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March 10, 1999

Effects of Methylmercury Exposure on Neurodevelopment

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(10):896-897. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-10-jac90000

To the Editor: The article by Dr Davidson and colleagues1 presents an important public health issue but is uninformative for several reasons. The mercury (Hg) content of the mother's hair was used as an indicator of fetal exposure to methylmercury (MeHg). However, a study in the Faroe Islands2 showed that this biomarker does not correlate closely with the Hg that has reached the fetal circulation. As expected, the cord-blood concentration is a better overall predictor of neurobehavioral risks.3