Mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and arsenic (As) are recognized neurotoxins in children that particularly affect neurodevelopment and intellectual performance. Based on the hypothesis that the fetal basis of adult disease is fetal toxic exposure that results in adverse outcomes in adulthood, we explored the concentrations of key neurotoxins (i.e., Hg, Pb, Cd, and As) in meconium to identify the risk factors associated with these concentrations. From January 2007 to December 2009, 545 mother-infant pairs were recruited. The geometric mean concentrations of Pb and As in the meconium of babies of foreign-born mothers (22.9 and 38.1 μg/kg dry weight, respectively) were significantly greater than those of babies of Taiwan-born mothers (17.5 and 33.0 μg/kg dry weight, respectively). Maternal age (≥30 y), maternal education, use of traditional Chinese herbs during pregnancy, and fish cutlet consumption (≥3 meals/wk) were risk factors associated with concentrations of key prenatal neurotoxins. The Taiwan government should focus more attention on providing intervention programs for immigrant mothers to help protect the health of unborn babies. Further investigation on how multiple neurotoxins influence prenatal neurodevelopment is warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)