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  • 1.
    Schwalfenberg, Gerry
    et al.
    University of Alberta.
    Rodushkin, Ilia
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering. Scandinavia Division of A.L.S. Laboratory Group.
    Genuis, Stephen J.
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alberta.
    Heavy metal contamination of prenatal vitamins2018In: Toxicology reports, ISSN 1972-6325, E-ISSN 2214-7500, Vol. 5, p. 390-395Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Prenatal vitamins are often consumed daily during gestation and postnatally for up to 18–24 months with the belief that supplementation achieves better outcomes. Detrimental effects of gestational exposure to adverse chemical agents are gathering increasing attention. This study was designed to assess toxic element contamination in prenatal supplements.

    Twenty-six commonly used prenatal vitamin brands including one prescription brand were collected from Canadian health-food outlets and pharmacies, and tested for toxic element contamination. Results were compared to established endpoints.

    All samples contained Lead with average amounts being (0.535 μgm), 20/51 samples exceeded established standards for lead toxicity (0.50 μgm/day), with one sample yielding 4. μgm/day. Three samples registered inorganic arsenic levels above acceptable limits. Cadmium levels did not exceed current standards. Toxic elements such as Aluminum, Nickel, Titanium and Thallium were detected in all samples.

    Cumulative intake of prenatal supplement over many months may constitute a significant source of toxic element exposure to the mother and offspring. With several samples exceeding known standards for gestational toxic element exposure, guidelines for routine monitoring and reporting are required. In keeping with recommendations from the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, industry regulation would be welcomed to protect expectant mothers and their vulnerable offspring.

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