Water Consumption as Source of Arsenic, Chromium, and Mercury in Children Living in Rural Yucatan, Mexico: Blood and Urine Levels

Abstract

Studies investigating the correlation between metal content in water and metal levels in children are scarce worldwide, but especially in developing nations. Therefore, this study investigates the correlation between arsenic, chromium, and mercury concentrations in drinking and cooking water and in blood and urine samples collected from healthy and supposedly non-exposed children from a rural area in Yucatan, Mexico. Mercury in water shows concentrations above the recommended World Health Organization (WHO) value for drinking and cooking water. Also, 25% of the children show mercury in urine above the WHO recommended value. Multivariate analyses show a significant role for drinking and cooking water as a vector of exposure in children. Also, the factor analysis shows chronic exposure in the case of arsenic, as well as an ongoing detoxification process through urine in the case of mercury. Further studies should be done in order to determine other potential metal exposure pathways among children.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Metal levels below the detection limit were represented as zero (0) for our non-parametric statistical tests. Subject 27 did not participate in the ethnographic study, so his/her values are excluded from analyses based on sex and school.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank FOSEC Salud–CONACYT (Project 139738) for funding this project. We thank Yucatan’s Secretary of Education as well as principals for information and support. We thank the children and their families for their enthusiastic participation. We thank Fernando Mex Esquivel, and all students involved in this project for their invaluable help during the sampling campaign, as well as Abigail Rosales Flores for her assistance in the ethnographic research. We thank Alejandra Martínez Escamilla for project administration, and reviewers for their insightful remarks that significantly improve the quality of the article.

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Correspondence to F. Arcega-Cabrera.

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All procedures in this project involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the UNAM’s research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

We also thank the parents for providing informed consent for all the children included in this study.

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Arcega-Cabrera, F., Fargher, L.F., Oceguera-Vargas, I. et al. Water Consumption as Source of Arsenic, Chromium, and Mercury in Children Living in Rural Yucatan, Mexico: Blood and Urine Levels. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 99, 452–459 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-017-2147-x

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Keywords

  • Metals
  • Children
  • Water
  • Blood
  • Urine
  • Cultural patterns