Impact of maternal seafood diet on fetal exposure to mercury, selenium, and lead

Arch Environ Health. May-Jun 1992;47(3):185-95. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1992.9938348.

Abstract

Umbilical cord blood from 1,023 consecutive births in the Faroe Islands showed a median blood-mercury concentration of 121 nmol/l (24.2 micrograms/l); 250 of those samples (25.1%) had blood-mercury concentrations that exceeded 200 nmol/l (40 micrograms/l). Maternal hair mercury concentrations showed a median of 22.5 nmol/g (4.5 micrograms/g), and 130 samples (12.7%) contained concentrations that exceeded 50 nmol/g (10 micrograms/g). Frequent ingestion of whale meat dinners during pregnancy and, to a much lesser degree, frequent consumption of fish, and increased parity or age were associated with high mercury concentrations in cord blood and hair. Blood-mercury levels were slightly lower if the mother had occasionally ingested alcoholic beverages. Mercury in blood correlated moderately with blood selenium (median, 1.40 mumol/l). Increased selenium concentrations were associated with intake of whale meat, alcohol abstention, delivery after term, and high parity. Lead in cord blood was low (median, 82 nmol/l), particularly if the mothers had frequently had fish for dinner and had abstained from smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Denmark
  • Diet Surveys
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Fishes*
  • Gestational Age
  • Hair / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Postmature
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead / chemistry
  • Maternal Age
  • Mercury / blood*
  • Mercury / chemistry
  • Mothers
  • Parity
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Selenium / blood*
  • Selenium / chemistry
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Whales*

Substances

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Selenium