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Recommended acceptable levels of maternal serum typical toxic metals from the perspective of spontaneous preterm birth in Shanxi Province, China

Yu, Yanxin, Gao, Miaomiao, Wang, Xuepeng, Guo, Yunhe, Pang, Yiming, Yan, Huina, Hao, Yongxiu, Zhang, Yali, Zhang, Le, Ye, Rongwei, Wang, Bin, Li, Zhiwen
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.686 pp. 599-605
arsenic, blood sampling, blood serum, cadmium, case-control studies, chromium, fetus, lead, mass spectrometry, maternal exposure, mercury, mothers, premature birth, questionnaires, risk, toxicity, women, China
Preterm birth is an important issue of public reproductive health worldwide. The effects of the toxic metals on the likelihood of spontaneous preterm birth (SPB) are still under discussion. Our study aimed to investigate the association between maternal exposure to the five typical toxic metals or metalloid (i.e. arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb)) and the SPB likelihood. The mothers delivering fetus with SPB (cases) and those with term healthy birth (controls) were chosen from a prospective birth cohort of 3201 women carried out in Shanxi Province, China. A total of 147 SPB cases and 381 controls were included in our nested case-control study. We collected maternal general information by questionnaire and collected their blood sample during recruitment. The serum concentrations of the five toxic metals were measured by inductively coupled-plasma mass spectrometry. We found that the demographic information between the cases and controls were well balanced. The participants in our study had relatively higher serum As concentration. For the other toxic metals (i.e. Cd, Cr, Hg, and Pb), their serum concentrations were overall in the middle range of those from general population. There were no significant associations of the serum concentrations of the five concerned toxic metals with the SPB likelihood. Our study results overall did not support that maternal exposure to As or Cd significantly contribute to the SPB risk in the current exposure level, as well as the other three toxic metals. We further proposed their upper concentration limits in maternal serum from the perspective of SPB likelihood during the early pregnant period, i.e. 18.2 ng/mL of As, 1.05 ng/mL of Cd, 0.96 ng/mL of Cr, 1.07 ng/mL of Hg, and 1.54 ng/mL of Pb.