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Abstracts of the 2019 Annual Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, August 25-28 2019, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Prenatal exposure to mercury and effects on birth outcomes of women from Suriname’s interior

G, Baldewsingh1,,4; E, van Eer1; J, Wickliffe2; M, Lichtveld2; C, Zijlmans2,,3

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Environmental Epidemiology: October 2019 - Volume 3 - Issue - p 20
doi: 10.1097/01.EE9.0000605832.09662.dc
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OPS 41: Metals and birth outcomes, Room 411, Floor 4, August 26, 2019, 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Background/Aim: Mercury (Hg) is an environmental pollutant with high toxic potential especially for developing children. Hg is widely used in Suriname’s interior in gold mining activities. We aimed to determine prenatal Hg exposure and to explore the potential association of Hg exposure and birth outcomes in pregnant women living in Suriname’s interior. The study population is a subset of the Caribbean Consortium of Environmental and Occupational Health environmental epidemiologic cohort study designed to examine the effects of chemical and non-chemical stressors on birth outcomes and pediatric neurodevelopment.

Methods: Data on birth weight (BW), categorized as low birth weight (LBW<2,500g) and preterm birth (PTB<37 weeks) was collected from pregnant women seeking care at the Medical Mission health centers and recruited from April 2017-December 2018 in a prospective study. Among 79 singleton births of women living in the interior of Suriname, there was 76 live births, two stillbirths and 1 miscarriage were not included. Hg concentration was measured in maternal hair. We conducted a correlation analysis between hair-Hg and BW treating both as continuous variables. We categorized exposures as below or above the median and used the Fisher’s exact test and odds ratios to evaluate associations with LBW and PTB.

Results: The median hair-Hg concentration was 2.42 ug/g, 8.6% had LBW and 15.2% PTB. There was no significant correlation between hair-Hg and BW (r=0.02, p<0.85.) or between hair-Hg and LBW (Fisher’s exact test, p<0.43, OR=0.45 95%CI--0.08-2.04) or PTB (Fisher’s exact test, p<0.51, OR=0.59 95%CI--0.18-2.12).

Conclusions: Our results were consistent with what others have found regarding exposure to Hg during pregnancy at these concentrations and birth outcomes. The mercury exposure is predominantly from consumption of Hg-contaminated fish. The findings related to birth outcomes in this sub-cohort will be confirmed by ongoing analyses of the larger study cohort (N=1000).

Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of Environmental Epidemiology. All rights reserved.