Differences in prenatal exposures may account for some of the racial disparities observed in health outcomes;however, studies have been hampered by a lack of a reliable means of examining such retrospective exposures. A novel method, elemental bio-imaging of human primary teeth with laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), will be used to measure metal exposures in naturally sheed teeth of an established birth cohort. This approach not only quantifies exposure but also estimates the timing of the exposure (i.e. within trimester). We hypothesize there are identifiable critical windows of exposure aligned with gestational development of key organ systems that are specific for different child health outcomes. The proposed project builds on extant data collected through the racially and socioeconomically diverse Wayne County Health, Environment, Allergy and Asthma Longitudinal Study (WHEALS) birth cohort conducted between 2003 and 2007 in Detroit, MI and the surrounding suburban regions. From a subset of active WHEALS participants, 250 naturally shed primary teeth (230 unique children) will be collected and 5 metals (lead, cadmium, manganese, mercury, arsenic) will be measured with LA-ICP-MS. Our outcomes of interest are two traits demonstrating substantial racial disparities: birth weight and allergic disease measures at age 2 years.
Our aims are to (1) examine if there are racial differences in early-life metal toxicant exposures;(2) examine if trimester-specific exposures to metal toxicants are associated with birth weight;and (3) examine if early-life exposures to metal toxicants are associated with allergic disease at age 2. Information gained by the proposed study may guide public health policy, improve prevention strategies, and lead to earlier identification and treatment of high-risk children with the overall goal to reduce health disparitis and improve the publics'heath.

Public Health Relevance

Differences in prenatal exposures may account for some of the racial disparities observed in adult chronic disease. In a racially-diverse established birth cohort, a novel imagining approach, laser ablation- inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, will be used to examine the association of pre and postnatal metal levels in naturally shed primary teeth with birth weight and allergic disease measures.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Infectious Diseases, Reproductive Health, Asthma and Pulmonary Conditions Study Section (IRAP)
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Gray, Kimberly A
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Henry Ford Health System
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Cassidy-Bushrow, Andrea E; Sitarik, Alexandra R; Havstad, Suzanne et al. (2017) Burden of higher lead exposure in African-Americans starts in utero and persists into childhood. Environ Int 108:221-227
Cassidy-Bushrow, Andrea E; Havstad, Suzanne; Basu, Niladri et al. (2016) Detectable Blood Lead Level and Body Size in Early Childhood. Biol Trace Elem Res 171:41-7