Higher levels of mercury in the blood were linked with a higher prevalence of non-melanoma skin cancer, the most common human malignancy, in a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
For the study, researchers analyzed 2003-2016 data on 29,413 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The team examined blood levels of different forms of mercury: total mercury, inorganic mercury, and methyl mercury. Compared with individuals with low total mercury, those with high total mercury had nearly double the odds of being diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer. Similarly, participants with high methyl mercury had a 1.7-times greater odds of non-melanoma skin cancer compared with those with low methyl mercury. Inorganic mercury levels were non-significantly but positively associated with non-melanoma skin cancer.
Most individuals in the United States are exposed to mercury through consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish.
Rhee, J., et al. (2020) Association of blood mercury levels with nonmelanoma skin cancer in the U.S.A. using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data (2003–2016). British Journal of Dermatology. doi.org/10.1111/bjd.18797.