Acid precipitation affects the solubility of several metals in aquatic systems and in soil. Cadmium levels in tap water samples from geological areas having low resistance to acidic pollution were significantly higher than those in samples from a neighbouring reference area where there was a different geological structure. The median cadmium levels and pH values were 0.14 microgram l-1 and 5.6 respectively, for the acidic areas compared with 0.07 microgram l-1 and 6.4 respectively for the reference area. Further, there was a significant inverse relationship between both cadmium and lead contents and the pH values of the samples. The mobility of the metals was thus dependent on the acidity. The blood lead levels in 195 subjects from the acidic areas were lower than those in 91 subjects from the reference area (medians 60 vs. 70 micrograms l-1); no significant differences were found in blood cadmium or blood mercury levels. Subjects in the acidic areas had lower plasma selenium levels than those from the reference area (medians 85 vs. 90 micrograms l-1); the difference was mainly attributed to subjects with private wells. The data may indicate a negative effect of the acidic pollution on selenium intake via water and/or foods. There was also a positive relationship between intake of fish on the one hand and blood mercury and plasma selenium on the other, which is in accordance with the role of fish as a source of these metals.
The Northern Finland Birth Cohort program (NFBC) is the epidemiological and longitudinal prospective general population research program, which was established to promote health and wellbeing of the population in northern Finland. The aim of present study, as a part of the NFBC program, was to analyze the blood levels of arsenic (B-As), cadmium (B-Cd), lead (B-Pb), total mercury (B-Hg) and selenium (B-Se); to compare these levels with threshold limits; to study sociodemographic factors; and to correlate these levels with calcium and haemoglobin. The study was comprised of 249 NFBC subjects, of which 123 were female and 126 were male (ages 31.1???0.3 and 31.1???0.4, respectively). All participants were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding diet and living habits. The geometric means (? SD) of B-As were 0.49???2.80??g/l and 0.44???2.72??g/l; B-Cd were 0.18???4.02??g/l and 0.12???3.21??g/l; B-Pb were 17.0???1.8??g/l and 9.06???2.20??g/l; B-Hg were 2.18???2.02??g/l and 1.85???1.78??g/l; and B-Se were 106.0???1.3 and 94.3???1.3??g/l in males and females, respectively. Among the subjects in the present analysis, 23?% of males and 17.1?% of females had B-As levels above the ATSDR normal human levels of B-As in unexposed individuals (1.0??g/l). The B-Pb geometric mean (12.44??g/l) was approximately one eighth the CDC toxicological cut-off point of 100??g/l. Twenty-one individuals (8.4?%) exceeded a B-Hg level of 5.8??g/l. Fifty-eight females (47?%) had a B-Hg higher than 2.0??g/l, the German Federal Environmental Agency cut-off point for women (18-69?years) who consume fish at least three times/month; therefore, their babies could be at risk of adverse effects during development.
We studied the association and agreement between questionnaire data and biomarkers of marine food among Greenland Inuit.
Cross sectional study.
The study population comprised 2,224 Inuit, age 18+ (43% men); data collected 2005-2008 in Greenland. Using a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), we calculated consumption of seal, whale, and fish (g/day) and as meals/month, intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), total N3, and mercury. We measured erythrocyte membrane fatty acids (FA) and whole blood mercury (Hg). Associations were assessed by Pearson correlation and agreement between the 2 methods was assessed by Bland-Altman plots depicting mean difference between the methods. Using multiple linear regressions, the associations were studied between whole blood mercury, erythrocyte FA and frequency or gram per day of seal, whale, and fish.
The Inuit in Greenland have a high average consumption of marine species and are highly exposed to methylmercury, which in other studies has been related to hypertension. Data on the relation between methylmercury and hypertension is limited, especially in populations subjected to a high exposure of methylmercury. We examined the relation between whole blood mercury and blood pressure (BP) in Inuit in Greenland.
