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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2013 Jul;27(4):415-25. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12061.

Cohort profile: the maternal-infant research on environmental chemicals research platform.

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Population Studies Division, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa.



The Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study was established to obtain Canadian biomonitoring data for pregnant women and their infants, and to examine potential adverse health effects of prenatal exposure to priority environmental chemicals on pregnancy and infant health.


Women were recruited during the first trimester from 10 sites across Canada and were followed through delivery. Questionnaires were administered during pregnancy and post-delivery to collect information on demographics, occupation, life style, medical history, environmental exposures and diet. Information on the pregnancy and the infant was abstracted from medical charts. Maternal blood, urine, hair and breast milk, as well as cord blood and infant meconium, were collected and analysed for an extensive list of environmental biomarkers and nutrients. Additional biospecimens were stored in the study's Biobank. The MIREC Research Platform encompasses the main cohort study, the Biobank and follow-up studies.


Of the 8716 women approached at early prenatal clinics, 5108 were eligible and 2001 agreed to participate (39%). MIREC participants tended to smoke less (5.9% vs. 10.5%), be older (mean 32.2 vs. 29.4 years) and have a higher education (62.3% vs. 35.1% with a university degree) than women giving birth in Canada.


The MIREC Study, while smaller in number of participants than several of the international cohort studies, has one of the most comprehensive datasets on prenatal exposure to multiple environmental chemicals. The biomonitoring data and biological specimen bank will make this research platform a significant resource for examining potential adverse health effects of prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals.

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