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Final Progress Reports: Harvard School of Public Health: CBPI - Community-based Metal Exposure in Child Develpment and Hearing

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Superfund Research Program

CBPI - Community-based Metal Exposure in Child Develpment and Hearing

Project Leader: Robert O. Wright
Grant Number: P42ES005947
Funding Period: 2000 - 2006

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Final Progress Reports

Year:   2005 

To date Dr. Wright’s team has enrolled 425 mother-infant pairs and collected blood samples, hearing test data and survey data.  They have seen a total of 219 mother-infant pairs at one year follow-ups and have just had their first 65 children return for a 2 year follow-up. In the winter of 2004, the researchers conducted a study of 32 sixth grade children living in the Tar Creek Superfund site to test the hypothesis that mixtures of arsenic and manganese are neurotoxic. In linear regression models, both hair arsenic and hair manganese found to be were significantly associated with both full scale and verbal IQ. Hair lead and hair cadmium did not significantly predict any IQ test score. These results are currently in press at the journal Neurotoxicology. This study on metals and IQ in 6th graders used community based recruitment methods and Drs. Bellinger and Wright have made community presentations to explain the study both before and after the study was conducted.

Dr. Wright’s team is beginning to measure hair arsenic as well as blood lead and manganese levels in the birth cohort. A total of 223 infants have completed the hearing testing. Data on 142 subjects have been analyzed by Dr. Brian Fligor, the project audiology consultant.

Dr. Wright’s group has conducted or participated in several local community seminars this past year. Ms. Ami Zota, a graduate student met with community representatives in July and November 2005.  Dr. Wright and Ms. Ann Backus participated in the L.E.A.D. agency annual Tar Creek Forum in Miami, OK in May 2005. Ms. Adrienne Ettinger from HSPH also made presentation to the community in April and October of this year.

The current recruitment of 425 mothers represents a significant sample size to study health effects from exposure to manganese and lead. To our knowledge, these are the only data on blood manganese collected on 1 and 2 year old children available as no comparable data was found in the medical literature.  Levels in Tar Creek are 2-3 times higher than non-pregnant adult populations.

The research group continues to analyze hearing data collected and the final sample size for the hearing data will be over 300 infants. The researchers have genotyped 302 mother-infant pairs for the HFE gene variants C282Y and H63D and will soon analyze this data. The team now has a sufficient sample size to determine associations between maternal and newborn metal biomarkers and birth outcomes (birthweight, hearing and head circumference).

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