A cross-sectional population-based study among adult Inuit in Greenland was performed in 2005-2009. Information on socio-demography, lifestyle, BP, blood samples and clinical measurements was obtained - the latter after overnight fasting. BP was measured according to standardized guidelines. Whole blood mercury concentration was used as a marker of exposure. The analyses were restricted to Inuit aged 30-69 years with four Greenlandic grandparents (N = 1,861). Multivariate regression analyses with inclusion of confounders were done separately for men and women with the omission of participants receiving anti-hypertensive drugs, except for logistic regression analyses of the relation between mercury and presence of hypertension (yes/no).
The mean whole blood mercury level was 20.5 µg/L among men and 14.7 µg/L among women. In multivariate analyses adjusted for confounders, diastolic BP decreased with increasing mercury concentration. In men diastolic BP decreased significantly for each four-fold increase in mercury concentration (Beta = -0.04, standard error = 0.01, p = 0.001), while no relation between mercury and diastolic BP was found among women. For systolic BP, a similar non-statistically significant result was seen only for men (Beta = -0.02, standard error = 0.01, p = 0.06). A relation between mercury and hypertension was only found in men; the odds ratio for hypertension was 0.99 (95% CI: 0.98-0.99). No relation between quintiles of mercury and hypertension was found. The relationship between mercury and BP parameters may be non-linear: In analyses of quintiles of mercury the overall effect of mercury on BP parameters was only statistically significant for diastolic BP among men (Wald test, p = 0.01), however pairwise comparisons showed that some quintiles were not statistically different. This result is supported by LOESS modelling.
No adverse associations between whole blood mercury and blood pressure were found. With increasing whole blood mercury concentrations, diastolic BP and the risk of hypertension decreased among men in the study: this may be explained by confounding by exercise or unknown factors.
Recent evidence suggests an association between persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and type 2 diabetes. In two First Nations communities where wild food is consumed by a large portion of the population, we compared pollutants in plasma between diabetic and non-diabetic individuals, and investigated the strength of association between pollutants and insulin resistance/secretion in non-diabetic individuals.
The study population consisted of 72 participants. Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests were used to assess diabetes status. Plasma was used to determine POP concentrations and mercury concentrations were determined from hair samples.
Age-adjusted plasma concentrations of some pollutants were significantly higher in diabetic than in non-diabetic individuals. When taking into account age, adiposity levels, and smoking status, POP levels were not associated with insulin resistance nor with insulin secretion in non-diabetic individuals.
These findings confirm that POP concentrations in plasma may be higher in diabetic than in non-diabetic individuals. No association was however seen between POP concentrations and markers of insulin resistance/secretion in non-diabetic individuals.
Recent evidence suggests that exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) increases the risk of hypertension in environmentally exposed populations. High POP levels have been detected in Arctic populations and the exposure is related to high consumption of fish and marine mammals, which represent the traditional diet of these populations.
We examined the associations between polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine (OC) pesticides and hypertension among Inuit from Nunavik (Quebec, Canada).
A complete set of data was obtained for 315 Inuit=18years who participated in the "Santé Québec" health survey that was conducted in the 14 villages of Nunavik in 1992. Fourteen polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 8 OC pesticides or their metabolites were measured in plasma samples using gas chromatography with electron capture detection. Blood pressure (BP) was measured using a standardized protocol and information regarding anti-hypertensive medication was obtained through questionnaires. The associations between log-transformed POPs and hypertension (systolic BP=140mmHg, diastolic BP=90mmHg or anti-hypertensive medication) were analyzed using multiple logistic regressions.
Total PCBs as well as the sum of non-dioxin-like PCBs were significantly associated with higher risk of hypertension. Furthermore, the risk of hypertension increased with higher plasma concentrations of congeners 101, 105, 138 and 187. Models adjusted for BP risk factors became significant after including n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and further adjustment for lead and mercury did not change the results. Regarding OC pesticides, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) was associated with increased risk of hypertension while inverse associations were observed with p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p'-DDT), ß-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) and oxychlordane.
Some PCB congeners were associated with higher risk of hypertension in this highly exposed population. Most associations became significant after including n-3 PUFAs in the models. However, the analyses of OC pesticides revealed divergent results, which need to be confirmed in further cohort and experimental studies.
