Aflatoxin exposure in children living in Mirpur, Dhaka: data from MAL-ED companion study

Mustafa Mahfuz, Mohammed Ashraful Alam, Shah Mohammad Fahim, Md Amran Gazi, Mohammad Jyoti Raihan, Muttaquina Hossain, Patricia A. Egner, Pascal Obong Bessong, William A. Petri, John D. Groopman, Tahmeed Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Dietary exposure to aflatoxin is implicated in growth faltering of children. Despite the high burden of childhood stunting in urban Bangladesh, there are no data on long-term exposure to aflatoxin. This study aimed to explore aflatoxin exposure levels in a group of children followed longitudinally. The current study used data and biospecimens collected during 2010–2014 as part of the MAL-ED birth cohort study in an urban slum of Mirpur, Dhaka where children were followed from birth to 36 months. AFB1-lysine adduct concentrations were determined by isotope dilution mass spectrometry from plasma samples collected at 7, 15, 24, and 36 months of age. The limit of detection was 0.5 pg of AFB1-lys/mg albumin. In 744 plasma samples, the geometric mean of AFB1-lysine/mg albumin was 1.07 pg (range 0.04–123.5 pg/mg albumin). The proportion of children with detectable aflatoxin exposure was 10.1, 20.9, 17.9, and 61.7% for 7, 15, 24, and 36 months, respectively. Reduction in breastfeeding prevalence (80% at 24 months vs. 38% in 36 months) corresponded with the high-level detection of AFB1-lysine at the age of 36 months. AFB1-lysine concentrations were the highest at the end of monsoon. This study reveals that 62% of children in slum settlement were exposed to aflatoxin by the end of the third year of life. High aflatoxin exposure was detected at the end of rainy season and with the introduction of family food. These findings suggest interventions to ameliorate the problem of chronic aflatoxin exposure including childhood stunting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-662
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • AFB1-lys
  • Aflatoxin
  • Bangladesh
  • MAL-ED
  • children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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