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Open AccessArticle

In Utero Exposure to Aluminium and Other Neurotoxic Elements in Urban Coastal South African Women at Delivery: An Emerging Concern

1
School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
2
Environment and Health Research Unit, Medical Research Council, Johannesburg 2094, South Africa
3
Lancet Laboratories, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Johannesburg 2090, South Africa
4
Department of Community Medicine and Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
5
Higher School of Economics, National Research University, 107078 Moscow, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1724; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051724
Received: 28 January 2020 / Revised: 3 March 2020 / Accepted: 4 March 2020 / Published: 6 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Toxicology and Public Health)
Aluminium (Al) is a non-essential neurotoxicant and there is limited information regarding exposure to Al in utero. This study sought to evaluate the in utero exposure to Al in urban South African women, its effects on birth outcomes and possible synergistic effects between Al, essential and neurotoxic elements such as lead (Pb), mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As), as well as a a potential sex-dependent response to these elements in neonates. This study has found elevated levels of Al in urban women at delivery. The Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients (p-value) of the association between maternal serum Al and birth outcomes (gestational age and parity), and between maternal serum Al and Cu, Zn and Se, were statistically significant. However, in the general and the stratified models, no association was found between any of the birth outcomes and maternal serum Al. The association between maternal serum Al and neurotoxic elements at delivery showed a significant positive correlation for Pb only (rho = 0.361; p < 0.001) which was found to be sex-dependent in neonates (males, rho = 0.285; p < 0.004 and females, rho = 0.444, p < 0.001). Our preliminary findings indicate that in utero exposure to Al is an emerging concern requiring further research and directives from public health authorities. View Full-Text
Keywords: aluminium; in utero exposure; birth outcomes; essential trace elements; neurotoxic elements; sex-dependent response to toxicants aluminium; in utero exposure; birth outcomes; essential trace elements; neurotoxic elements; sex-dependent response to toxicants
MDPI and ACS Style

Röllin, H.B.; Channa, K.; Olutola, B.; Nogueira, C.; Odland, J.Ø. In Utero Exposure to Aluminium and Other Neurotoxic Elements in Urban Coastal South African Women at Delivery: An Emerging Concern. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1724.

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