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Heavy metals in maternal and cord blood in Beijing and their efficiency of placental transfer

Li, Aijing, Zhuang, Taifeng, Shi, Jianbo, Liang, Yong, Song, Maoyong
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2019 v.80 pp. 99-106
antimony, arsenic, atomic absorption spectrometry, birth weight, blood, cadmium, children, chromium, heavy metals, lead, manganese, maternal exposure, mothers, neonates, nickel, pregnant women, risk, titanium, vanadium, China
This study aimed to determine the effect of exposure to heavy metals in pregnant women in Beijing, China. We also evaluated the association of these heavy metals with birth weight and length of newborns. We measured the levels of 10 heavy metals, including lead (Pb), titanium (Ti), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), antimony (Sb), stannum (Sn), vanadium (V), and arsenic (As), in 156 maternal and cord blood pairs. An inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry method was used for measurement. Pb, As, Ti, Mn, and Sb showed high detection rates (>50%) in both maternal and cord blood. Fourteen (9%) mothers had blood Pb levels greater than the United States Center for Disease Control allowable threshold limit for children (50 μg/L). In prenatal exposure to these heavy metals, there was no significant association between any heavy metal and birth weight/length. Moreover, we estimated the placental transfer efficiency of each heavy metal, and the median placental transfer efficiency ranged from 49.6% (Ni) to 194% (Mn) (except for Cd and Sn). The level and detection rate of Cd in maternal blood were much higher than that in cord blood, which suggested that Cd had difficulty in passing the placental barrier. Prospective research should focus on the source and risk of heavy metals in non-occupationally exposed pregnant women in Beijing.