Methylmercury and elemental mercury differentially associate with blood pressure among dental professionals

Jaclyn M. Goodrich, Yi Wang, Brenda Gillespie, Robert Werner, Alfred Franzblau, Niladri Basu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Methylmercury-associated effects on the cardiovascular system have been documented though discrepancies exist, and most studied populations experience elevated methylmercury exposures. No paper has investigated the impact of low-level elemental (inorganic) mercury exposure on cardiovascular risk in humans. The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of the association between mercury exposure (methylmercury and elemental mercury) and blood pressure measures in a cohort of dental professionals that experience background exposures to both mercury forms. Dental professionals were recruited during the 2010 Michigan Dental Association Annual Convention. Mercury levels in hair and urine samples were analyzed as biomarkers of methylmercury and elemental mercury exposure, respectively. Blood pressure (systolic, diastolic) was measured using an automated device. Distribution of mercury in hair (mean, range: 0.45, 0.02-5.18. μg/g) and urine (0.94, 0.03-5.54. μg/L) correspond well with the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Linear regression models revealed significant associations between diastolic blood pressure (adjusted for blood pressure medication use) and hair mercury (n=262, p=0.02). Urine mercury results opposed hair mercury in many ways. Notably, elemental mercury exposure was associated with a significant systolic blood pressure decrease (n=262, p=0.04) that was driven by the male population. Associations between blood pressure and two forms of mercury were found at exposure levels relevant to the general population, and associations varied according to type of mercury exposure and gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Volume216
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

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Keywords

  • Blood pressure
  • Environmental exposure
  • Epidemiology
  • Gender difference
  • Mercury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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