Sampling of total mercury in sand on Sydney beaches and assessment of risk of exposure to children

K. MacSween*, C. Tang, G. C. Edwards, T. Gan, S. Tran, S. Geremia, J. Campbell, D. Howard

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Accumulation of anthropogenic mercury (Hg) onto coastal environments is potentially putting children playing in these areas, particularly beaches, at risk of exposure to mercury through the ingestion of sand. Samples were collected along 11 of Sydney's beaches and two Newcastle beaches where children may be exposed and analysed using a Direct Mercury Analyser (DMA-80). Risk of exposure was assessed based on Health Canada's exposure threshold for the ingestion of total mercury of 105ng Hg kg-1 BW d-1 and USEPA published values of daily ingestion rates by children (0.2g soil d-1 and 1.75g soil d-1). Concentrations of total mercury in beach sand ranged from 0.0035 to 57.89μ g kg-1. Beaches with the highest Hg concentration were found to be located in close proximity to potential mercury sources. The highest daily intake calculated was 7.132ng Hg kg-1 BW d-1, well below the daily intake threshold, indicating children have a minimal exposure risk.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)120-138
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Environment and Health
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • mercury
    • children
    • exposure risk
    • Sydney
    • beaches
    • contamination sources
    • carbon content


    Dive into the research topics of 'Sampling of total mercury in sand on Sydney beaches and assessment of risk of exposure to children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this