Interactions occur between concentrations of metals in the human body and the environment in various geographic locations, which can be of importance for both the proper development and the course of pregnancy.

The aim of the study was to assess the concentrations of Zn, Cu and Cd and Zn:Cu and Zn:Cd molar ratios in the placenta, umbilical cord and in the foetal membrane, and to examine the relationship between concentrations of these elements and the place of residence.

Material and methods:
The research material was obtained from 99 healthy women from north-western and central Poland. Data for the study were collected from the medical history and documents of admission to the ward and documents confirming the birth of the newborn. Concentrations of zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and cadmium (Cd) were determined using the ICP–AES method (spectrophotometry of atomic absorption) in inductively coupled argon plasma.

The average concentration of Zn, Cu and Cd in afterbirths was ~ 0.01 mg/kg of dry weight (dw). In central Poland, the results revealed a significant increase in zinc in the membrane (OR=1.098, p=0.002), cadmium in the placenta (OR=1.324, p=0.006), Zn:Cu in the membrane (OR=1.012, p<0.001). In north-western Poland, an increase in copper in the membrane (OR=1.239, p=0.025) was revealed.

The use biological materials, such as the placenta, foetal membrane and umbilical cord to assess exposure to heavy metals and necessary elements is justified.

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