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British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research

British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, ISSN: 2231-0614,Vol.: 5, Issue.: 4


Original Research Article


Inorganic and Organic Mercury Levels in the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2010



B. M. Y. Cheung1* and A. J. Cheung1

1Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China.




Aims: Mercury is an environmental hazard. Therefore, we studied recent trends in the blood level of organic and inorganic mercury in the United States (US).
Methodology: We analyzed newly available data on blood inorganic mercury levels in NHANES 2005-2010. Organic mercury level was calculated by subtracting inorganic mercury level from the total mercury level. As complex sampling was used in NHANES, appropriate weights were used to adjust for oversampling of minorities and sampling from the same location.
Results: There were 8364, 8161 and 8727 participants in NHANES 2005-6, 2007-8 and 2009-10 respectively. Inorganic mercury levels (geometric mean [95% confidence intervals]) were 0.31 [0.30-0.32], 0.30 [0.30-0.31], 0.28 [0.27-0.28] µg/L and organic mercury levels were 0.24 [0.19-0.30], 0.19 [0.14-0.25], 0.27 [0.22-0.33] µg/L in 2005-6, in 2007-8, in 2009-10, respectively. Inorganic mercury levels showed a significant decreasing trend (P<.05). Organic mercury levels were significantly lower in participants aged <20 compared to those ≥20 years. The adjusted proportion (mean±SE) of participants with a total mercury level ≥5.8µg/L was 3.0±0.2%, 3.5±0.6%, and 4.0±0.4% (P<.05) in NHANES 2005-6, 2007-8, and 2009-10, respectively.
Conclusions: Inorganic mercury level has been decreasing during the study period. Organic mercury level was lower in 2007-2008 but increased in 2009-10. The significant increase in organic mercury level in the US general population in 2009-10 is of concern, suggesting that continual monitoring of mercury levels is needed.


Keywords :

Mercury; methylmercury; United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; NHANES.


Full Article - PDF    Page 518-524    Article Metrics


DOI : 10.9734/BJMMR/2015/13303

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