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Risk Anal. 1998 Dec;18(6):701-13.

Influence of prenatal mercury exposure upon scholastic and psychological test performance: benchmark analysis of a New Zealand cohort.

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ICF Kaiser, Ruston, Louisiana 71270, USA.


This paper presents benchmark (BMD) calculations and additional regression analyses of data from a study in which scores from 26 scholastic and psychological tests administered to 237 6- and 7-year-old New Zealand children were correlated with the mercury concentration in their mothers' hair during pregnancy. The original analyses of five test scores found an association between high prenatal mercury exposure and decreased test performance, using category variables for mercury exposure. Our regression analyses, which utilized the actual hair mercury level, did not find significant associations between mercury and children's test scores. However, this finding was highly influenced by a single child whose mother's mercury hair level (86 mg/kg) was more than four times that of any other mother. When that child was omitted, results were more indicative of a mercury effect and scores on six tests were significantly associated with the mothers' hair mercury level. BMDs calculated from five tests ranged from 32 to 73 mg/kg hair mercury, and corresponding BMDLs (95% lower limits on BMDs) ranged from 17 to 24 mg/kg. When the child with the highest mercury level was omitted, BMDs ranged from 13 to 21 mg/kg, and corresponding BMDLs ranged from 7.4 to 10 mg/kg.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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