental fillings containing metallic Hg are the primary source of inorganic Hg contamination of humans. We studied Hg concentrations in the breast milk of mothers during the first month (7-30 d) postnatal in relation to the number of amalgam surfaces. The concentration of total Hg was determined in 23 samples of human milk collected from lactating mothers with a varied number of amalgam dental restorations. The average number of amalgam surfaces was 6.87 (5.81, SD) with a range of 0 to 20. The mean concentration of total Hg in breast milk was 5.73 ng/g (range: 0-23.07). The Pearson correlation coefficient was significant (r = 0.6087, p = 0.0057) between breast-milk Hg and number of amalgam surfaces. In 56.5% of low-fish-eating mothers, the amount of Hg likely to be ingested by breast-fed infants is above the World Health Organization reference.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brazil
  • Dental Amalgam / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mercury / analysis*
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Statistics as Topic


  • Dental Amalgam
  • Mercury