Toxic trace elements in maternal and cord blood and social determinants in a Bolivian mining city

Flavia L. Barbieri*, Jacques Gardon, María Ruiz-Castell, Pamela Paco V., Rebecca Muckelbauer, Corinne Casiot, Rémi Freydier, Jean Louis Duprey, Chih Mei Chen, Jacqueline Müller-Nordhorn, Thomas Keil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This study assessed lead, arsenic, and antimony in maternal and cord blood, and associations between maternal concentrations and social determinants in the Bolivian mining city of Oruro using the baseline assessment of the ToxBol/Mine-Niño birth cohort. We recruited 467 pregnant women, collecting venous blood and sociodemographic information as well as placental cord blood at birth. Metallic/semimetallic trace elements were measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Lead medians in maternal and cord blood were significantly correlated (Spearman coefficient = 0.59; p < 0.001; 19.35 and 13.50 μg/L, respectively). Arsenic concentrations were above detection limit (3.30 μg/L) in 17.9 % of maternal and 34.6 % of cord blood samples. They were not associated (Fischer's p = 0.72). Antimony medians in maternal and cord blood were weakly correlated (Spearman coefficient = 0.15; p < 0.03; 9.00 and 8.62 μg/L, respectively). Higher concentrations of toxic elements in maternal blood were associated with maternal smoking, low educational level, and partner involved in mining.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-174
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • environmental exposure
  • maternal exposure
  • metallic trace elements
  • prenatal exposure
  • risk factors


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