Background: The effects of prenatal exposure to toxic elements on birth outcomes and child development have been an area of concern. This study aimed to assess the profile of prenatal exposure to toxic elements, arsenic (As), bismuth (Bi), cadmium (Cd), mercury (total mercury (THg), methylmercury (MHg), inorganic mercury (IHg)), lead (Pb), antimony (Sb) and tin (Sn), and essential trace elements, copper (Cu), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn), using the maternal blood, cord blood and placenta in the Tohoku Study of Child Development of Japan (N = 594-650). Methods: Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used to determine the concentrations of these elements (except mercury). Levels of THg and MeHg were measured using cold vapour atomic absorption spectrophotometry and a gas chromatograph-electron capture detector, respectively. Results: Median concentrations (25th-75th) of As, Cd, Pb, Sb, Sn and THg in the maternal blood were 4.06 (2.68-6.81), 1.18 (0.74-1.79), 10.8 (8.65-13.5), 0.2 (0.06-0.40) and 0.2 (0.1-0.38) ng mL-1 and 5.42 (3.89-7.59) ng g-1, respectively. Median concentrations (25th-75th) of As, Cd, Pb, Sb, Sn and THg in the cord blood were 3.68 (2.58-5.25), 0.53 (0.10-1.25), 9.89 (8.02-12.5), 0.39 (0.06-0.92) and 0.2 (0.2-0.38) ng mL-1 and 9.96 (7.05-13.8) ng g-1, respectively. Conclusions: THg and Sb levels in the cord blood were twofold higher than those in the maternal blood. Cord blood to maternal blood ratios for As, Cd and Sb widely varied between individuals. To understand the effects of prenatal exposure, further research regarding the variations of placental transfer of elements is necessary.
- Cord blood
- Maternal blood
- Trace element
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health