Caribbean Consortium for Research in Environmental and Occupational Health (CCREOH) Cohort Study: influences of complex environmental exposures on maternal and child health in Suriname

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE: The Caribbean Consortium for Research in Environmental and Occupational Health prospective environmental epidemiologic cohort study addresses the impact of chemical and non-chemical environmental exposures on mother/child dyads in Suriname. The study determines associations between levels of environmental elements and toxicants in pregnant women, and birth outcomes and neurodevelopment in their children. PARTICIPANTS: Pregnant women (N=1143) were enrolled from December 2016 to July 2019 from three regions of Suriname: Paramaribo (N=738), Nickerie (N=204) and the tropical rainforest interior (N=201). Infants (N=992) were enrolled at birth. Follow-up will take place until children are 48 months old. FINDINGS TO DATE: Biospecimens and questionnaire data on physiological and psychosocial health in pregnant women have been analysed. 39.1% had hair mercury (Hg) levels exceeding values considered safe by international standards. Median hair Hg concentrations in women from Paramaribo (N=522) were 0.64 µg/g hair (IQRs 0.36-1.09; range 0.00-7.12), from Nickerie (N=176) 0.73 µg/g (IQR 0.45-1.05; range 0.00-5.79) and the interior (N=178) 3.48 µg/g (IQR 1.92-7.39; range 0.38-18.20). 96.1% of women ate fish, respective consumption of the three most consumed carnivorous species, Hoplias aimara, Serrasalmus rhombeus and Cichla ocellaris, known to have high Hg levels, was 44.4%, 19.3% and 26.3%, respectively, and was greater among the interior subcohort. 89% frequently consumed the vegetable tannia, samples of which showed presence of worldwide banned pesticides. 24.9% of pregnant women had Edinburgh Depression Scale scores indicative of probable depression. FUTURE PLANS: Fish consumption advisories are in development, especially relevant to interior women for whom fish consumption is likely to be the primary source of Hg exposure. Effects of potentially beneficial neuroprotective factors in fish that may counter neurotoxic effects of Hg are being examined. A pesticide literacy assessment in pregnant women is in progress. Neurodevelopmental assessments and telomere length measurements of the children to evaluate long-term effects of prenatal exposures to toxicant mixtures are ongoing.
  • Published In

  • BMJ Open  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zijlmans W; Wickliffe J; Hindori-Mohangoo A; MacDonald-Ottevanger S; Ouboter P; Landburg G; Codrington J; Roosblad J; Baldewsingh G; Ramjatan R
  • Start Page

  • e034702
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 9