Levels of toxic and essential metals in maternal cord blood and anthropometry at birth: a pilot study

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Journal of Global Health Reports
Background Anthropometric parameters at birth are important indicators of child vulnerability to the risk of childhood illness, and consequently, the chance of survival and risk of diseases late in life. The aim of this study was to investigate correlations between toxic (aluminium, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury) and essential metals (copper, manganese, selenium and zinc) in maternal and umbilical cord blood samples, with newborn anthropometric parameters in a predominantly agricultural community of Ebony State, Nigeria. Methods Questionnaires were administered to 60 pregnant women at the Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki, South-East Nigeria, to collect demographic information and lifestyle during pregnancy. In addition, we measured several anthropological parameters of newborns, including head circumference, birth weight and birth length. Furthermore, cord and maternal blood samples were analysed by the Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). Results Most metals had a strong correlation between maternal and cord blood. Maternal characteristics like sleeping pattern, gestation age at delivery and maternal weight significantly predicted 76% variations in baby weight. Maternal blood aluminium was inversely correlated with body weight (r=-0.61) and birth length (r=-0.61). Gestation age at delivery, maternal weight and baby weight were strong predictors of the baby length. Toxic metals were associated with altered anthropometric parameters at birth, with varying contributions to the altered anthropometric outcomes. Conclusions Besides the negative effect of toxic metals on newborn anthropometry, we also detected interesting interactions between metals; maternal exposure to lead negatively correlates with manganese and zinc in the cord blood, while maternal exposure to aluminium was positively correlated with copper. These results contribute to the broader understanding of the environmental effects on maternal and child health.
ACE: Public Health and Toxicological Research, ACE-PUTOR, University of Port Harcourt, Cajetan Elochukwu Ilo, Ify L. Nwaogazie, Orish Ebere Orisakwe, cord blood, heavy metals, anthropometric parameters, maternal blood, prevention