Korean J Fam Pract 2019; 9(6): 499-505  https://doi.org/10.21215/kjfp.2019.9.6.499
Relationship between Blood Mercury and Cardiovascular Risk, Neuropathic Symptoms of Adults in a Yeong-dong Area of Gangwon-do
Jung-Ran Lee, Hyeong-Cheol Lee, Hyeon-A Lee, Min-Sun Kim, Kwan-Woo Park, Woo-Joo Park, Mi-Keong Oh*
Department of Family Medicine, Gangneung Asan Hospital, Gangneung, Korea
Mi-Keong Oh
Tel: +82-33-610-3325, Fax: +82-33-641-8130
E-mail: omk@gnah.co.kr
ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3602-9588
Received: October 8, 2018; Revised: September 26, 2019; Accepted: September 30, 2019; Published online: December 20, 2019.
© 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: Exposure to mercury is known to affect the nervous system and cardiovascular system, but effects of chronic exposure to mercury remain unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effects of high blood mercury concentrations on the health of patients living in the Yeong-dong region.
Methods: We analyzed the relationship between blood mercury concentration and cardiovascular risk and neuropathic symptoms for 555 patients whose blood mercury concentration was tested from 1999 to 2017. We analyzed the association of each lipid component and blood mercury concentration through a partial correlation method. We performed an analysis to determine the odds ratios (ORs) of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and obesity to high blood mercury levels through a logistic regression model. We analyzed the association between mercury levels and neuropathic symptoms using a χ2 test and calculated the OR.
Results: The average blood mercury concentration was 8.1±7.5 µg/L and 5.5±5.2 µg/L for males and females, respectively. There was a positive correlation of mercury concentration with high density lipoprotein cholesterol (r, 0.268, 0.219; P-value, <0.001). Among other cardiovascular disease risk factors, no significant correlation was found with high blood mercury level. A tingling sensation in females was related to a high blood mercury level (OR, 2.080; 95% confidence interval, 1.119–3.866).
Conclusion: It was found that higher mercury concentrations could affect high-density lipoprotein cholesterol regardless of sex and can cause a tingling sensation in women.
Keywords: Mercury; High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol; Impaired Sensation
  1. Sakong J. Health effects of mercury exposure through fish. Yeungnam Univ J Med 2011; 28: 105-15.
  2. Park KH, Kim HJ, Choi WH, Chung HU, Lee NY, Kwon YM, et al. Annual report on Korean National Environmental Health Survey - the second stage (2012~2014) 2nd year -. Incheon: National Institute of Environmental Research;2013. Report No.: 11-1480523-001634-01. 107 p.
  3. Taber KH, Hurley RA. Mercury exposure: effects across the lifespan. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 2008; 20: iv-389.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  4. Yoshizawa K, Rimm EB, Morris JS, Spate VL, Hsieh CC, Spiegelman D, et al. Mercury and the risk of coronary heart disease in men. N Engl J Med 2002;347: 1755-60.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  5. Myung SK, Jeong B, Lee WJ, Koh HJ, Suh SY, Yoo T, et al. Standardization of the two-question case-finding instrument as a screening instrument for the adolescent’s depression. J Korean Acad Fam Med 2000; 21: 100-6.
  6. Lim JY, Lee SH, Cha YS, Park HS, Sunwoo S. Reliability and validity of anxiety screening scale. J Korean Acad Fam Med 2001; 22: 1224-32.
  7. Statistics Korea. The Korean National Environmental Health Survey (KoNEHS). Daejeon: Statistics Korea; 2016 Dec. 66 p.
  8. Park SJ, Yeum KJ, Choi B, Kim YS, Joo NS. Positive correlation of serum HDL cholesterol with blood mercury concentration in metabolic syndrome Korean men (analysis of KNANES 2008-2010, 2013). J Endocrinol Invest 2016; 39: 1031-8.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  9. Cho YM. Fish consumption, mercury exposure, and the risk of cholesterol profiles: findings from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2010-2011. Environ Health Toxicol 2017; 32: e2017014.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  10. Yorifuji T, Tsuda T, Takao S, Harada M. Long-term exposure to methylmercury and neurologic signs in Minamata and neighboring communities. Epidemiology 2008; 19: 3-9.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  11. Kern JK, Geier DA, Bjørklund G, King PG, Homme KG, Haley BE, et al. Evidence supporting a link between dental amalgams and chronic illness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and suicide. Neuro Endocrinol Lett 2014; 35: 537-52.
  12. Mutter J. Is dental amalgam safe for humans? The opinion of the scientific committee of the European Commission. J Occup Med Toxicol 2011; 6: 2.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  13. Spyridon NK. HDL-cholesterol: pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects. Hellenic J Cardiol 2004; 45: 324-30.
  14. Zanoni P, Khetarpal SA, Larach DB, Hancock-Cerutti WF, Millar JS, Cuchel M, et al.; CHD Exome+ Consortium, CARDIoGRAM Exome Consortium, Global Lipids Genetics Consortium. Rare variant in scavenger receptor BI raises HDL cholesterol and increases risk of coronary heart disease. Science 2016; 351: 1166-71.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  15. De Oliveira E Silva ER, Foster D, McGee Harper M, Seidman CE, Smith JD, Breslow JL, et al. Alcohol consumption raises HDL cholesterol levels by increasing the transport rate of apolipoproteins A-I and A-II. Circulation 2000; 102: 2347-52.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  16. Zhang Y, Xu C, Fu Z, Shu Y, Zhang J, Lu C, et al. Associations between total mercury and methyl mercury exposure and cardiovascular risk factors in US adolescents. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2018; 25: 6265-72.
    Pubmed CrossRef
  17. Roy C, Tremblay PY, Ayotte P. Is mercury exposure causing diabetes, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance? A systematic review of the literature. Environ Res 2017; 156: 747-60.
    Pubmed CrossRef

This Article