Prenatal exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) affects child development after birth. However, many epidemiological studies have evaluated total mercury levels without analyzing speciation. Biomonitoring of MeHg and inorganic mercury (IHg) is essential to reveal each exposure level. In this study, we compared a high-throughput analysis for mercury speciation in blood using liquid chromatography-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LC-ICP-MS) and liquid chromatography-cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry (LC-CVAFS). The validated LC-ICPMS method was applied to 101 maternal blood and 366 cord blood samples in the pilot study of the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS). The accuracy of the LC-CVAFS method ranged 90-115% determined by reference material analysis. To evaluate the reliability of 366 cord blood samples, fifty cord blood samples were randomly selected and analyzed using LC-CVAFS. The median (5th-95th percentile) concentrations of MeHg and IHg were 5.4 (1.9-15) and 0.33 (0.12-0.86) ng/mL, respectively, in maternal blood, and 6.3 (2.5-15) and 0.21 (0.08-0.49) ng/mL, respectively, in cord blood. Inter-laboratory comparison showed a relatively good agreement between LC-ICP-MS and LC-CVAFS. The median cord blood:maternal blood ratios of MeHg and IHg were 1.3 and 0.5, respectively. By analyzing speciation, we could focus on the health effects of each chemical form.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Health and Safety
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis