Economic Evaluation of Health Consequences of Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure in France

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Economic Evaluation of Health Consequences of Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure in France

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Title: Economic Evaluation of Health Consequences of Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure in France
Author: Pichery, Céline; Bellanger, Martine; Zmirou-Navier, Denis; Fréry, Nadine; Cordier, Sylvaine; Roue-LeGall, Anne; Hartemann, Philippe; Grandjean, Philippe

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Citation: Pichery, Céline, Martine Bellanger, Denis Zmirou-Navier, Nadine Fréry, Sylvaine Cordier, Anne Roue-LeGall, Philippe Hartemann, and Philippe Grandjean. 2012. Economic evaluation of health consequences of prenatal methylmercury exposure in France. Environmental Health 11: 53.
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Abstract: Background: Evidence of a dose–response relationship between prenatal exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) and neurodevelopmental consequences in terms of IQ reduction, makes it possible to evaluate the economic
consequences of MeHg exposures. Objective: To perform an economic evaluation of annual national benefits of reduction of the prenatal MeHg exposure in France. Methods: We used data on hair-Hg concentrations in French women of childbearing age (18–45 years) from a national sample of 126 women and from two studies conducted in coastal regions (n= 161and n=503). A linear dose response function with a slope of 0.465 IQ point reduction per μg/g increase in hair-Hg concentration was used, along with a log transformation of the exposure scale, where a doubling of exposure was associated with a loss of 1.5 IQ points. The costs calculations utilized an updated estimate of €\(_{2008}\) 17,363 per IQ point decrement, with three hypothetical exposure cut-off points (hair-Hg of 0.58, 1.0, and 2.5 μg/g). Results: Because of higher exposure levels of women in coastal communities, the annual economic impacts based on these data were greater than those using the national data, i.e. € 1.62 billion (national), and € 3.02 billion and € 2.51 billion (regional), respectively, with the linear model, and € 5.46 billion (national), and € 9.13 billion and € 8.17 billion (regional), with the log model, for exposures above 0.58 μg/g. Conclusions: These results emphasize that efforts to reduce MeHg exposures would have high social benefits by preventing the serious and lifelong consequences of neurodevelopmental deficits in children.
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