Influence of nutritional status on some toxic and essential elements in the blood of women exposed to vehicular pollution in Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Jan;21(2):1124-32. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-1951-z. Epub 2013 Jul 20.


Blood levels of the elements Cu, Zn, Se, As, Cd, Hg, and Pb have been determined in 62 Nigerian women who were occupationally exposed to vehicular pollution. Mercury was determined using a direct mercury analyzer, while all the other elements were determined by an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer system. The mean values for all the toxic elements were all within the recommended desirable/tolerable limits, except for Se (0.44 μg/mL, compared with <0.2 μg/mL recommended by the WHO). More than 98% of the subjects had blood selenium levels higher than this recommended limit. For As, Hg, and Pb, the corresponding figures of subjects with blood levels above the recommended limits were 4, 8, and 19.3%, respectively. When the subjects were grouped according to their body mass indexes as normal, underweight, overweight, and obese, analysis of variance shows that mean blood levels of Cu, As, and, to some extent Hg were significantly different in the four nutritional status groups. Blood Hg level correlates significantly with blood As in all the groups, except in obese subjects. Also, a significant correlation between age and blood Hg was observed only in normal subjects and between age and blood Pb only in obese subjects. These results suggest that nutritional status could influence both elemental levels and the interactions between trace elements in the blood of female subjects. Nutrition is therefore a factor to consider in efforts to modify human susceptibility to toxic elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic / blood
  • Copper / blood
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lead / blood
  • Mercury / blood
  • Metals / blood*
  • Micronutrients / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Nutritional Status / drug effects*
  • Selenium / blood
  • Trace Elements / blood*
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*
  • Zinc / blood


  • Metals
  • Micronutrients
  • Trace Elements
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Lead
  • Copper
  • Mercury
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Arsenic