Pregnancy and Newborns Exposure Study


The Pregnancy and Newborns Exposure Study measured mercury, lead, and cadmium in newborns in the Minneapolis area. This study is a collaboration between MN Biomonitoring: Chemicals in People and The Infant Development and Exposure Study (TIDES) at the University of Minnesota. With the consent of pregnant women enrolled in TIDES, cord blood and newborn bloodspots were collected from 48 newborns.

The study tested newborn bloodspots and cord blood from the same babies to verify bloodspots as a reliable measurement of mercury in newborns.

  • Cord blood:
    Most studies that measure levels of chemicals in newborns use cord blood. Laboratories can measure different types of mercury in cord blood. Information on the type of mercury in a person's blood can help us figure out how they came into contact with the chemical. However, collecting cord blood for biomonitoring can be costly, and it is not routinely collected.
  • Newborn bloodspots:
    Newborn bloodspots, small amounts of blood collected in the hospital from an infant’s heel soon after birth, are routinely collected for state newborn screening programs. The bloodspots are tested for treatable health conditions not evident at birth. These spots can also be used for biomonitoring if a new mother consents to have additional testing done. Unlike cord blood, blood spots are routinely collected and low-cost. However, laboratory methods for measuring chemicals like mercury in bloodspots are new.

Results Available Soon

The MDH Public Health Laboratory has tested the newborn bloodspots for mercury and the cord blood samples for mercury, lead, and cadmium. Results will be available in 2015. Results will compare mercury levels in the paired newborn bloodspot and cord blood samples, and will describe exposure to mercury, lead, and cadmium in this group of Minnesota newborns. These findings are important in working with our Advisory Panel to decide on the preferred methods for future biomonitoring of newborns. This information will also help other states looking for methods to monitor exposure in newborns.

For questions or more information, contact Minnesota Biomonitoring: Chemicals in people.

Monday, March 09, 2015 at 03:03PM