The risk of mercury exposure to the people consuming fish from Lake Phewa, Nepal

Devna Singh Thapa, Chhatra Mani Sharma, Shichang Kang, Mika Sillanpää

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The risk of mercury exposure through consumption of fish from Lake Phewa, Nepal was investigated. A total of 170 people were surveyed to know their fish consumption levels. The weekly mercury (Hg) intake in the form of methylmercury (MeHg) through fish was calculated by using the data on average MeHg concentrations in fish, the average consumption of fish per week, and an average body weight of the people. Hotel owners were consuming significantly high amounts of fish, followed by fishermen, in comparison to the government staff, army/police, locals and others (visitors). Some individuals exceeded the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake (PTWI) of 1.6 μg per kg body weight of MeHg (FAO/WHO). The minimum intake of MeHg (0.05 μg/kg/week) was found in the visitors (others) category, whereas the hotel owners had the maximum intake (3.71 μg/kg/week). In general, it was found that a person of 60 kg can consume at least 2 kg of fish per week without exceeding PTWI such that it does not pose any health risk associated with Hg poisoning at the present contamination level. Hg based PTWI values for Nepal has not been proposed yet in fishery resources so as to reduce health risk of the people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6771-6779
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Fish consumption
  • Lake Phewa
  • Mercury exposure
  • Nepal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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