Environ Health. 2023 Oct 26;22(1):74. doi: 10.1186/s12940-023-01026-2.
BACKGROUND: Fluoride is ubiquitous in the United States (US); however, data on biomarkers and patterns of fluoride exposure among US pregnant women are scarce. We examined specific gravity adjusted maternal urinary fluoride (MUFsg) in relation to sociodemographic variables and metal co-exposures among pregnant women in Los Angeles, California.
METHODS: Participants were from the Maternal and Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors (MADRES) cohort. There were 293 and 490 women with MUFsg measured during first and third trimesters, respectively. An intra-class correlation coefficient examined consistency of MUFsg between trimesters. Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests examined associations of MUFsg with sociodemographic variables. Covariate adjusted linear regression examined associations of MUFsg with blood metals and specific gravity adjusted urine metals among a subsample of participants within and between trimesters. A False Discovery Rate (FDR) correction accounted for multiple comparisons.
RESULTS: Median (IQR) MUFsg was 0.65 (0.5) mg/L and 0.8 (0.59) mg/L, during trimesters one and three respectively. During both trimesters, MUFsg was higher among older participants, those with higher income, and White, non-Hispanic participants than Hispanic participants. MUFsg was also higher for White, non-Hispanic participants than for Black, non-Hispanic participants in trimester three, and for those with graduate training in trimester one. MUFsg was negatively associated with blood mercury in trimester one and positively associated with blood lead in trimester three. MUFsg was positively associated with various urinary metals, including antimony, barium, cadmium, cobalt, copper, lead, nickel, tin, and zinc in trimesters one and/or three.
CONCLUSIONS: MUFsg levels observed were comparable to those found in pregnant women in Mexico and Canada that have been associated with poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes. Lower urinary fluoride levels among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black participants in MADRES compared to non-Hispanic White participants may reflect lower tap water consumption or lower fluoride exposure from other sources. Additional research is needed to examine whether MUFsg levels observed among pregnant women in the US are associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes.