Concentration of lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum, arsenic and manganese in umbilical cord blood of Jamaican newborns

Mohammad H. Rahbar, Maureen Samms-Vaughan, Aisha S. Dickerson, Manouchehr Hessabi, Jan Bressler, Charlene Coore Desai, Sydonnie Shakespeare-Pellington, Jody Ann Reece, Renee Morgan, Katherine A. Loveland, Megan L. Grove, Eric Boerwinkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to characterize the concentrations of lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum, and manganese in umbilical cord blood of Jamaican newborns and to explore the possible association between concentrations of these elements and certain birth outcomes. Based on data from 100 pregnant mothers and their 100 newborns who were enrolled from Jamaica in 2011, the arithmetic mean (standard deviation) concentrations of cord blood lead, mercury, aluminum, and manganese were 0.8 (1.3 μg/dL), 4.4 (2.4 μg/L), 10.9 (9.2 μg/L), and 43.7 (17.7 μg/L), respectively. In univariable General Linear Models, the geometric mean cord blood aluminum concentration was higher for children whose mothers had completed their education up to high school compared to those whose mothers had any education beyond high school (12.2 μg/L vs. 6.4 μg/L; p < 0.01). After controlling for maternal education level and socioeconomic status (through ownership of a family car), the cord blood lead concentration was significantly associated with head circumference (adjusted p < 0.01). Our results not only provide levels of arsenic and the aforementioned metals in cord blood that could serve as a reference for the Jamaican population, but also replicate previously reported significant associations between cord blood lead concentrations and head circumference at birth in other populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4481-4501
Number of pages21
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 23 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aluminum
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Cord blood
  • Jamaica
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Mercury
  • Newborns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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