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Mercury Exposure, Fish Consumption, and Perceived Risk among Pregnant Women in Coastal Florida

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Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Florida Atlantic University, 5600 U.S. 1 N, Ft Pierce, FL 34946, USA
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Advent Health, Winter Park, FL 32792, USA
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Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, USA
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Division of Comparative Pathology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, PO Box 016960 (R-46), Miami, FL 33101, USA
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Pre-Birth Centers of America, 8645 N Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410, USA
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Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, 1681 Campus, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4903; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244903
Received: 6 November 2019 / Revised: 25 November 2019 / Accepted: 27 November 2019 / Published: 4 December 2019
Seafood consumption is the primary source of mercury (Hg) exposure, particularly among coastal populations. Hg exposure during pregnancy has been associated with cognitive impairment, as well as decrements in memory, attention, fine motor skills, and other markers of delayed neurodevelopment, although results are conflicting. High Hg hair concentrations in persons from coastal Florida, USA, have been previously reported. The purpose of the current study was to determine the concentrations of total Hg (THg) in the hair of pregnant women from this area and to assess the relationships between THg concentration, knowledge of the risks of mercury exposure, and dietary patterns among participants. Participants (n = 229) were recruited at prenatal clinics. Their mean total hair Hg concentration was 0.31 + 0.54 µg/g, lower or similar to US data for women of child-bearing age. Hair THg concentration was associated with consumption of locally caught fish and all seafood, a higher level of education, and first pregnancy. Eighty-five percent of women were aware of the risks of mercury exposure during pregnancy; over half reported a decrease in seafood consumption during pregnancy. Awareness of Hg in fish was marginally associated with lower hair THg concentration (p = 0.06) but reduction in seafood consumption during pregnancy was not. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; fish consumption; prenatal contaminant exposure; seafood advisories mercury; fish consumption; prenatal contaminant exposure; seafood advisories
MDPI and ACS Style

Schaefer, A.M.; Zoffer, M.; Yrastorza, L.; Pearlman, D.M.; Bossart, G.D.; Stoessel, R.; Reif, J.S. Mercury Exposure, Fish Consumption, and Perceived Risk among Pregnant Women in Coastal Florida. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4903.

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