Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Environmental Health Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (xx, 401 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Patrick J Parsons

Committee Members

Kenneth M Aldous, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Irina Birman, Dula Amarasiriwardena


biomonitoring, fetal exposure, human placenta, ICP-MS, tissue digestion, trace elements, Placenta, Trace elements, Biological monitoring, Biological Monitoring, environmental monitoring

Subject Categories

Analytical Chemistry | Inorganic Chemistry | Public Health


The placenta forms in eutherian mammals, and is responsible for the nutrition of the developing fetus. However, maternal exposure to environmental pollutants both before and during pregnancy may result in the passage of toxins through the placental barrier and into fetal tissues. The placenta is the only organ derived from both maternal and fetal tissues, and establishes a link between the fetus and the environmental exposures of the mother. The analysis of placentae for the presence of environmental pollutants offers the possibility of exposure measurements in both the mother and the developing fetus. Specifically, trace element determination in human placentae may reveal fetal nutritional requirements, as well as identify potential indicators of negative health effects in both the mother and fetus.