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Plasma and Urinary Aluminum Concentrations in Severely Anemic Geophagous Pregnant Women in the Bas Maroni Region of French Guiana: A Case-Control Study

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  • Service de Gynécologie Obstétrique, Centre Hospitalier de l'Ouest Guyanais, Saint Laurent du Maroni, Guyane Française; Service de Biologie Médicale, Centre Hospitalier de l'Ouest Guyanais, Saint Laurent du Maroni, Guyane Française; Centre d'Investigations Cliniques et Epidémiologie Clinique Antilles Guyane, Centre Hospitalier de Cayenne, Cayenne, Guyane Française; Laboratoire de Toxicologie, Groupe Hospitalier du Havre, Le Havre, France; Laboratoire de Pathologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Rouen, Rouen, France
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The clays consumed by geophagous individuals contain large quantities of aluminum, a known neurological and hematological toxin. This is the first study to evaluate the risk of aluminum poisoning in geophagous individuals. Blind determinations of plasma and urinary aluminum concentrations were carried out in 98 anemic geophagous pregnant women and 85 non-anemic non-geophagous pregnant women. Aluminum concentrations were significantly higher (P < 0.0001) in the geophagous anemic women than in the controls, with odds ratios of 6.83 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.72–19.31) for plasma concentrations (13.92 ± 14.09 μg/L versus 4.95 ± 7.11 μg/L) and 5.44 (95% CI = 2.17–14.8) for urinary concentrations (92.83 ± 251.21 μg/L versus 12.11 ± 23 μg/L). The ingested clay is the most likely source of this overexposure to aluminum. If confirmed, the clinical consequences of this absorption for pregnant women and their offspring should be explored.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Veronique Lambert, Service de Gynécologie Obstétrique and Service de Biologie Medicale, Centre Hospitalier de l'Ouest Guyanais, 97320 Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana. E-mail: v.lambert@ch-ouestguyane.fr

Authors' addresses: Veronique Lambert, Wael El Guindi, Gabriel Carles, Rachida Bouhari, and Estelle Rouvier, Service de Gynécologie Obstétrique and Service de Biologie Medicale, Centre Hospitalier de l'Ouest Guyanais, Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana, E-mails: v.lambert@ch-ouestguyane.fr, welguindi@yahoo.com, g.carles@ch-ouestguyane.fr, r.bouhari@ch-ouestguyane.fr, and estelle.rouvier@hotmail.fr. Mathieu Nacher, Centre d'Investigations Cliniques, Centre Hospitalier Andre Rosemon, Cayenne, French Guiana, E-mail: mathieu.nacher@ch-cayenne.fr. Jean-Pierre Goulle, Laboratoire de Toxicologie, Groupe Hospitalier du Havre, Le Havre, France, E-mail: jgoulle@ch-havre.fr. Annie Laquerrière, Laboratoire de Pathologie, CHU de Rouen, Hôpital Charles Nicolle, Rouen Cedex, France, E-mail: Annie-Laquerrier@chu-rouen.fr.

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