The hair-mercury concentrations were the highest in Southern Europe and lowest in Eastern Europe. The results suggest that, within the EU, more than 1.8 million children are born every year with MeHg exposures above the limit of 0.58 µg/g, and about 200,000 births exceed a higher limit of 2.5 µg/g proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The total annual benefits of exposure prevention within the EU were estimated at more than 600,000 IQ points per year, corresponding to a total economic benefit between €8 billion and €9 billioon. About a four-fold higher values were obtained when using the logarithmic response function, while adjustment for productivity resulted in slightly lower total benefits. These calculations do not include the less tangible advantages of protecting brain development against neurotoxicity or any other adverse effects.
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