Mercury in serum predicts low risk of death and myocardial infarction in Gothenburg women
- 354 Downloads
Markers of mercury (Hg) exposure have shown both positive and negative associations with cardiovascular disease (CVD). We assessed the association between serum Hg (S–Hg) and risk of cardiovascular disease in a prospective population-based cohort, with attention to the roles of dental health and fish consumption.
Total mortality, as well as morbidity and mortality from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke, was followed up for 32 years in 1,391 women (initially age 38–60), in relation to S–Hg at baseline, using Cox regression models. Potential confounders (age, socioeconomic status, serum lipids, alcohol consumption, dental health, smoking, hypertension, waist-hip ratio, and diabetes) and other covariates (e.g., fish consumption) were also considered.
Hazard ratios (HR) adjusted only for age showed strong inverse associations between baseline S–Hg and total mortality [highest quartile: hazard ratio (HR) 0.76; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.59–0.97], incident AMI (HR 0.56; CI 0.34–0.93), and fatal AMI (HR 0.31; CI 0.15–0.66). Adjustment for potential confounding factors, especially dental health, had a strong impact on the risk estimates, and after adjustment, only the reduced risk of fatal AMI remained statistically significant.
There was a strong inverse association between Hg exposure and CVD. Likely, reasons are confounding with good dental health (also correlated with the number of amalgam fillings in these age groups) and/or fish consumption. The results suggest potential effects of dental health and/or fish consumption on CVD that deserve attention in preventive medicine.
KeywordsMercury Fish Amalgam Mortality Cardiovascular Myocardial infarction Stroke
The study was supported by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research; the Swedish Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning; the Medical Faculties of Umeå, Gothenburg and Lund Universities; the County councils of south and southwest Sweden; and the European Union (FP6; PHIME: FOOD-CT-2006-016253). The European Community is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. Dr. Ragnhild Lenner from the Department of Clinical Nutrition is acknowledged for the collection of dietary data.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
- Barregård L, Sällsten G, Järvholm B (1990) Mortality and cancer incidence in chloralkali workers exposed to inorganic mercury. Br J Ind Med 47:99–104Google Scholar
- Cabrera C, Hakeberg M, Ahlqwist M, Wedel H, Björkelund C, Bengtsson C, Lissner L (2005) Can the relation between tooth loss and chronic disease be explained by socio-economic status? A 24-year follow-up from the population study of women in Gothenburg, Sweden. Eur J Epidemiol 20:229–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Choi AL, Weihe P, Budtz-Jørgensen E, Jørgensen PJ, Salonen JT, Tuomainen TP, Murata K, Nielsen HP, Petersen MS, Askham J, Grandjean P (2009) Methylmercury exposure and adverse cardiovascular effects in Faroese whaling men. Environ Health Perspect 117:367–372Google Scholar
- NFA, National Food Administration, Sweden (1994) Food habits and nutrient intake in Sweden 1989. Befolkningens kostvanor och näringsintag i Sverige 1989 (in Swedish). Statens Livsmedelsverk, UppsalaGoogle Scholar
- Roman HA, Walsh TL, Coull BA, Dewailly E, Guallar E, Hattis D, Mariën K, Schwartz J, Stern AH, Virtanen JK, Rice G (2011) Evaluation of the cardiovascular effects of methylmercury exposures: current evidence supports development of a dose-response function for regulatory benefits analysis. Environ Health Perspect 119:607–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rybo E, Bengtsson C, Hallberg L, Lindstedt G, Lundberg PA (1985) Serum ferritin concentration compared to other iron-store variables in the diagnosis of iron deficiency. Scand J Haematol 43(suppl):87–102Google Scholar
- Salonen JT, Seppänen K, Nyyssönen K, Korpela H, Kauhanen J, Kantola M, Tuomilehto J, Esterbauer H, Tatzber F, Salonen R (1995) Intake of mercury from fish, lipid peroxidation, and the risk of myocardial infarction and coronary, cardiovascular, and any death in eastern Finnish men. Circulation 91:645–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Virtanen JK, Voutilainen S, Rissanen TH, Mursu J, Tuomainen TP, Korhonen MJ, Valkonen VP, Seppänen K, Laukkanen JA, Salonen JT (2005) Mercury, fish oils, and risk of acute coronary events and cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality in men in eastern Finland. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 25:228–233Google Scholar
- WHO (1990) Methylmercury. Environmental health Criteria 1001. International Programme on Chemical Safety. World Health Organization, Geneva. ISBN 92 4 157101 2Google Scholar