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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 692; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070692

Assessing a New Method for Measuring Fetal Exposure to Mercury: Newborn Bloodspots

Environmental Tracking and Biomonitoring Program, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN 55164, USA
Public Health Laboratory, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN 55164, USA
Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA
Department of Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Katherine P. Theall and Carolyn C. Johnson
Received: 19 May 2016 / Revised: 28 June 2016 / Accepted: 4 July 2016 / Published: 9 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Maternal and Child Health)
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Background: Measuring mercury in newborn bloodspots to determine fetal exposures is a novel methodology with many advantages. Questions remain, however, about its reliability as an estimate of newborn exposure to mercury. Methods: We studied mercury concentrations in paired bloodspots and cord blood from a convenience sample of 48 Minnesota women and infants. Results: The limit of detection for bloodspots was higher than for cord blood (0.7 and 0.3 μg/L in bloodspots and cord blood, respectively) with the result that mercury was detected in only 38% of newborn bloodspots compared to 62% of cord blood samples. The geometric mean mercury concentration in cord blood was 0.6 μg/L. Mercury concentrations were almost uniformly lower in bloodspots than in cord blood (mean ratio (±SD) = 0.85 ± 0.4), their mean value was significantly less than that for the cord blood (p = 0.02), and the two methods were highly correlated (r = 0.82). Conclusion: These preliminary findings indicate that newborn bloodspot mercury measurements have utility; however, until bloodspot analyses are more sensitive, they are likely to underestimate in utero exposure. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; biomonitoring; newborn bloodspots; cord blood; fetal exposure mercury; biomonitoring; newborn bloodspots; cord blood; fetal exposure

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nelson, J.W.; Edhlund, B.L.; Johnson, J.; Rosebush, C.E.; Holmquist, Z.S.; Swan, S.H.; Nguyen, R.H.N. Assessing a New Method for Measuring Fetal Exposure to Mercury: Newborn Bloodspots. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 692.

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