Mercury Exposure and Antinuclear Antibodies Among Females of Reproductive Age in the United States: NHANES

Emily C. Somers; Martha A. Ganser; Jeffrey S. Warren; Niladri Basu; Lu Wang; Suzanna M. Zick; Sung Kyun Park


Environ Health Perspect. 2015;123(8):792-798. 

In This Article


We provide evidence for the first time, to our knowledge, that low levels of methylmercury exposure are linked to subclinical autoimmunity among females of reproductive age in the general population. Because autoantibody development is a marker of immune dysregulation and may predate clinical autoimmune diagnoses by several years, the prospect that organic mercury acts as an early but potentially modifiable trigger relevant to a spectrum of autoimmune conditions warrants more intense investigation.