Association of Maternal Fish Consumption with Mercury Levels of New Born Infants in a Tertiary Medical Centre in a Middle Income Country
This study aims to investigate the levels of total (T-Hg) and methyl mercury (MeHg) in new born infants and its association with maternal characteristics and fish consumption. A total of 75 Malay women were recruited from a tertiary medical centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Fish consumption was enquired on the types of fish and frequency consumed. Cord and maternal blood was collected and analyzed for T-Hg and MeHg. More than half (.54%) of the participants consumed fish weekly, 22% monthly and 19% daily. Kembong (Mackerel) (71%), canned fish (24%) and Kerisi (Bream) (20%) were the three most common fish consumed. Both T-Hg and MeHg levels were significantly higher in infant’s cord blood (p < 0.05). However, the levels of T-Hg and MeHg among infants were within the safe recommended limits. There was a positive correlation between maternal and cord blood in the T-Hg (r= 0.73, p < 0.01) and MeHg (r= 0.63, p < 0.01) levels. In the multiple linear regression model, infant mercury level was strongly associated with maternal mercury level; while no significant association was noted between infant mercury level with maternal age and fish consumption. Regular monitoring of the levels of mercury in commonly consumed fish and pregnant women’s exposure to mercury should be part of public health surveillance.
Total Mercury, Methyl Mercury, Fish Consumption, Pregnancy, Infant
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