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Environmental monitoring and assessment

Elevated titanium levels in Iraqi children with neurodevelopmental disorders echo findings in occupation soldiers.


PMID 25446717

Abstract

Anthropogenic release of pollutants into the environment is especially harmful to growing fetuses and young children. These populations are at an increased risk of damage because exposure to pollutants during critical periods of development can cause many impairments. Children's exposure to mixtures of metals could be responsible for the rising numbers of neurological disorders surfacing in Iraqi children. Titanium (Ti) and magnesium (Mg) are heavily used in war industries. Exposure to Ti and Mg has been linked to the dust in occupation soldiers' lungs. Hair samples of children in Hawija, Iraq (n = 13) contained significantly higher levels of Ti compared to Iranian children (n = 13) living near the Iraqi border (2080 ± 940 vs 707 ± 421xa0μg/kg, p < 0.0001). Magnesium was 1.7 times higher in Hawija children compared to Iranian children (115,763 ± 118,155 vs 67,650 ± 46,729xa0μg/kg). In samples from Hawija, Ti was 1.3 times higher in children with neurodevelopmental disorders (2198 ± 1108 vs 1942 ± 779xa0μg/kg), and Mg was 1.9 times higher in children without neurodevelopmental disorders (155,618 ± 140,791 vs 81,602 ± 91,940xa0μg/kg). Lead, arsenic, and cadmium in Hawija children with neurodevelopmental disorders (n = 6) were 2.5, 2.2, and 1.37 times higher compared to non-disabled children (n = 7). To get a clear understanding of the current status of neurodevelopmental disorders in Iraqi children and to determine the magnitude of this suspected global health issue, registries should be set up to compile and aggregate data from hospitals, clinics, and health centers across the country. Functional registries can develop collaborations with researchers toward finding causes of these disorders in Iraqi children and toward preventing them.

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