Economic benefits of methylmercury exposure control in Europe: Monetary value of neurotoxicity prevention

Martine Bellanger, Céline Pichery, Dominique Aerts, Marika Berglund, Argelia Castaño, Mája Čejchanová, Pierre Crettaz, Fred Davidson, Marta Esteban, Marc E. Fischer, Anca Elena Gurzau, Katarina Halzlova, Andromachi Katsonouri, Lisbeth E. Knudsen, Marike Kolossa-Gehring, Gudrun Koppen, Danuta Ligocka, Ana Miklavčič, M. Fátima Reis, P. RudnaiJanja Snoj Tratnik, Pál Weihe, Esben Budtz-Jorgensen, Philippe Grandjean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Background: Due to global mercury pollution and the adverse health effects of prenatal exposure to methylmercury (MeHg), an assessment of the economic benefits of prevented developmental neurotoxicity is necessary for any cost-benefit analysis. Methods. Distributions of hair-Hg concentrations among women of reproductive age were obtained from the DEMOCOPHES project (1,875 subjects in 17 countries) and literature data (6,820 subjects from 8 countries). The exposures were assumed to comply with log-normal distributions. Neurotoxicity effects were estimated from a linear dose-response function with a slope of 0.465 Intelligence Quotient (IQ) point reduction per μg/g increase in the maternal hair-Hg concentration during pregnancy, assuming no deficits below a hair-Hg limit of 0.58μg/g thought to be safe. A logarithmic IQ response was used in sensitivity analyses. The estimated IQ benefit cost was based on lifetime income, adjusted for purchasing power parity. Results: The hair-mercury concentrations were the highest in Southern Europe and lowest in Eastern Europe. The results suggest that, within the EU, more than 1.8 million children are born every year with MeHg exposures above the limit of 0.58μg/g, and about 200,000 births exceed a higher limit of 2.5μg/g proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The total annual benefits of exposure prevention within the EU were estimated at more than 600,000 IQ points per year, corresponding to a total economic benefit between 8,000 million and 9,000 million per year. About four-fold higher values were obtained when using the logarithmic response function, while adjustment for productivity resulted in slightly lower total benefits. These calculations do not include the less tangible advantages of protecting brain development against neurotoxicity or any other adverse effects. Conclusions: These estimates document that efforts to combat mercury pollution and to reduce MeHg exposures will have very substantial economic benefits in Europe, mainly in southern countries. Some data may not be entirely representative, some countries were not covered, and anticipated changes in mercury pollution all suggest a need for extended biomonitoring of human MeHg exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Mercury
Intelligence
Hair
Economics
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Eastern Europe
Environmental Monitoring
Normal Distribution
Parity
Mothers
Parturition
Pregnancy
Health
Brain

Keywords

  • Economic evaluation
  • Methylmercury
  • Neurodevelopmental deficits
  • Prenatal exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Economic benefits of methylmercury exposure control in Europe : Monetary value of neurotoxicity prevention. / Bellanger, Martine; Pichery, Céline; Aerts, Dominique; Berglund, Marika; Castaño, Argelia; Čejchanová, Mája; Crettaz, Pierre; Davidson, Fred; Esteban, Marta; Fischer, Marc E.; Gurzau, Anca Elena; Halzlova, Katarina; Katsonouri, Andromachi; Knudsen, Lisbeth E.; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike; Koppen, Gudrun; Ligocka, Danuta; Miklavčič, Ana; Reis, M. Fátima; Rudnai, P.; Tratnik, Janja Snoj; Weihe, Pál; Budtz-Jorgensen, Esben; Grandjean, Philippe.

