Specific Association of Teratogen and Toxicant Metals in Hair of Newborns with Congenital Birth Defects in Gaza
Study published on International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
ABSTRACT. This study was undertaken in Gaza, Palestine, in a cohort of babies born in 2011. Hair samples of newborns were analyzed for metal load by DRC-ICP-MS. We report specific level of contamination by teratogen/toxicants metals of newborn babies, environmentally unexposed, according to their phenotypes at birth: normal full term babies, birth defects or developmentally premature. The occurrence of birth defects was previously shown to be correlated in this cohort to documented exposure of parents to weapons containing metal contaminants, during attacks in 2009. We detect, in significantly higher amounts than in normal babies, different specific teratogen or toxicant elements, known weapons’ components, characteristic for each of birth defect or premature babies. This is the first attempt to our knowledge to directly link a phenotype at birth with the in utero presence of specific teratogen and/or toxicant metals in a cohort with known episodes of acute exposure of parents to environmental contamination by these same metals, in this case delivered by weaponry The babies were conceived 20–25 months after the major known parental exposure; the specific link of newborn phenotypes to war-remnant metal contaminants, suggests that mothers’ contamination persists in time, and that the exposure may have a long term effect.
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