Exposure data and bioindicators were obtained for a study whose objective was detection of early manifestations of manganese (Mn) neurotoxicity in a population with potential environmental exposure. The study included persons with no history of neurotoxic workplace exposure in Southwest Quebec, drawn from seven postal code regions, defining a set of geographically contiguous zones. Blood samples were analyzed for total Mn (MnB), lead (PbB), total mercury (HgT) and serum iron (FeS). Drinking water samples from participants' residences were analyzed for manganese (MnW). At 4 sites, limited 24-hour high volume air samples for total particulates (TP) and PM10, were analyzed for Mn and Pb. Sociodemographic and dietary information was obtained by self-administered questionnaire. The geometric mean (GM) for MnB values (n = 297) was 7.14 micrograms/L. Levels of MnB in women (n = 156; GM 7.50 micrograms/L) were significantly higher than in men (n = 141; GM 6.75 micrograms/L). No relationship was found between MnB and PbB or HgT. FeS was significantly higher in men (GM 18.38 mumol/L) than women (GM 15.0 mumol/L). For women, MnB was correlated to FeS, with a tendency to decrease with increasing age. For men, no relationship was found between MnB levels and either FeS or age, although FeS showed a strong inverse relationship with age. The 24-hour mean levels of MnTP at the 4 sites varied between 0.009 microgram/m3 and 0.035 microgram/m3; intersite differences were not significant. For Mn in PM10 (MnPM10), mean values ranged from 0.007 microgram/m3 to 0.019 microgram/m3; intersite differences were significant. A total of 278 MnW samples were obtained, 16 from residences served by wells. The GM for MnW was 4.11 micrograms/L (range: 0.50-71.1 micrograms/L, excluding wells; MnW for wells ranged from non-detectable to 158.9 micrograms/L. Individually, there was no relation between MnW and MnB. Geographic analysis of the MnB and MnW data by an algorithm grouping contiguous postal code zones, combined with air data, lead to definition of a geographic parameter, distinguishing two regions relative to a former manganese alloy plant, which contributed significantly to MnB. A multiple regression model was developed, explaining 6.7% of the variability in MnB (F = 5.12; p
BACKGROUND: Marine food provides essential fatty acids that are important during pregnancy, but the benefits may be limited at high intakes and by seafood contaminants. METHODS: In the fishing community of the Faroe Islands, 182 pregnant women with spontaneous singleton births were consecutively recruited for a cohort in 1994- 1995. Concentrations of fatty acids and seafood contaminants in blood samples were analysed as predictors of gestational length and birthweight. RESULTS: Serum concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) increased with maternal marine food intake, while the tendency was less clear for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). An increase in the relative concentration of DHA in cord serum phospholipids by 1% was associated with an increased duration of gestation by 1.5 days (95% CI : 0.7-2.2). However, birthweight adjusted for gestational length decreased by 246 g (95% CI : 16-476) for each increase by 1% of the EPA concentration in cord serum. Concentrations of the seafood pollutants mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) were associated with fatty acids levels, but the contaminants did not appear to affect any of the outcome parameters. CONCLUSION: An increased intake of marine fats appears to prolong the duration of gestation, but birthweight adjusted for gestational age may decrease at high intake levels. This effect does not seem to be due to increased exposures to seafood contaminants.
Comment In: Int J Epidemiol. 2001 Dec;30(6):1279-8011821328
163 healthy reindeer herders living in the arctic area of northern Finland were investigated for blood mercury and serum selenium concentrations. More than ten percent of the subjects had blood mercury above the upper normal limit. High organic and total organic mercury levels were most common in the northeastern part of the country. High organic and total mercury and selenium values were more common in the Lapps than the Finns. Blood mercury levels increased with increasing fish consumption. The pollution in the northeastern part of this country probably leads to the increased formation of organic mercury, and its enrichment in the food chain. The association of high selenium with high mercury probably reduces the toxicity of the latter.