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Biol Neonate. 2006;89(4):244-50. Epub 2005 Nov 24.

Concentrations of toxic metals and trace elements in the meconium of newborns from an industrial city.

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Department of Pediatrics, Neonatology Division, Kocaeli University Faculty of Medicine, Kocaeli, Turkey.



To investigate fetal exposure to toxic metals [lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd)] and fetal levels of trace elements [zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and iron (Fe)] in newborns from an industrial city. Relationships between meconium mineral contents and parental occupation and location of residence were also tested.


The meconium mineral contents of 117 healthy newborn infants were measured by flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer.


The median concentrations (interquartile range) of toxic metals and trace elements in the meconium were as follows: Pb: 46.5 (1,399) microg/g dry weight (wt), Cd: 2.3 (55.6) microg/g dry wt; Zn: 234 (3,049) microg/g dry wt; Cu: 11.8 (818.7) microg/g dry wt, and Fe 105 (2,980) microg/g dry wt. All the meconium samples contained both toxic metals and trace elements. The proportions of trace elements in the meconium samples with concentration higher than 100 microg/g dry wt of the substances tested were Zn 90%, Cu 64%, and Fe 53%. There were significantly positive correlations between the concentrations of toxic metals and trace elements. Also there were positive correlations between the levels of Zn, Fe, and parental occupations, and between the level of Fe and location of residence of the parents (proximity to the petroleum refinery or the dye industries).


All the meconium samples were positive for toxic metals, and thus may reflect environmental pollution in the city. The occupation environments and the location of the family residence are linked with levels of trace elements in meconium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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