Chronic mercury exposure and blood pressure in children and adolescents: a systematic review

  • Gema Gallego-Viñas
  • Ferran Ballester
  • Sabrina Llop
Review Article


The aim of this paper is to systematically review the scientific literature on the possible relation of chronic mercury exposure and blood pressure among children and adolescents. We searched for observational studies in 6 electronic databases and grey literature for English, French or Spanish language studies published up to 30th November 2017. We performed a quality assessment of primary studies. We identified 8 articles involving 5 cohorts, 1 cross-sectional study and 1 case-control study. The participants had mean ages of between 3 and 17 years. Mercury was analysed in different matrices and periods of exposure. Four articles evaluated prenatal exposure, 2 evaluated both prenatal and postnatal exposures and 2 postnatal exposure. Blood pressure was measured according to different protocols. The association between mercury and blood pressure was adjusted by different covariates in each study. Four articles found a positive significant association between chronic mercury exposure and blood pressure in children or adolescents. Among these 4 articles, three of them evaluated prenatal exposure. There are still few studies assessing chronic mercury exposure and blood pressure in children and adolescents with inconsistency in results. Designs are very heterogeneous, which hampers their comparability. Evidence of this association is scarce and further research is needed.


Environmental exposure Mercury Cardiovascular Blood pressure Paediatrics Public health Epidemiology 



Blood pressure


Diastolic blood pressure


Docosahexaenoic acid


Eicosapentaenoic acid




Polychlorinated biphenyls


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Systolic blood pressure


Web of Science



We thank Beatriz Valera, Ph.D. for providing her manuscript and M. Francisca Abad, Ph.D. for her recommendations on databases and documentation.


All the authors participated in the conception of the article. Gema Gallego-Viñas designed the search strategy. Gema Gallego-Viñas and Sabrina Llop searched for and selected relevant articles. All the authors participated in data extraction, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting the article, and final approval of the version to be published.


This work was supported by Miguel Servet-FEDER (MS 15/0025) and FIS-FEDER (16_1288).

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3796_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 20 kb)
11356_2018_3796_MOESM2_ESM.docx (20 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conselleria de Sanitat Universal i Salut PúblicaGeneralitat ValencianaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.FISABIO-UJI-Universitat de València Joint Research Unit in Epidemiology and Environmental HealthValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP)MadridSpain
  4. 4.Nursing DepartmentUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  5. 5.Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research in the Valencian RegionFISABIO-Public HealthValenciaSpain

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