Perinatal Metal and Metalloid Exposures and Offspring Cardiovascular Health Risk

Gyeyoon Yim, Lorena Reynaga, Velia Nunez, Caitlin G. Howe, Megan E. Romano, Yu Chen, Margaret R. Karagas, Claudia Toledo-Corral, Shohreh F. Farzan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Toxic metal exposures have been associated with cardiovascular disease in adults and growing evidence suggests metal exposures also adversely affect cardiovascular phenotypes in childhood and adolescence. However, to our knowledge, the influence of perinatal metals exposure, particularly metal mixtures, in relation to cardiovascular-related outcomes have not been comprehensively reviewed. Recent findings: We summarized 17 contemporary studies (2017–2021) that investigated the impact of perinatal metal exposures on measures of cardiovascular health in children. Accumulating evidence supports a potential adverse impact of perinatal Pb exposure on BP in children. Fewer recent studies have focused on perinatal As, Hg, and Cd; thus, the cardiovascular impacts of these metals are less clear. Studies of metal mixtures demonstrate that interactions between metals may be complex and have identified numerous understudied elements and essential metals, including Mo, Co, Ni, Se, Zn, and Mn, which may influence cardiovascular risk. Summary: A key question that remains is whether perinatal metals exposure influences cardiovascular health into adulthood. Comparisons across studies remain challenging due to several factors, including differences in the timing of exposure/outcome assessments and exposure biomarkers, as well as variability in exposure levels and mixture compositions across populations. Future studies longitudinally investigating trajectories of cardiovascular outcomes could help determine the influence of perinatal metals exposure on long-term effects of clinical relevance in later life and whether interventions, which reduce metals exposures during this key developmental window, could alter disease development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-734
Number of pages21
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Cardiovascular
  • Childhood
  • Children’s health
  • Metals
  • Mixtures
  • Perinatal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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