Reference levels of blood mercury and association with metabolic syndrome in Korean adults

Reference levels of blood mercury and association with metabolic syndrome in Korean adults
엄상용최선희안수주김동경김동원임지애최병선신혜정윤신원윤혜정김유미홍영섭윤용운손석준김헌박경수표희수김 호오세영김정선이상아하미나권호장박정덕
Blood Hg; Risk factor; Metabolic syndrome; Cardiovascular diseases; Korean adult
Issue Date
International archives of occupational and environmental health
VOL 87, NO 5, 501-513
Purpose Mercury (Hg) is a nonessential and toxic metal that is widely distributed in the environment. This study was performed to estimate the representative blood Hg level, to determine the contributing factors to Hg exposure, and to analyze the association of blood Hg with metabolic syndrome in Korean adults. Methods Mercury exposure is assessed by total Hg concentration in blood. A total of 2,114 healthy adults who have not been exposed to Hg occupationally were sampled by the multistaged, sex-, and age-stratified probability method. Information was collected regarding the subjects’ demographic characteristics, lifestyles, and past medical history. The participants then underwent physical examination and blood sampling. Results The geometric mean concentration of Hg in whole blood was 3.90 μg/L, which was significantly influenced by sex, age, smoking, alcoholic consumption, residence area, and seafood intake after adjustment for confounders. Significant increases in body mass index, waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and triglyceride were observed according to the blood Hg levels after adjustment for covariates. Also, Hg exposure was significantly associated with metabolic syndrome and their components such as obesity and increased fasting glucose. Conclusion The blood Hg level in Korean adults is higher than that in USA and other Western countries, while it is similar to or lower than that in other Asian countries. The blood Hg level is influenced by sociodemographic factors and individual lifestyles including dietary habits. Furthermore, blood Hg is associated with metabolic syndrome, in which Hg exposure may play a role as a possible risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
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