Pregnant Inuit Women's Exposure to Metals and Association with Fetal Growth Outcomes: ACCEPT 2010⁻2015

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DOI

Environmental contaminants such as heavy metals are transported to the Arctic regions via atmospheric and ocean currents and enter the Arctic food web. Exposure is an important risk factor for health and can lead to increased risk of a variety of diseases. This study investigated the association between pregnant women's levels of heavy and essential metals and the birth outcomes of the newborn child. This cross-sectional study is part of the ACCEPT birth cohort (Adaption to Climate Change, Environmental Pollution, and dietary Transition) and included 509 pregnant Inuit women ≥18 years of age. Data were collected in five Greenlandic regions during 2010⁻2015. Population characteristics and birth outcomes were obtained from medical records and midwives, respectively, and blood samples were analyzed for 13 metals. Statistical analysis included one-way ANOVA, Spearman's rho, and multiple linear and logistic regression analyses. The proportion of current smokers was 35.8%. The levels of cadmium, chromium, and nickel were higher compared to reported normal ranges. Significant regional differences were observed for several metals, smoking, and parity. Cadmium and copper were significantly inversely related to birth outcomes. Heavy metals in maternal blood can adversely influence fetal development and growth in a dose⁻response relationship. Diet and lifestyle factors are important sources of toxic heavy metals and deviant levels of essential metals. The high frequency of smokers in early pregnancy is of concern, and prenatal exposure to heavy metals and other environmental contaminants in the Greenlandic Inuit needs further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1171
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue7
Number of pages27
ISSN1661-7827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Arctic, environmental pollutants, Greenland, heavy metals, perinatal risks, reproductive health, smoking

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