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Ambul Pediatr. 2003 Jan-Feb;3(1):18-23.

Neurotoxic risk caused by stable and variable exposure to methylmercury from seafood.

Author information

1
Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. pgrand@health.sdu.dk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine whether the dose-effect relationship for developmental mercury neurotoxicity is affected by variable mercury exposure during pregnancy.

METHODS:

The study was based on a birth cohort of 1022 children born in the Faroe Islands between March 1986 and December 1987. Neurobehavioral performance of 917 children (90%) was assessed at age 7. Intrauterine methylmercury exposure was determined from mercury concentrations in cord blood and 2 sets of maternal hair. Complete exposure information was available for 614 children (67%).

RESULTS:

In children with complete exposure data, 8 of 16 neuropsychological tests showed deficits significantly associated with the cord-blood mercury concentration after confounder adjustment. Variable intrauterine exposure was suggested by disagreement between mercury concentrations in the 2 maternal hair samples. Removal of the 61 children (10%) with the greatest degree of variable exposure had a minimal effect on most exposure-effect relationships. However, the effect of the cord-blood concentration on verbal learning and memory was greater after this exclusion.

CONCLUSION:

The study supports previous findings from this cohort study that maternal mercury exposure during pregnancy is associated with neuropsychological deficits detectable at age 7 years and that this association is evident in women with stable exposures throughout pregnancy. Thus the association is not the result of variable exposures.

PMID:
12540249
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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