WSU Study Links Prenatal Mercury Exposure to Low IQ

Researchers suspect prenatal exposure to mercury may lead to mental disabilities in children.

A new study suggests that high levels of mercury in certain kinds seafood could harm the intelligence of children while they’re in the womb. Two Wayne State University researchers discovered the link while examining the IQs of almost 300 children born in remote arctic villages, where women of childbearing age tend to have higher levels of mercury in their blood due to their high-fat seafood diets. Doctors Sandra and Joseph Jacobson found the children with the highest mercury levels in their own blood were four times more likely to have an IQ below 80. That’s the clinical cutoff for having a learning disability. The Jacobsons tell WDET’s Pat Batcheller their findings reflect earlier research they did on the effects of PCBs in the Great Lakes

Their study was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal. You can read it here.

Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation.




  • Pat Batcheller
    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.