Most epidemiologic studies of methylmercury (MeHg) health effects rely on a single measurement of a MeHg biomarker to assess long-term exposures. Long-term reproducibility data are, therefore, needed to assess the reliability of a single measure to reflect long-term exposures. In this study, we assessed within-person reproducibility of red blood cell (RBC) mercury (Hg), a marker of methyl-mercury, over 10-15 years in a sample of 57 women. Fifty-seven women from the Nurses' Health Study II provided two blood samples 10-15-years apart (median: 12 years), which were analyzed for mercury levels in the red blood cells (B-Hg*). To characterize within-person reproducibility, we estimated correlation and intraclass correlation coefficients (r and ICC) across the two samples. Further, we compared different prediction models, including variables on fish and seafood consumption, for B-Hg* at the first sample, using leave-one-out cross-validation to assess predictive ability. Overall, we observed strong correlations over 10-15 years (r=0.69), as well as a high ICC (0.67; 95% CI: 0.49, 0.79). Fish and seafood consumption reported concurrently with the first B-Hg* sample accounted for 26.8% of the variability in that B-Hg*, giving a correlation of r=0.52. Despite decreasing B-Hg* levels over time, we observed strong correlations and high ICC estimates across B-Hg* measured 10-15 years apart, suggesting good relative within-person stability over time. Our results indicate that a single measurement of B-Hg* likely is adequate to represent long-term exposures.
|Journal||Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2016|