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Review

Mercury and Prenatal Growth: A Systematic Review

1
Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK
2
Cleft Collective, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK
3
Centre for Academic Child Health, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1NU, UK
4
Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, 0456 Oslo, Norway
5
Nic Waals Institute, Lovisenberg Diaconal Hospital, 0771 Oslo, Norway
6
Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7140; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137140
Received: 1 June 2021 / Revised: 26 June 2021 / Accepted: 30 June 2021 / Published: 3 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Reproductive Health)
The intrauterine environment is critical for healthy prenatal growth and affects neonatal survival and later health. Mercury is a toxic metal which can freely cross the placenta and disrupt a wide range of cellular processes. Many observational studies have investigated mercury exposure and prenatal growth, but no prior review has synthesised this evidence. Four relevant publication databases (Embase, MEDLINE/PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus) were systematically searched to identify studies of prenatal mercury exposure and birth weight, birth length, or head circumference. Study quality was assessed using the NIH Quality Assessment Tool, and results synthesised in a narrative review. Twenty-seven studies met the review criteria, these were in 17 countries and used 8 types of mercury biomarker. Studies of birth weight (total = 27) involving populations with high levels of mercury exposure, non-linear methods, or identified as high quality were more likely to report an association with mercury, but overall results were inconsistent. Most studies reported no strong evidence of association between mercury and birth length (n = 14) or head circumference (n = 14). Overall, our review did not identify strong evidence that mercury exposure leads to impaired prenatal growth, although there was some evidence of a negative association of mercury with birth weight. View Full-Text
Keywords: systematic review; pregnancy; childhood; mercury; toxic metal; birth weight; birth length; head circumference; prenatal growth systematic review; pregnancy; childhood; mercury; toxic metal; birth weight; birth length; head circumference; prenatal growth
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dack, K.; Fell, M.; Taylor, C.M.; Havdahl, A.; Lewis, S.J. Mercury and Prenatal Growth: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7140. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137140

AMA Style

Dack K, Fell M, Taylor CM, Havdahl A, Lewis SJ. Mercury and Prenatal Growth: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(13):7140. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137140

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dack, Kyle, Matthew Fell, Caroline M. Taylor, Alexandra Havdahl, and Sarah J. Lewis. 2021. "Mercury and Prenatal Growth: A Systematic Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 13: 7140. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137140

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