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Methylmercury poisoning in the harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus)

Authors
Journal
The Science of The Total Environment
0048-9697
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
8
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0048-9697(77)90057-2
Disciplines
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Hematological and blood chemistry values were examined in harp seals ( Pagophilus groenlandicus) exposed to daily oral dosages of methylmercuric chloride (MMC). Two seals, exposed to 0.25 mg MMC/kg body weight/day for 60 and 90 days, respectively, did not show abnormal blood values. Two other seals exposed to 25.0 mg MMC/kg body weight/day died on day 20 and 26 of exposure. Blood parameters indicated toxic hepatitis, uremia and renal failure. Total mercury and methylmercury values in the tissues of the experimental animals indicated that harp seals can tolerate high levels of mercury in the brain and that the observed renal and hepatic dysfunction were related to the high accumulation of mercury in these tissues. Tests of renal function are useful in cases of severe methylmercury poisoning.

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