TitleUmbilical Cord Blood Metal Mixtures and Birth Size in Bangladeshi Children
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsLee, M-S, Eum, K-D, Golam, M, Quamruzzaman, Q, Kile, ML, Mazumdar, M, Christiani, DC
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Date Published05/2021


Studies have evaluated environmental exposure to toxic metals such as arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), manganese (Mn), or lead (Pb) on birth size; however, information on potential effects of exposures to metal mixtures is limited.


We assessed the association between metal mixtures (As, Cd, Mn, Pb) in umbilical cord blood and neonate size in Bangladeshi children.


In this birth cohort study, pregnant women who were ≥18 years of age with an ultrasound-confirmed singleton pregnancy of ≤16wk gestation were recruited from two Bangladesh clinics between 2008 and 2011. Neonate size metrics were measured at the time of delivery. Metals in cord blood were measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. We employed multivariable linear regression and Bayesian kernel machine regression (BKMR) to estimate associations of individual metals and metal mixtures with birth size parameters.


Data from 1,088 participants was assessed. We found a significant negative association between metal mixture and birth length and head circumference when all metal concentrations were above the 60th and 55th percentiles, respectively, compared with the median. An interquartile range (IQR) increase in log Cd concentration {log[Cd (in micrograms per deciliter)] IQR=2.51} was associated with a 0.13-standard deviation (SD) decrease in mean birth length (95% CI: −0.25, −0.02) and a 0.17-SD decrease in mean head circumference (95% CI: −0.28, −0.05), based on linear regression models adjusted for covariates and the other metals. An IQR increase in log Mn concentration {log[Mn (in micrograms per deciliter)] IQR=0.69} was associated with a 0.07-SD decrease in mean birth weight (95% CI: −0.15, 0.002).


Metal mixtures in cord blood were associated with reduced birth size in Bangladeshi children. Results from linear regression models adjusted and the BKMR mixtures analyses suggest adverse effects of Cd and Mn, as individual metal exposures, on birth size outcomes.

Short TitleEnviron Health Perspect