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Environ Res. 2016 May;147:461-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.02.029. Epub 2016 Mar 11.

Maternal body burden of cadmium and offspring size at birth.

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Department of Epidemiology, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Center for Perinatal Studies, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA, USA.
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
Department of Family Medicine & Public Health, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
Center for Perinatal Studies, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.


Increasing evidence suggests an inverse association between cadmium (Cd) and size at birth, potentially greatest among female neonates. We evaluated whether greater maternal body burden of Cd is associated with reduced neonatal anthropometry (birthweight, birth length, head circumference, and ponderal index) and assessed whether these associations differ by infant sex. The analytic sample for the present study (n=396) was derived from a subcohort of 750 women randomly drawn from among all participants (N=4344) in the Omega Study, a prospective pregnancy cohort. Creatinine-corrected Cd in maternal clean-catch spot urine samples (U-Cd) was quantified by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Continuous log2-transformed Cd (log2-Cd) and U-Cd tertiles (low<0.29μg/g creatinine, middle 0.29-0.42μg/g creatinine, high≥0.43μg/g creatinine) were used in multivariable linear regression models. Females had reduced birth length with greater U-Cd tertile, whereas males birth length marginally increased [β(95% CI) females: low=reference, middle=-0.59cm (-1.37, 0.19), high=-0.83cm (-1.69, 0.02), p-trend=0.08; males: low=reference, middle=0.18cm (-0.59, 0.95), high=0.78cm (-0.04, 1.60), p-trend=0.07; p for interaction=0.03]. The log2-Cd by infant sex interaction was statistically significant for ponderal index [p=0.003; β(95% CI): female=0.25kg/m(3) (-0.20, 0.70); male=-0.63kg/m(3) (-1.01, -0.24)] and birth length [p<0.001; β(95% CI): female=-0.47cm (-0.74, -0.20), male=0.32cm (0.00, 0.65)]. Our findings suggest potential sex-specific reversal of Cd's associations on birth length and contribute to the evidence suggesting Cd impairs fetal growth.

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