Levels of micronutrients and heavy metals in cord blood and maternal blood of electric stove users compared with firewood users
Exposure to smoke from biomass fuel causes chronic diseases, but the mechanism underlying negative effects of household air pollution (HAP) is not exactly understood. The basis of the impact of HAP on maternal and fetal health was assessed by determining the levels of teratogenic heavy metals [Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg)] and micronutrients associated with DNA methylation [Zinc (Zn), Iodine (I), vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid and homocysteine] in cord blood of babies and maternal blood of electric stove users compared with firewood users. Levels of Pb, Hg and Zn were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS). Folic acid, homocysteine, vitamins B6 and B12 were measured using enzyme link immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Zn level was significantly higher whereas Pb level was significantly lower in sera of mothers using electric stoves compared with mothers using firewood. There were no significant differences in the levels of micronutrients and heavy metals in cord sera of babies born by mothers using electric stoves compared with the levels of micronutrients and heavy metals in cord sera from cord sera of babies born by mothers using firewood. Pb in maternal sera showed significant positive correlation with Pb in cord sera of babies born by mothers using firewood whereas vitamin B12 in maternal sera showed significant positive correlation with vitamin B12 in cord sera of babies born by mothers using electric stove.
Significantly high Pb level coupled with low Zn level in mothers using firewood might be responsible for adverse effects of firewood on the users. Our study therefore recommends Zn supplementation for those exposed to HAP from firewood. Thus, global DNA methylation is proposed as further study to explain the effects of HAP.
Keywords: Indoor Pollutants, DNA Methylation, Mothers, Neonates, Micronutrients supplementation