Biomonitoring of lead, cadmium, total mercury, and methylmercury levels in maternal blood and in umbilical cord blood at birth in South Korea

Yu Mi Kim, Jin Young Chung, Hyun Sook An, Sung Yong Park, Byoung Gwon Kim, Jong Woon Bae, Myoungseok Han, Yeon Jean Cho, Young Seoub Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With rising concerns of heavy metal exposure in pregnancy and early childhood, this study was conducted to assess the relationship between the lead, cadmium, mercury, and methylmercury blood levels in pregnancy and neonatal period. The study population included 104 mothers and their children pairs who completed both baseline maternal blood sampling at the second trimester and umbilical cord blood sampling at birth. The geometric mean maternal blood levels of lead, cadmium, total mercury, and methylmercury at the second trimester were 1.02 ± 1.39 μg/dL, 0.61 ± 1.51 μg/L, 2.97 ± 1.45 μg/L, and 2.39 ± 1.45 μg/L, respectively, and in the newborns, these levels at birth were 0.71 ± 1.42 μg/dL, 0.01 ± 5.31 μg/L, 4.44 ± 1.49 μg/L, and 3.67 ± 1.51 μg/L, respectively. The mean ratios of lead, cadmium, total mercury, and methylmercury levels in the newborns to those in the mothers were 0.72, 0.04, 1.76, and 1.81, respectively. The levels of most heavy metals in pregnant women and infants were higher in this study than in studies from industrialized western countries. The placenta appears to protect fetuses from cadmium; however, total mercury and methylmercury were able to cross the placenta and accumulate in fetuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13482-13493
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 26 2015

Keywords

  • Biomonitoring
  • Cadmium
  • Heavy metals
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Methylmercury
  • Pregnancy
  • Umbilical cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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