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Sci Total Environ. 2007 Mar 1;374(1):60-70. Epub 2007 Jan 26.

Mercury levels in cord blood and meconium of healthy newborns and venous blood of their mothers: clinical, prospective cohort study.

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  • 1Istanbul University, Department of Pediatrics, Istanbul, Turkey. Eunuvar@superonline.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study is to investigate the chronic mercury intoxication in pregnant women and newborns living in Istanbul, Turkey.

METHODS:

The research was carried out as a prospective with 143 pregnant women and their newborns. Venous blood from the mother, cord blood from the neonate, and meconium were collected for mercury analysis. Frequency of fish and vegetable-eating and the number of teeth filled were investigated. Analyses were made in cold vapor Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS, microg/L).

RESULTS:

Mercury levels were 0.38+/-0.5 microg/L (0-2.34) in venous blood of pregnant women, 0.50+/-0.64 microg/L (0-2.36) in umbilical cord blood and 9.45+/-13.8 microg/g (0-66.5) in meconium. Maternal blood mercury level was lower than the known toxic limit for humans (EPA, 5 microg/L). Mercury levels of the maternal venous blood were significantly correlated with umbilical cord blood. The primary risk factors affecting mercury levels were eating fishmeals more than twice a week and having filled teeth more than five. The fact that the mother had a regular vegetable diet everyday reduced the mercury levels. Increased levels of mercury in the mother and umbilical cord blood could lead to retarded newborns' weight and height.

CONCLUSION:

Pregnant women living in Istanbul may be not under the risk of chronic mercury intoxication. Fish consumption more than twice per week and tooth-filling of mother more than five may increase mercury level. On the contrary, regular diet rich in vegetable decreases the mercury level.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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