Research: ELLINGSEN and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 31


ELLINGSEN and colleagues, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Telemark Central Hospital, Skien Norway investigated the possible interactions of mercury, cadmium and selenium in humans.



The authors conducted a cross-sectional study of 130 men, of whom 77 had previously been exposed to mercury vapour at an industrial plant. 61.5% of the participants were smokers 16.2% never smoked.


Compared to those men who had never smoked, the concentration of selenium in blood (B-Se), was significantly lower in smoking men and the cadmium blood (B-Cd) concentration was significantly higher in all categories of current smokers . B-Se was negatively associated with B-Cd, whereas B-Cd was positively associated with current and previous smoking habits and negatively with B-Se and the cumulative dose of previous mercury vapour exposure. B-Se was also negatively associated with B-Cd in those who never smoked.


These results suggest that cadmium exerts a depressive effect upon blood selenium, while smoking alone does not operate as a true predictor for this effect. Additionally, previous exposure to mercury modifies blood cadmium concentration.


Ellingsen DG et al. Cadmium and selenium in blood and urine related to smoking habits and previous exposure to mercury vapour. J Appl Toxicol 17(5): 337-43. Sep-Oct 1997.


Much illness in our society may emanate from environmental and chemical sources. It is about time that measures such as supplemental vitamin C or other types of dietary supplements are properly investigated, because it is impossible to live in a pure environment, either internally or externally.

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