In: Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, Vol. 12, No. 1, 3, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bellanger, M, Pichery, C, Aerts, D, Berglund, M, Castaño, A, Čejchanová, M, Crettaz, P, Davidson, F, Esteban, M, Fischer, ME, Gurzau, AE, Halzlova, K, Katsonouri, A, Knudsen, LE, Kolossa-Gehring, M, Koppen, G, Ligocka, D, Miklavčič, A, Reis, MF, Rudnai, P, Tratnik, JS, Weihe, P, Budtz-Jorgensen, E & Grandjean, P 2013, 'Economic benefits of methylmercury exposure control in Europe: Monetary value of neurotoxicity prevention', Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, vol. 12, no. 1, 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-069X-12-3
Bellanger, Martine ; Pichery, Céline ; Aerts, Dominique ; Berglund, Marika ; Castaño, Argelia ; Čejchanová, Mája ; Crettaz, Pierre ; Davidson, Fred ; Esteban, Marta ; Fischer, Marc E. ; Gurzau, Anca Elena ; Halzlova, Katarina ; Katsonouri, Andromachi ; Knudsen, Lisbeth E. ; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike ; Koppen, Gudrun ; Ligocka, Danuta ; Miklavčič, Ana ; Reis, M. Fátima ; Rudnai, P. ; Tratnik, Janja Snoj ; Weihe, Pál ; Budtz-Jorgensen, Esben ; Grandjean, Philippe. / Economic benefits of methylmercury exposure control in Europe : Monetary value of neurotoxicity prevention. In: Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source. 2013 ; Vol. 12, No. 1.
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abstract = "Background: Due to global mercury pollution and the adverse health effects of prenatal exposure to methylmercury (MeHg), an assessment of the economic benefits of prevented developmental neurotoxicity is necessary for any cost-benefit analysis. Methods. Distributions of hair-Hg concentrations among women of reproductive age were obtained from the DEMOCOPHES project (1,875 subjects in 17 countries) and literature data (6,820 subjects from 8 countries). The exposures were assumed to comply with log-normal distributions. Neurotoxicity effects were estimated from a linear dose-response function with a slope of 0.465 Intelligence Quotient (IQ) point reduction per μg/g increase in the maternal hair-Hg concentration during pregnancy, assuming no deficits below a hair-Hg limit of 0.58μg/g thought to be safe. A logarithmic IQ response was used in sensitivity analyses. The estimated IQ benefit cost was based on lifetime income, adjusted for purchasing power parity. Results: The hair-mercury concentrations were the highest in Southern Europe and lowest in Eastern Europe. The results suggest that, within the EU, more than 1.8 million children are born every year with MeHg exposures above the limit of 0.58μg/g, and about 200,000 births exceed a higher limit of 2.5μg/g proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The total annual benefits of exposure prevention within the EU were estimated at more than 600,000 IQ points per year, corresponding to a total economic benefit between 8,000 million and 9,000 million per year. About four-fold higher values were obtained when using the logarithmic response function, while adjustment for productivity resulted in slightly lower total benefits. These calculations do not include the less tangible advantages of protecting brain development against neurotoxicity or any other adverse effects. Conclusions: These estimates document that efforts to combat mercury pollution and to reduce MeHg exposures will have very substantial economic benefits in Europe, mainly in southern countries. Some data may not be entirely representative, some countries were not covered, and anticipated changes in mercury pollution all suggest a need for extended biomonitoring of human MeHg exposure.",
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T1 - Economic benefits of methylmercury exposure control in Europe

T2 - Monetary value of neurotoxicity prevention

AU - Bellanger, Martine

AU - Pichery, Céline

AU - Aerts, Dominique

AU - Berglund, Marika

AU - Castaño, Argelia

AU - Čejchanová, Mája

AU - Crettaz, Pierre

AU - Davidson, Fred

AU - Esteban, Marta

AU - Fischer, Marc E.

AU - Gurzau, Anca Elena

AU - Halzlova, Katarina

AU - Katsonouri, Andromachi

AU - Knudsen, Lisbeth E.

AU - Kolossa-Gehring, Marike

AU - Koppen, Gudrun

AU - Ligocka, Danuta

AU - Miklavčič, Ana

AU - Reis, M. Fátima

AU - Rudnai, P.

