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Test Catalog

Test ID: HGU    
Mercury, 24 Hour, Urine

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Detecting mercury toxicity in 24-hour urine specimens

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

The correlation between the levels of mercury (Hg) excretion in the urine and the clinical symptoms is considered poor.

 

It had always been thought that urine was a more appropriate marker of inorganic mercury, because organic mercury represented only a small fraction of urinary mercury. Based on possible demethylation of methylmercury within the body, urine may represent a mixture of dietary methylmercury and inorganic mercury. Seafood consumption can contribute to urinary mercury levels (up to 30%),(1) which is consistent with the suggestion that due to demethylation processes in the human body, a certain proportion of urinary mercury can originate from dietary consumption of fish/seafood.(2)

 

For additional information, see HG / Mercury, Blood.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

0-17 years: not established

> or =18 years: <2 mcg/24 hour

Toxic concentration: >50 mcg/24 hour

The concentration at which toxicity is expressed is widely variable between patients. 50 mcg/24 hour is the lowest concentration at which toxicity is usually apparent.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Daily urine excretion of mercury above 50 mcg/day indicates significant exposure (per World Health Organization standard).

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

To avoid contamination by dust, specimen should be collected away from the site of suspected exposure.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Snoj Tratniid J, Falnoga I, Mazej D, et al: Results of the first national human biomonitoring in Slovenia: Trace elements in men and lactating women, predictors of exposure and reference values. Int J Hyg Environ Heatlh. 2019;222(3):563-582

2. Sherman LS, Blum JD, Franzblau A, Basu N: New insights into biomarkers of human mercury exposure using naturally occurring mercury stable isotopes. Envrn Sci Technol. 2013;47(7):3403-3409

3. Lee R, Middleton D, Caldwell K, et al: A review of events that expose children to elemental mercury in the United States. Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Jun;117(6):871-878

4. Bjorkman L, Lundekvam BF, Laegreid T, et al: Mercury in human brain, blood, muscle and toenails in relation to exposure: an autopsy study. Environ Health. 2007 Oct 11;6:30

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test