Axe Santé des Populations et Environnement, Centre de Recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec, Quebec, Canada; Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and Faculty of Pharmacy, Laval University, Quebec, Canada; Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Quebec, Canada.
Epidemiological evidence suggests a negative impact of methylmercury on the cardiovascular system, but findings regarding the effect on blood pressure (BP) are not consistent. We aimed to study the impact of mercury levels on BP among Nunavik Inuit adults. The health survey Qanuippitaa? was conducted in Nunavik (northern Quebec, Canada), and data were obtained from 732 Inuit >/=18 years of age. Anthropometric blood samples, as well as systolic BP and diastolic BP, were assessed. Pulse pressure (systolic BP-diastolic BP) was calculated. Mercury blood concentration was used as a biomarker of recent exposure. Simple relations between mercury and BP parameters were studied by using the Pearson correlation, whereas multiple regressions were performed to control for confounders. Mean age of the participants was 34.3 years (95% CI: 33.6 to 34.9 years). Systolic BP, diastolic BP, and pulse pressure means were 117 mm Hg (95% CI: 116 to 118 mm Hg), 73 mm Hg (95% CI: 72 to 74 mm Hg), and 43 mm Hg (95% CI: 42 to 44 mm Hg), respectively. Mercury mean was 50.2 nmol/L. In multivariable analyses, mercury was associated with systolic BP (beta=2.14; P=0.0004), whereas the association with diastolic BP was near the significance level (beta=0.96; P=0.069). In conclusion, mercury is associated with increasing BP and pulse pressure among Nunavik Inuit adults after considering the effect of fish nutrients (n-3 fatty acids and selenium) and other confounders.