Mercury exposure via breast-milk in infants from a suburban area of Ankara, Turkey

Turk J Pediatr. 2012 Mar-Apr;54(2):136-43.


The objective of this study was to evaluate mercury (Hg) levels in breast-milk in the postpartum 2nd month and to determine the relationship between Hg levels and sociodemographic parameters, maternal nutritional habits, presence of dental amalgam, maternal depression, maternal anemia, and growth status of infants. One hundred forty-four mothers residing in a suburban area in Ankara were invited at the 2nd month postpartum. A questionnaire concerning sociodemographic characteristics, vitamin intake during pregnancy and in the 2nd month postpartum, consumption of fish and viscera, smoking habits, and presence of dental fillings was applied. Hg could be detected in samples of 18% of the mothers, all levels of which were higher than the Hg limit in breast-milk reported by the World Health Organization. The Hg levels were higher in mothers who consumed viscera than in those who did not. Turkish women can still safely breastfeed their children, but Hg contamination in breast-milk should be monitored during the lactation period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Diet
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Mercury / analysis*
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Suburban Population
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Mercury