Child Health Nurs Res.  2020 Jan;26(1):98-106. 10.4094/chnr.2020.26.1.98.

Relationships of Lead, Mercury and Cadmium Levels with the Timing of Menarche among Korean Girls

  • 1Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Woosuk University, Wanju, Korea


This study utilized data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) to explore differences in the timing of menarche in Korean girls according to blood heavy metal concentrations.
This study performed a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the sixth KNHANES. Data from 179 female children and adolescents aged 10~18 were included in this study. The relationships of blood heavy metal concentrations (lead, mercury, and cadmium) with age of menarche were analyzed using complex sample multiple logistic regression.
In the participants of this study, the geometric mean values of blood lead, mercury, and cadmium concentrations were 1.15±0.04 μg/dL, 1.80±0.08 μg/L, and 0.30±0.03 μg/L, respectively. Mercury poisoning (>5 μg/L) was found in 1.5% of participants. Furthermore, significant relationships were found between blood lead and mercury concentrations and age at menarche (p for trend: p<.001 and p=.015, respectively).
Through an analysis of national big data, this study found evidence that Korean girls showed a younger age at menarche in response to higher blood lead and mercury concentrations. To prevent and manage precocious puberty in Korean children and adolescents, a systematic policy that monitors both exposure to environmental hazards and blood heavy metal concentrations is needed.


Child; Lead; Menarche; Mercury; Puberty precocious
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