Essential and non-essential elements in biological samples of inhabitants residing in Nenets Autonomous Okrug of the Russian Arctic
Exposure of Arctic residents to environmental pollutants is an emerging public health problem receiving little global attention. The objective of this study was to assess whole blood concentrations of nine selected essential (Co, Cu, Mn, Se, Zn) and non-essential (As, Cd, Hg, Pb) elements among Nenets and non-Nenets adult residents of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO) living in seven coastal and inland settlements. Urine was collected in two settlements for assessment of iodine status. Altogether 297 whole blood and 68 urine samples were analysed by inductively coupled mass spectrometry and the accuracy of the measurements was assessed by use of human whole blood and urine quality control materials. Several essential and non-essential showed significant variations in whole blood concentrations characterized by gender, population group and locality. Cd levels among non-Nenets non-smokers (0.19 µg/L) indicated a dietary intake at a natural global background level. Hg concentrations in whole blood show that not more than 10% of women in the fertile age had a Hg intake above the EFAS’s recommendation. The Pb concentrations were in the range of, or partly exceeding reference values for increased risk of nephrotoxicity, and there is a need for a continued effort to reduce Pb exposure among the population groups in NAO. With high prevalence of obesity among the Nenets and non-Nenets population, a high prevalence of Fe-deficiency among menstruating women (<50 years) (37.2%) and a lower I status than recommended by WHO, these nutritional dependent components deserve further attention.