Korean J Fam Pract. 2016; 6(1): 44-48  https://doi.org/10.21215/kjfp.2016.6.1.44
The Effect of Smoking and Second-Hand Smoking on the Concentration of Mercury, Lead and Cadmium in the Blood: Based on the Fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Sang-Won Moon, Jung-Im Gwak*, Young-Ho Park
Department of Family Medicine, SAM Anyang General Hospital, Anyang, Korea
Jung-Im Gwak
Tel: +82-31-467-9114, Fax: +82-31-449-0151
E-mail: eury77@nate.com
Received: August 25, 2015; Revised: August 25, 2016; Accepted: October 8, 2015; Published online: February 20, 2016.
© The Korean Academy of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: Smoking exposes smokers and secondhand smokers to various toxic materials, including heavy metals. Therefore, this study evaluated the relationship between smoking, both first- and secondhand, and the concentration of heavy metals in the blood.
Methods: Five thousand eight hundred and twenty-two subjects aged 19 and older who had concentrations of heavy metals in their blood were selected from the participants in the fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2010?2012). The correlation between first- and secondhand smoking and the concentration of mercury, lead, and cadmium in the blood was analyzed.
Results: The odds ratio between smoking and the concentration of cadmium and lead in the blood was 4.818 and 1.766, respectively. These values are statistically significant, and show a clear correlation between smoking and heavy metals in the blood. (P<0.0001, P=0.0017) Smoking was found to have no correlation with the concentration of mercury in the blood, and secondhand smoking was found to have no correlation with the concentration of any heavy metals in the blood.
Conclusion: Smoking and secondhand smoking leads to exposure to various toxic materials and heavy metals. Since heavy metals can be harmful even in low concentrations, we need to work on expanding anti-smoking campaigns to improve public health.
Keywords: Smoking; Secondhand Smoking; Blood Mercury; Blood Lead; Blood Cadmium
  1. AdamsJD,O’Mara-Adams KJ,Hoffmann D.Toxic and carcinogenic agents in undiluted mainstream smoke and sidestream smoke of different types of cigarettes.Carcinogenesis 1987;8:729-31.
  2. Landsberger S,Wu D.Theimpact of heavy metals from environmental tobacco smoke on indoor air quality as determined by Compton suppression neutron activation analysis.SciTotal Environ 1995;173-174:323-37.
  3. United States Environmental ProtectionAgency.Health effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, final report.Washington (DC): United States Environmental ProtectionAgency; 1997.
  4. Zhou R, Li S, Zhou Y, Haug A. Comparison of environmental tobacco smoke concentrations and mutagenicity for several indoor environments. MutatRes 2000;465:191-200.
  5. World Health Organization.WHO air quality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide: global update 2005:summary ofrisk assessment.Geneva:WorldHealthOrganization; 2006.
  6. Kim DI, Kim YK, Kim JM, Jung KY, Kim JY. The levels of blood lead and zinc protoporphyrin for healthy urban population in Korea.Korean J Prev Med 1992;25:287-302.
  7. KoreaCentersfor DiseaseControl and Prevention.ThefifthKorea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [Internet]. Cheongju: Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2010 [cited 2015 Aug 20]. Availablefrom:http://knhanes.cdc.go.kr.
  8. Statistics Korea. Statistics database[Internet]. Daejeon: Statistics Korea [cited 2015Aug 20].
    Availablefrom: http://kosis.kr/
  9. Bernhard D,RossmannA,Wick G.Metals in cigarettesmoke.IUBMB Life 2005;57:805-9.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  10. MoonCS.Evaluation of Cd and Pb intake and exposureroutesin someKoreanwomen.Korean J EnvironHealth 2007;33:353-8.
  11. Briganti EM, Branley P,Chadban SJ, Shaw JE, McNeil JJ,Welborn TA,et al. Smoking is associatedwith renal impairment and proteinuria in the normal population: the AusDiab kidney study.Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study.AmJKidneyDis 2002;40:704-12
    Pubmed CrossRef
  12. Hryhorczuk DO,RabinowitzMB,Hessl SM,Hoffman D,HoganMM,Mallin K,et al. Elimination kinetics of blood lead in workers with chroniclead intoxication.AmJIndMed 1985;8:33-42.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  13. Hong MK.A study on the association between factor of health/life and bloodmercury concentration [dissertation].Seoul:YonseiUniversity; 2003.
  14. Jang BK, Park SI, Kim NS, Jung KS, Lee BK, Lee JW. Relationship between heavymetalconcentrationsin thesoilwith the blood and urine of residents around abandonedmetalmines.J EnvironHealth Sci 2011;37:348-57.
  15. Kim CW,KimYW,Chae CH, Son JS, Park SH,Koh JC,et al. The effects of thefrequency of fish consumption on the blood mercury levelsin Koreans. Korean JOccup EnvironMed 2010;22:114-21.
  16. Natusch DF,WallaceJR,EvansCAJr.Toxictraceelements: preferentialconcentration in respirable particles.Science 1974;183:202-4.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  17. Dockery DW, Pope CA 3rd.Acuterespiratory effects of particulate air pollution.AnnuRev PublicHealth 1994;15:107-32.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  18. Chiba M, Masironi R. Toxic and trace elements in tobacco and tobacco smoke.BullWorldHealthOrgan 1992;70:269-75.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  19. OzdenTA,GokcayG,ErtemHV,SuogluOD,KilicA,Sokucu S,et al.Elevated hair levels of cadmium and lead in schoolchildren exposed to smoking and in highways nearschools.Clin Biochem2007;40:52-6.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  20. Willers S, SchutzA,Attewell R, Skerfving S.Relation between lead and cadmium in blood and theinvoluntary smoking ofchildren.Scand JWork EnvironHealth 1988;14:385-9
    Pubmed CrossRef

This Article