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Prenatal Exposure to Mercury Can Reduce Child's IQ

hand wearing a rubber glove holding a mercury test vile

NIEHS-funded researchers, collaborating with scientists from the Danish Medical Research Council and following up on earlier findings, noted cognitive deficits in 14-year-old children of Faroe Island children exposed prenatally to mercury. An earlier study funded jointly by NIEHS and the European Commission’s Climate Research Programme found in 1997 that some developmental delays in 7-year-old children whose mothers, while pregnant, consumed fish and whale tainted with methylmercury. These deficits tended to increase when adjusted for the beneficial effects of maternal intake during pregnancy.

Tags: children's health


Debes F, Budtz-Jorgensen E, Weihe P, White RF, Grandjean P. 2006. Impact of prenatal methylmercury toxicity on neurobehavioral function at age 14 years. Neurotoxicol Teratol 28:363-375. [Abstract]

Budtz-Jorgensen E, Grandjean P, Weihe P. 2007. Separation of risks and benefits of seafood intake. Environ Health Perspect 115:323-327. [Abstract]

Davidson PW, Myers GJ, Cox C, Axtell C, Shamlaye C, Sloane-Reeves J, Cernichiari E, Needham L, Choi A, Wang Y, Berlin M, Clarkson TW. 1998. Effects of prenatal and postnatal methylmercury exposure from fish consumption on neurodevelopment: Outcomes at 66 months of age in the Seychelles Child Development Study. JAMA 280(8):701-707. [Abstract] [Full Text]

Murata K, Weihe P, Budtz-Jorgensen E, Jorgensen PJ, Grandjean P. 2004. Delayed brainstem auditory evoked potential latencies in 14-year-old children exposed to methylmercury. J Pediatr 144(2):177-183. [Abstract]

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