Document Detail

Effect of breast milk lead on infant blood lead levels at 1 month of age.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15471729     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Nursing infants may be exposed to lead from breast milk, but relatively few data exist with which to evaluate and quantify this relationship. This route of exposure constitutes a potential infant hazard from mothers with current ongoing exposure to lead as well as from mothers who have been exposed previously due to the redistribution of cumulative maternal bone lead stores. We studied the relationship between maternal breast milk lead and infant blood lead levels among 255 mother-infant pairs exclusively or partially breast-feeding through 1 month of age in Mexico City. A rigorous, well-validated technique was used to collect, prepare, and analyze the samples of breast milk to minimize the potential for environmental contamination and maximize the percent recovery of lead. Umbilical cord and maternal blood lead were measured at delivery; 1 month after delivery (+/- 5 days) maternal blood, bone, and breast milk and infant blood lead levels were obtained. Levels of lead at 1 month postpartum were, for breast milk, 0.3-8.0 microg/L (mean +/- SD, 1.5 +/- 1.2); maternal blood lead, 2.9-29.9 microg/dL (mean +/- SD, 9.4 +/- 4.5); and infant blood lead, 1.0-23.1 microg/dL (mean +/- SD, 5.5 +/- 3.0). Infant blood lead at 1 month postpartum was significantly correlated with umbilical cord (Spearman correlation coefficient rS = 0.40, p < 0.0001) and maternal (rS= 0.42, p < 0.0001) blood lead at delivery and with maternal blood (rS= 0.67, p < 0.0001), patella rS = 0.19, p = 0.004), and breast milk (rS = 0.32, p < 0.0001) lead at 1 month postpartum. Adjusting for cord blood lead, infant weight change, and reported breast-feeding status, a difference of approximately 2 microg/L (ppb; from the midpoint of the lowest quartile to the midpoint of the highest quartile) breast milk lead was associated with a 0.82 microg/dL increase in blood lead for breast-feeding infants at 1 month of age. Breast milk lead accounted for 12% of the variance of infant blood lead levels, whereas maternal blood lead accounted for 30%. Although these levels of lead in breast milk were low, they clearly have a strong influence on infant blood lead levels over and above the influence of maternal blood lead. Additional information on the lead content of dietary alternatives and interactions with other nutritional factors should be considered. However, because human milk is the best and most complete nutritional source for young infants, breast-feeding should be encouraged because the absolute values of the effects are small within this range of lead concentrations.
Adrienne S Ettinger; Martha María Téllez-Rojo; Chitra Amarasiriwardena; David Bellinger; Karen Peterson; Joel Schwartz; Howard Hu; Mauricio Hernández-Avila
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental health perspectives     Volume:  112     ISSN:  0091-6765     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Health Perspect.     Publication Date:  2004 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-10-08     Completed Date:  2004-12-22     Revised Date:  2013-06-09    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0330411     Medline TA:  Environ Health Perspect     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1381-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Environmental Epidemiology Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Landmark Center, 401 Park Drive, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Breast Feeding*
Cross-Sectional Studies
Environmental Exposure*
Fetal Blood / chemistry
Infant, Newborn
Lead / analysis*,  pharmacokinetics*
Milk, Human / chemistry*
Risk Assessment
Urban Population
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:

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