Trace Elements in Portuguese Children: Urinary Levels and Exposure Predictors

Luísa Correia-Sá, Virgínia C. Fernandes, Maria Luz Maia, Edgar Pinto, Sónia Norberto, Agostinho Almeida, Cristina Santos, Cristina Delerue-Matos, Conceição Calhau, Valentina F. Domingues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure to environmental chemicals during developmental stages can result in several adverse outcomes. In this study, the exposure of Portuguese children to Cu, Co, I, Mo, Mn, Ni, As, Sb, Cd, Pb, Sn and Tl was evaluated through the analysis of first morning urine through ICP-MS. Furthermore, we attempted to determine possible exposure predictors. The study sample consisted of 54% girls and 46% boys, with a median age of 10 years; 61% were overweight/obese and were put on a nutritionally oriented diet. For I, half of the population was probably in deficiency status. The median urinary concentrations (μg/L) were Cu 21.9, Mo 54.6, Co 0.76, Mn 2.1, Ni 4.74, As 37.9, Sb 0.09, Cd 0.29, Pb 0.94, Sn 0.45, Tl 0.39 and I 125.5. The region was a significant predictor for Cu, Co, Ni, As and Tl. Children living in an urban area had higher urinary levels, except for Co and Ni. Age was a significant predictor for Cu, I, Mo, Mn, Ni, Sb, Cd and Sn with urinary levels of these elements decreasing with age. No sex-related differences were observed. Diet and weight group were predictors for urinary Cu, Mn, Ni, Sb and As. Significant differences were observed between the diet/weight groups for Cu, Ni, Sb and As, with the healthy diet group presenting higher values.

Original languageEnglish
Article number767
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • biomonitoring
  • children
  • elements
  • obesity
  • predictors
  • urinary levels


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