Publications : 2018

Lewis RC, Meeker JD, Basu N, Gauthier AM, Cantoral A, Mercado-García A, Watkins DJ. 2018. Urinary metal concentrations among mothers and children in a Mexico City birth cohort study. Int J Hyg Environ Health 221(4):609–615.


Personal care product use is a potential source of metals exposure among children, but studies have been limited. We measured urinary concentrations of 10 metals (aluminum, arsenic [As], barium [Ba], cadmium, cobalt [Co], lead [Pb], manganese [Mn], molybdenum [Mo], nickel, and zinc [Zn]) in third trimester pregnant women (n=212) and their children at 8-14 years of age (n=250). Demographic factors (child sex, age, socioeconomic status, and maternal education), body mass index (BMI) z-score, and child personal care product use in the 24 hours prior to urine collection were examined as predictors of urinary metal concentrations. Metals were detected in 80-100% of urine samples, with significant differences in maternal versus childhood levels. However, metal concentrations were not strongly correlated within or between time points. In linear regression models including all demographic characteristics, BMI z-score, and specific gravity, age was associated with higher Co (6% [95% CI: 2, 10]), while BMI z-score was associated with lower Mo (−6% [95% CI: −11, −1). In addition, significantly higher metal concentrations were observed among users of colored cosmetics (Mo: 42% [95% CI: 1, 99]), deodorant (Ba: 28% [3, 58]), hair spray/hair gel (Mn: 22% [3, 45]), and other toiletries (As: 50% [9, 108]), as well as with an increasing number of personal care products used (As: 7% [3, 11]) after adjustment for child sex, age, total number of products used, and specific gravity. However, significantly lower metal concentrations were noted for users of hair cream (As and Zn: −20% [−36, −2] and −21% [−35, −2], respectively), shampoo (Pb: −40% [−62, −7]), and other hair products (Pb: −44% [−65, −9]). We found that personal care product use may be a predictor of exposure to multiple metals among children. Further research is recommended to inform product-specific exposure source identification and related child health risk assessment efforts.