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Environ Res. 2014 Nov;135:63-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.08.029. Epub 2014 Sep 27.

Mercury levels in pregnant women, children, and seafood from Mexico City.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H9X 2T9. Electronic address: Niladri.basu@mcgill.ca.
2
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
3
Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
4
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Brigham & Women׳s Hospital, Harvard School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
5
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
6
Division of Public Health, National Institute of Perinatology, Mexico, D.F., Mexico.
7
Division of Statistics, Center for Evaluation Research and Surveys, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
8
Ministry of Health, Mexico, Distrito Federal, Mexico.
9
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mercury is a global contaminant of concern though little is known about exposures in México.

OBJECTIVES:

To characterize mercury levels in pregnant women, children, and commonly consumed seafood samples.

METHODS:

Use resources of the Early Life Exposures in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) birth cohorts to measure total mercury levels in archived samples from 348 pregnant women (blood from three trimesters and cord blood), 825 offspring (blood, hair, and urine) and their mothers (hair), and 91 seafood and canned tuna samples from Mexico City.

RESULTS:

Maternal blood mercury levels correlated across three trimesters and averaged 3.4 μg/L. Cord blood mercury averaged 4.7 μg/L and correlated with maternal blood from trimester 3 (but not trimesters 1 and 2). In children, blood, hair and urine mercury levels correlated and averaged 1.8 μg/L, 0.6 μg/g, and 0.9 μg/L, respectively. Hair mercury was 0.5 μg/g in mothers and correlated with child's hair. Mean consumption of canned tuna, fresh fish, canned sardine, and shellfish was 3.1, 2.2, 0.5, and 1.0 times per month respectively in pregnant women. Mean mercury content in 7 of 23 seafood species and 5 of 9 canned tuna brands purchased exceeded the U.S. EPA guidance value of 0.3 μg/g.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mercury exposures in pregnant women and children from Mexico City, via biomarker studies, are generally 3-5 times greater than values reported in population surveys from the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere. In particular, mercury levels in 29-39% of the maternal participants exceeded the biomonitoring guideline associated with the U.S. EPA reference dose for mercury.

KEYWORDS:

Biomarkers; Children; Exposure assessment; Mercury; Pregnant women

PMID:
25262076
PMCID:
PMC4262596
DOI:
10.1016/j.envres.2014.08.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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