Prenatal and Early Postnatal Exposure to Total Mercury and Methylmercury from Low Maternal Fish Consumption
- 47 Downloads
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of low fish consumption on prenatal and early postnatal exposure to mercury species. The samples of umbilical cord blood and maternal milk as well as interviewer-administered questionnaires were collected from 142 Slovak mother-child pairs. The mean total mercury (THg) concentrations in cord blood and milk were 0.949 μg/L and 0.376 μg/kg, respectively. The mean methylmercury (MeHg) concentration in cord blood was 0.504 μg/L. Fish eaters had significantly higher cord blood MeHg concentrations than non-fish eaters (p = 0.030); no difference was found in milk or cord blood THg concentrations. The bivariate analysis showed a positive correlation between cord blood MeHg and consumption of sea fish and shellfish (rs = 0.320, p < 0.001); after adjustment for the potential confounders, the association was weakened (β = 0.173, p = 0.059). Nevertheless, the decision tree method showed sea fish and shellfish consumption to be the best predictor of cord blood MeHg. Furthermore, a negative association was found between THg concentrations in maternal milk and freshwater fish consumption (β = − 0.193, p = 0.017), which might indicate a beneficial effect of freshwater fish consumption. The results suggest there is a need for future research to investigate the benefits versus the adverse effects of low maternal fish consumption on child development.
KeywordsPrenatal and postnatal exposure Mercury Methylmercury Fish intake
We would like to acknowledge Sona Wimmerova, Ph.D., a statistician, and Zuzana Holosova, a Ph.D. student, for their contribution to the present study.
This work was funded by the project of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic No. 2007/07-SZU-03 and supported by Norwegian Financial Mechanism, European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, and budget of the Slovak Republic (project SK0020). Furthermore, our work was supported by the project “Center of excellence of environmental health”, ITMS No. 26240120033, based on the support of Operational Research and Development Program financed from the European Regional Development Fund.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Written informed consent was obtained from all participants. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Slovak Medical University, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- 3.Vahter M, Akesson A, Lind B, Bjors U, Schutz A, Berglund M (2000) Longitudinal study of methylmercury and inorganic mercury in blood and urine of pregnant and lactating women, as well as in umbilical cord blood. Environ Res 84:186–194. https://doi.org/10.1006/enrs.2000.4098 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 6.European Council & Council of the European Union (2016) Mercury pollution: council confirms agreement with the parliament to enhance protection. Press release 784/16, 16 December 2016. Available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/12/16/mercury-pollution/. Accessed 31 May 2018
- 7.National Research Council (2000) Toxicological effects of methylmercury. National Academy Press, Washington, DC https://www.nap.edu/catalog/9899/toxicological-effects-of-methylmercury Google Scholar
- 11.Foldspang A, Hansen JC (1990) Dietary intake of methylmercury as a correlate of gestational length and birth weight among newborns in Greenland. Am J Epidemiol 132:310–317. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a115660 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 13.Jedrychowski W, Jankowski J, Flak E, Skarupa A, Mroz E, Sochacka-Tatara E, Lisowska-Miszczyk I, Szpanowska-Wohn A, Rauh V, Skolicki Z, Kaim I, Perera F (2006) Effects of prenatal exposure to mercury on cognitive and psychomotor function in one-year-old infants: epidemiologic cohort study in Poland. Ann Epidemiol 16:439–447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2005.06.059 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 14.McKeown-Eyssen GE, Ruedy J, Neims A (1983) Methyl mercury exposure in northern Quebec. II. Neurologic findings in children. Am J Epidemiol 118:470–479. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a113652 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 16.Taylor CM, Golding J, Emond AM (2016) Blood mercury levels and fish consumption in pregnancy: risks and benefits for birth outcomes in a prospective observational birth cohort. Int J Hyg Environ Health 219:513–520. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.05.004 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 17.Llop S, Ballester F, Murcia M, Forns J, Tardon A, Andiarena A, Vioque J, Ibarluzea J, Fernandez-Somoano A, Sunyer J, Julvez J, Rebagliato M, Lopez-Espinosa MJ (2017) Prenatal exposure to mercury and neuropsychological development in young children: the role of fish consumption. Int J Epidemiol 46:827–838. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyw259 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 18.Golding J, Hibbeln JR, Gregory SM, Iles-Caven Y, Emond A, Taylor CM (2017) Maternal prenatal blood mercury is not adversely associated with offspring IQ at 8 years provided the mother eats fish: a British prebirth cohort study. Int J Hyg Environ Health 220:1161–1167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2017.07.004 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 19.U.S. EPA (2017) 2017 EPA-FDA advice about eating fish and shellfish. Available at https://www.epa.gov/fish-tech/2017-epa-fda-advice-about-eating-fish-and-shellfish. Accessed 11 June 2018
- 20.European Food Safety Authority (2004) EFSA provides risk assessment on mercury in fish: precautionary advice given to vulnerable groups. 18 March 2004. Available at https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/040318. Accessed 31 May 2018
- 21.European Food Safety Authority (2012) Scientific opinion on the risk for public health related to the presence of mercury and methylmercury in food. EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM). In: EFSA Journal 10(12):2985. Available at doi: https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2985. Accessed 31 May 2018
