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Researchers investigating the impact of metal exposure on children

Friday, 12 November 2010


Researchers from the School of Natural Sciences and the School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences are searching for participants to be part of a study that investigates the human exposure to metals in our daily diets, particularly the diets of children.

The study will look at the levels of metal present in children’s diets and the contribution this makes to a child’s overall metal exposure, with researchers particularly interested in investigating the level of metals consumed by children aged five to six years.

Research Fellow, from the School of Computing, Health and Science, Dr Anna Callan believes the study will provide important information for parents looking to give their children the best diet possible.

“Low levels of metals are found in many types of foods. Certain metals such as iron, copper and manganese form an important part of our normal diet however an imbalance in our intake of these metals can lead to health problems.”

“Research is beginning to suggest that for other non-essential metals such as lead or cadmium, continual levels of exposure may also be associated with health effects.”

“At the moment little is known about children’s environmental exposure to metals in Australia, and in particular the effect this exposure has to their overall wellbeing,” said Dr Callan.  

Participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire on their child’s health and also complete a food frequency questionnaire with provides information about their typical diet over a four-month period.

In addition parents will be asked to record everything their child eats over a 24-hour period for one day in a diet diary, and provide researchers with samples of the food and water consumed during that period.

At the end of the 24-hour period parents will be asked to provide a sample of their child’s urine, which will be measured for metal content.

“This study aims to establish metal concentrations in children’s diets and how this contributes to a child’s overall metal exposure and will also help to determine the impact, if any, this has on their overall health and wellbeing,” said Dr Callan.

For more information, or to register your child as a participant, contact Dr Callan on 6304 2349 or email a.callan@ecu.edu.au.

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