Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 89, Supplement 1, pp S22–S27 | Cite as

L’exposition prénatale des enfants canadiens aux biphényles polychlorés et au mercure

  • Gina MuckleEmail author
  • Éric Dewailly
  • Pierre Ayotte


Cet article présente l’exposition aux contaminants de l’environnement de sous-groupes de la population canadienne, considérés à risque en raison de leurs habitudes alimentaires. Les concentrations de BPC et de mercure sont mesurées dans le sang du cordon ombilical de nouveau-nés provenant de plusieurs groupes autochtones, d’une population maritime et de la population générale. Les concentrations moyennes d’Aroclor 1260 varient de 0,3 à 2,0 μg/L et sont nettement les plus élevées chez les Inuits du Nunavik et de Baffin et chez les Montagnais du Québec. Elles dépassent chez les nouveau-nés de ces groupes le seuil au-delà duquel des effets cognitifs sont attendus. Les concentrations moyennes de mercure varient de 1,0 à 14,2 μg/l et les Inuits du Nunavik et des T.N.-O. sont les plus exposés. Une proportion d’Inuits du Nunavik et des T.N.-O se situe au-delà des concentrations critiques pour l’apparition d’effets neurologiques. La variation de l’exposition témoigne de différences nutritionnelles entre les différents sousgroupes canadiens.

Prenatal Exposure of Canadian Children to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Mercury


This article documents the exposure to environmental contaminants within subgroups of the Canadian population who are considered to be at risk as a result of the food they eat. We measured the concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury in the blood drawn from the umbilical cords of newborns in various Aboriginal communities, in a coastal community and in the general population. Average concentrations of Aroclor 1260 ranged between 0.3 and 2.0 μg/L and were clearly highest among the Inuit of Nunavik and Baffin Island and among the Montagnais of Quebec. In these groups, we found contaminant levels in the blood of newborns that exceed the threshold beyond which cognitive impairments are expected to result. Average concentrations of mercury ranged between 1.0 and 14.2 μg/L; the Inuit of Nunavik and the NWT exhibited the highest exposure levels. A portion of the Nunavik and NWT Inuit had concentrations beyond the critical threshold for the appearance of neurological consequences. The variations in exposure levels resulted from the different nutritional practices of these Canadian sub-groups.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de médecine sociale et préventiveUniversité LavalCanada
  2. 2.Équipe santé et environnementCentre de santé publique de QuébecBeauportCanada

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