Association of mercury exposure and maternal sociodemographics on birth outcomes of indigenous and tribal women in suriname

Academic Article


  • Information regarding adverse birth outcomes (ABO) of Indigenous and Tribal women living in the remote tropical rainforest of Suriname, where mercury (Hg) use is abundant in artisanal gold mining, is not available. In the context of a health system analysis, we examined the association between Hg exposure, maternal sociodemographics on the ABO of Indigenous and Tribal women living in Suriname’s interior and its capital, Paramaribo. ABO were determined in pregnant women enrolled from December 2016 to July 2019 in the Caribbean Consortium for Environmental and Occupational Health prospective environmental epidemiologic cohort study. Associations were explored using Pearson’s χ2-test and the Mann–Whitney U-test. Among 351 singleton participants, 32% were Indigenous, residing mainly in the interior (86.8%), and 23.1% had ABO. Indigenous participants had higher rates of ABO (29.8% vs. 19.8%) and preterm birth (PTB) (21.2% vs. 12.4%), higher Hg levels, delivered at a younger age, were less educated, and had lower household income compared to Tribal participants. Multivariate logistic regression models revealed that Indigenous participants had higher odds of ABO (OR = 3.60; 95% CI 1.70–7.63) and PTB (OR = 3.43; 95% CI 1.48–7.96) compared with Tribal participants, independent of Hg exposure and age at delivery. These results highlight the importance of effective risk reduction measures in support of Indigenous mothers, families, and communities.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Baldewsingh GK; Hindori-Mohangoo AD; van Eer ED; Covert HH; Shankar A; Wickliffe JK; Shi L; Lichtveld MY; Zijlmans WCWR
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 12