AU - Tratnik, Janja Snoj

AU - Weihe, Pál

AU - Budtz-Jorgensen, Esben

AU - Grandjean, Philippe

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Background: Due to global mercury pollution and the adverse health effects of prenatal exposure to methylmercury (MeHg), an assessment of the economic benefits of prevented developmental neurotoxicity is necessary for any cost-benefit analysis. Methods. Distributions of hair-Hg concentrations among women of reproductive age were obtained from the DEMOCOPHES project (1,875 subjects in 17 countries) and literature data (6,820 subjects from 8 countries). The exposures were assumed to comply with log-normal distributions. Neurotoxicity effects were estimated from a linear dose-response function with a slope of 0.465 Intelligence Quotient (IQ) point reduction per μg/g increase in the maternal hair-Hg concentration during pregnancy, assuming no deficits below a hair-Hg limit of 0.58μg/g thought to be safe. A logarithmic IQ response was used in sensitivity analyses. The estimated IQ benefit cost was based on lifetime income, adjusted for purchasing power parity. Results: The hair-mercury concentrations were the highest in Southern Europe and lowest in Eastern Europe. The results suggest that, within the EU, more than 1.8 million children are born every year with MeHg exposures above the limit of 0.58μg/g, and about 200,000 births exceed a higher limit of 2.5μg/g proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The total annual benefits of exposure prevention within the EU were estimated at more than 600,000 IQ points per year, corresponding to a total economic benefit between 8,000 million and 9,000 million per year. About four-fold higher values were obtained when using the logarithmic response function, while adjustment for productivity resulted in slightly lower total benefits. These calculations do not include the less tangible advantages of protecting brain development against neurotoxicity or any other adverse effects. Conclusions: These estimates document that efforts to combat mercury pollution and to reduce MeHg exposures will have very substantial economic benefits in Europe, mainly in southern countries. Some data may not be entirely representative, some countries were not covered, and anticipated changes in mercury pollution all suggest a need for extended biomonitoring of human MeHg exposure.

AB - Background: Due to global mercury pollution and the adverse health effects of prenatal exposure to methylmercury (MeHg), an assessment of the economic benefits of prevented developmental neurotoxicity is necessary for any cost-benefit analysis. Methods. Distributions of hair-Hg concentrations among women of reproductive age were obtained from the DEMOCOPHES project (1,875 subjects in 17 countries) and literature data (6,820 subjects from 8 countries). The exposures were assumed to comply with log-normal distributions. Neurotoxicity effects were estimated from a linear dose-response function with a slope of 0.465 Intelligence Quotient (IQ) point reduction per μg/g increase in the maternal hair-Hg concentration during pregnancy, assuming no deficits below a hair-Hg limit of 0.58μg/g thought to be safe. A logarithmic IQ response was used in sensitivity analyses. The estimated IQ benefit cost was based on lifetime income, adjusted for purchasing power parity. Results: The hair-mercury concentrations were the highest in Southern Europe and lowest in Eastern Europe. The results suggest that, within the EU, more than 1.8 million children are born every year with MeHg exposures above the limit of 0.58μg/g, and about 200,000 births exceed a higher limit of 2.5μg/g proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The total annual benefits of exposure prevention within the EU were estimated at more than 600,000 IQ points per year, corresponding to a total economic benefit between 8,000 million and 9,000 million per year. About four-fold higher values were obtained when using the logarithmic response function, while adjustment for productivity resulted in slightly lower total benefits. These calculations do not include the less tangible advantages of protecting brain development against neurotoxicity or any other adverse effects. Conclusions: These estimates document that efforts to combat mercury pollution and to reduce MeHg exposures will have very substantial economic benefits in Europe, mainly in southern countries. Some data may not be entirely representative, some countries were not covered, and anticipated changes in mercury pollution all suggest a need for extended biomonitoring of human MeHg exposure.

KW - Economic evaluation

KW - Methylmercury

KW - Neurodevelopmental deficits

KW - Prenatal exposure

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