Letter | Published:

Correlation between selenium and mercury in man following exposure to inorganic mercury

Naturevolume 254pages238239 (1975) | Download Citation



THE ability of selenium compounds to modify profoundly the toxicity of both organic and inorganic mercury compounds has been demonstrated in experimental animals by Parizek and co-workers1,2. The analytical data of Ganther et al.3 on tuna and of Koeman et al.4 on marine mammals showed that natural levels of mercury and selenium are strongly correlated. Here we report an approximately molar ratio for these elements in certain human organs following exposure to high levels of inorganic mercury.

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  1. 1

    Parizek, J., et al., in Newer Trace Elements in Nutrition (edit. by Mertz, W., and Cornatzer, W. E.), 85–119 (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1971).

  2. 2

    Parizek, J., in Nuclear Activation Techniques in the Life Sciences, 177–194 (IAEA, Vienna, 1972), and references therein.

  3. 3

    Ganther, H. E., et al., Science, 175, 1122–1124 (1972).

  4. 4

    Koeman, J. H., et al., Nature, 245, 385–386 (1973).

  5. 5

    Kosta, L., et al., in Isotope Tracer Studies of Chemical Residues in Food and the Agricultural Environment, 87–102 (IAEA, Vienna, 1974).

  6. 6

    Kosta, L., et al., in Comparative Studies of Food and Environmental Contamination, 541–550 (IAEA, Vienna, 1974).

  7. 7

    Kosta, L., and Byrne, A. R., Talanta, 16, 1297–1303 (1969).

  8. 8

    Byrne, A. R., and Kosta, L., Talanta, 21, 1083–1090 (1974).

  9. 9

    Zelenko, V., and Kosta, L., Talanta, 20, 115–123 (1973).

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  1. Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology

    • L. KOSTA
  2. J. Stefan Institute

    • A. R. BYRNE
  3. Medical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, 61001, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia

    • V. ZELENKO


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