Manganese (Mn), an essential nutrient, is a neurotoxicant at high concentrations. We measured Mn concentrations in repeated blood and hair samples collected from 449 pregnant women living near banana plantations with extensive aerial spraying of Mn-containing fungicide mancozeb in Costa Rica, and examined environmental and lifestyle factors associated with these biomarkers. Mean blood Mn and geometric mean hair Mn concentrations were 24.4 μg/L (8.9-56.3) and 1.8 μg/g (0.05-53.3), respectively. Blood Mn concentrations were positively associated with gestational age at sampling (β = 0.2; 95% CI: 0.1 to 0.2), number of household members (β = 0.4; 95% CI: 0.1 to 0.6), and living in a house made of permeable and difficult-to-clean materials (β = 2.6; 95% CI: 1.3 to 4.0); and inversely related to smoking (β = -3.1; 95% CI: -5.8 to -0.3). Hair Mn concentrations were inversely associated with gestational age at sampling (% change = 0.8; 95% CI: -1.6 to 0.0); and positively associated with living within 50 m of a plantation (% change = 42.1; 95% CI: 14.2 to 76.9) and Mn concentrations in drinking water (% change = 17.5; 95% CI: 12.2 to 22.8). Our findings suggest that pregnant women living near banana plantations aerially sprayed with mancozeb may be environmentally exposed to Mn. © 2014 American Chemical Society.
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