- 22.European Union (2016) Facts and figures on the Common Fisheries Policy - basic statistical data: 2016 edition [online]. Belgium: ISBN 978-92-79-60972-5. Available at https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/6-consumption_en. Accessed 31 May 2018
- 26.National Health Information Center (2015) Healthcare of the mother and newborn in the SR 2013 [online]. Health Statistics Edition. Bratislava. In Slovak. Available at http://www.nczisk.sk/Documents/publikacie/2013/zs1451.pdf. Accessed 11 June 2018
- 29.U.S. EPA (2001) Methylmercury (MeHg) CASRN 22967-92-6 [online]. Integrated Risk Information System. Available at https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris/iris_documents/documents/subst/0073_summary.pdf. Accessed 31 May 2018
- 31.Jedrychowski W, Perera F, Rauh V, Flak E, Mroz E, Pac A, Skolicki Z, Kaim I (2007) Fish intake during pregnancy and mercury level in cord and maternal blood at delivery: an environmental study in Poland. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 20:31–37 ISSN 1232–1087 (Print) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17708016 PubMedGoogle Scholar
- 32.Wu J, Ying T, Shen Z, Wang H (2014) Effect of low-level prenatal mercury exposure on neonate neurobehavioral development in China. Pediatr Neurol 51:93–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2014.03.018 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 34.Ballester F, Iniguez C, Murcia M, Guxens M, Basterretxea M, Rebagliato M, Vioque J, Lertxundi A, Fernandez-Somoano A, Tardon A, Sunyer J, Llop S (2018) Prenatal exposure to mercury and longitudinally assessed fetal growth: relation and effect modifiers. Environ Res 160:97–106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.09.018 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 35.Wells E, Herbstman J, Lin Y, Jarrett J, Verdon C, Ward C, Caldwell K, Hibbeln J, Witter F, Halden R, Goldman LR (2016) Cord blood methylmercury and fetal growth outcomes in Baltimore newborns: potential confounding and effect modification by omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and sex. Environ Health Perspect 124:373–379. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1408596 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 36.Bjornberg KA, Vahter M, Petersson-Grawe K, Glynn A, Cnattingius S, Darnerud PO, Atuma S, Aune M, Becker W, Berglund M (2003) Methyl mercury and inorganic mercury in Swedish pregnant women and in cord blood: influence of fish consumption. Environ Health Perspect 111:637–641 ISSN 0091-6765 (Print) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12676628 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 38.WHO (2007) Safety evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. WHO Food Additive Series, No. 58, Geneva. ISBN 978 92 4 166058 7. http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v58je01.pdf
- 40.Kim YM, Chung JY, An HS, Park SY, Kim BG, Bae JW, Han M, Cho YJ, Hong YS (2015) Biomonitoring of lead, cadmium, total mercury, and methylmercury levels in maternal blood and in umbilical cord blood at birth in South Korea. Int J Environ Res Public Health 12:13482–13493. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121013482 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 41.Oskarsson A, Schuts A, Skerfving S, Hallen IP, Ohlin B, Lagerkvist BJ (1996) Total and inorganic mercury in breast milk and blood in relation to fish consumption and amalgam fillings in lactating women. Arch Environ Health 51:234–241. https://doi.org/10.1080/00039896.1996.9936021 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 43.Miklavcic A, Cuderman P, Mazej D, Snoj Tratnik J, Krsnik M, Planinsek P, Osredkar J, Horvat M (2011) Biomarkers of low-level mercury exposure through fish consumption in pregnant and lactating Slovenian women. Environ Res 111:1201–1207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2011.07.006 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 45.WHO (2004) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. Sixty-first report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. WHO Technical Report Series, No. 922, Geneva. ISBN 92 4 120922 4. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/42849/WHO_TRS_922.pdf?sequence=1
- 46.WHO (2011) Evaluation of certain contaminants in food. Seventy-second report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. WHO Technical Report Series, No. 959, Geneva. ISBN 978 92 4 120959 5. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/44514/WHO_TRS_959_eng.pdf?sequence=1
- 54.Kim Y, Ha EH, Park H, Ha M, Kim Y, Hong YC, Lee EJ, Kim H, Chang N, Kim BN (2018) Prenatal mercury exposure, fish intake and neurocognitive development during first three years of life: prospective cohort Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH) study. Sci Total Environ 615:1192–1198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.014 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 55.Strain JJ, Davidson PW, Bonham MP, Duffy EM, Stokes-Riner A, Thurston SW, Wallace JM, Robson PJ, Shamlaye CF, Georger LA, Sloane-Reeves J, Cernichiari E, Canfield RL, Cox C, Huang LS, Janciuras J, Myers GJ, Clarkson TW (2008) Associations of maternal long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, methyl mercury, and infant development in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study. Neurotoxicology 29:776–782. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2008.06.002 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 57.Veirup K, Brandlistuen RE, Brantsæter A, Knutsen HK, Caspersen IH, Alexander J, Lundh T, Meltzer HM, Magnus P, Haugen M (2018) Prenatal mercury exposure, maternal seafood consumption and associations with child language at five years. Environ Int 110:71–79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2017.10.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 58.Ramon R, Ballester F, Aguinagalde X, Amurrio A, Vioque J, Lacasana M, Rebagliato M, Murcia M, Iniguez C (2009) Fish consumption during pregnancy, prenatal mercury exposure, and anthropometric measures at birth in a prospective mother-infant cohort study in Spain. Am J Clin Nutr 90:1047–1055. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.27944 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar