Metal mixtures and neurodevelopment: recent findings and emerging principles

Curr Opin Toxicol. 2021 Jun:26:28-32. doi: 10.1016/j.cotox.2021.03.005. Epub 2021 Apr 2.


Children are constantly exposed to a wide range of environmental factors including essential and non-essential metals. In recent years, the mixtures paradigm has emerged to foster the examination of combined effects that emerge from exposures to multiple elements. In this review, we summarized recent literature studying the relationship between prenatal and childhood metal mixtures with neurodevelopmental outcomes. Our review highlights two basic principles to emerge from this approach. First, recent findings emphasize that the effect of a given exposure is contextual and may be dependent on past or concurrent metal exposures. Second, the timing of exposures is equally critical to the mixture composition in determining neurodevelopmental effects. Our discussion emphasizes how these principles may apply to future exposure-related neurodevelopmental studies.

Keywords: behavior; cognition; metals; mixtures; neurodevelopment.