Concentration of metals in blood of Maine children 1-6 years old

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Blood lead concentrations are higher in young children than in other age groups, whereas little is known regarding concentrations of other metals in young children. We measured the concentrations of a suite of metals in the blood of children 1-6 years of age, and assessed potential differences by age, season, or region of Maine. We used blood submitted to the Maine State Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory for blood lead analysis to determine the concentrations of arsenic (As), antimony (Sb), cadmium (Cd), manganese (Mn), mercury (Hg), selenium (Se), tin (Sn), and uranium (U) in 1350 children 1-6 years of age. The essential metals Mn and Se were detected in all samples, and As and Sb were detected in 490% of samples. Hg was detected in approximately 60% of samples. U and Cd were less often detected in blood samples, at approximately 30% and 10% of samples, respectively. Sn was not detected in any sample. Concentrations of As, Hg, and Se increased with age, whereas Sb decreased with age. Concentrations also varied by season and region for some though not all metals. Significant pairwise correlations were observed for a number of metals. Blood is a reasonable compartment for measurement of most of these metals in young children. The use of convenience samples provided a cost-effective mechanism for assessing exposure of young children in Maine.

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