Abstract: Birth weight can be a predictor of maternal health issues related to nutrition and environmental contaminants. Total hair mercury (HHg) concentration was studied as an indicator of both fish consumption and methylmercury exposure in mothers (and newborns) living in selected low income areas of the Madeira River basin, Amazonia, Brazil. This cohort study (n = 1,433) consisted of traditional riverines (n = 396), riverines who had moved to urban (n = 676) and rural (n = 67) settings, and tin miner settlers (n = 294). Median maternal HHg was significantly different (p = 0.00001) between riverine (12.1 µg·g−1), rural (7.82 µg·g−1), urban (5.4 µg·g−1), and tin miner (4.5 µg·g−1) groups studied. The same trend (of medians) was observed for newborns’ HHg which also showed significant differences between riverine (3.0 µg·g−1), rural (2.0 µg·g−1), urban (1.5 µg·g−1), and tin miner (0.8 µg·g−1) groups. The correlation between maternal and newborn HHg was statistically significant in the riverine (r = 0.8952; p = 0.0001), urban (r = 0.6744; p = 0.0001), and rural (r = 0.8416; p = 0.0001) groups but not in the mother-infant pairs in the tin miner group (r = 0.0638; p = 0.2752). Birth weight was significantly different among groups but did not show a pattern consistent with that of fish consumption (and HHg). A multiple regression analysis showed that only family income and gestational age had a significant impact on birth weight. Conclusions: Maternal HHg is an important biomarker of maternal fish consumption and of methylmercury exposure during pregnancy. However, in these Amazonian groups, only maternal education and gestational age seemed to affect birth weight positively.
Keywords: methyl-mercury; fish; pregnancy; fetal growth; gestational age; maternal education
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Marques, R.C.; Bernardi, J.V.E.; Dórea, J.G.; Brandão, K.G.; Bueno, L.; Leão, R.S.; Malm, O. Fish Consumption during Pregnancy, Mercury Transfer, and Birth Weight along the Madeira River Basin in Amazonia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 2150-2163.
Marques RC, Bernardi JVE, Dórea JG, Brandão KG, Bueno L, Leão RS, Malm O. Fish Consumption during Pregnancy, Mercury Transfer, and Birth Weight along the Madeira River Basin in Amazonia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(6):2150-2163.
Marques, Rejane C.; Bernardi, José V.E.; Dórea, José G.; Brandão, Katiane G.; Bueno, Lucélia; Leão, Renata S.; Malm, Olaf. 2013. "Fish Consumption during Pregnancy, Mercury Transfer, and Birth Weight along the Madeira River Basin in Amazonia." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 6: 2150-2163.