Cord Blood Levels of Toxic and Essential Trace Elements and Their Determinants in the Terai Region of Nepal: A Birth Cohort Study

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the cord blood level of toxic and trace elements and to identify their determinants in Terai, Nepal. One hundred pregnant women were recruited from one hospital in Chitwan, Nepal in 2008. The cord blood levels of toxic [lead (Pb), arsenic (As), and cadmium (Cd)], essential trace elements [zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), and copper (Cu)], demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral variables were measured. The mean values of Pb, As, Cd, Zn, Se, and Cu in cord blood level were found as 31.7, 1.46, 0.39, 2,286, 175, and 667 μg/L, respectively. In the multivariate regression model, cord blood As levels from less educated mothers were higher than those from educated mothers (coefficient = 0.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.02–0.00). The maternal age was positively associated with the cord blood Cd level (coefficient = 0.02, 95% CI = 0.01–0.03), while it was negatively associated with the cord blood As level (coefficient = 0.01, 95% CI = 0.03–0.01). Cord blood levels of Pb, Zn, Se, and Cu were not associated with maternal age, socioeconomic status, living environment, and smoking status. As and Cd levels were relatively lower than those reported in previous studies in Asia, while the levels of Pb and the trace elements were similar. Less educated mothers are more likely to become a higher in utero As source to their fetus, and fetuses of older mothers were more likely to have higher in utero Cd exposure in Terai, Nepal.

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Acknowledgments

Special thanks are due to all participants, especially to those mothers who participated in the present study. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Keshav Raj Bhurtel, senior gynecologist and Associate Professor at Chitwan Medical College, Dr. Shanti Regmi, senior pediatrician at Bharatpur Hospital, and all technical staff of the hospital for their support during this study. This study was funded by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS; KAKENHI project number: 21406021, 20310146).

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Parajuli, R.P., Fujiwara, T., Umezaki, M. et al. Cord Blood Levels of Toxic and Essential Trace Elements and Their Determinants in the Terai Region of Nepal: A Birth Cohort Study. Biol Trace Elem Res 147, 75–83 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-011-9309-1

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Keywords

  • Toxic elements
  • Trace elements
  • Terai
  • Nepal
  • Cord blood
  • Fetus exposure
  • Maternal source