Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 111–124 | Cite as

Selenium, cadmium, lead, and mercury concentrations in human breast milk, in placenta, maternal blood, and the blood of the newborn

  • P. Schramel
  • S. Hasse
  • J. Ovcar-Pavlu


The concentrations of the trace elements Cd, Hg, Pb, and Se during the perinatal period in human placenta and in the blood of the mother and the newborn (cord blood) were determined. Breast milk (colostrum and mature milk) was also included to permit correlations between the different compartments. For Cd, a placental barrier exists, in accord with previous observations. For Pb, a strong correlation between the concentrations in the blood of the mother and of the newborn was found. The concentration of Hg was in most cases below low the detection limit. Its concentration in colostrum was higher than in the mature milk. The results for Se reflect the knowledge about an essential trace element. Strong positive correlations were noted between maternal blood and cord blood and maternal milk.

Anodic stripping voltammetry (DPASV) was used for the determination of Cd and Pb, cold vapor AAS (CVAAS) for the determination of Hg, and instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) for the determination of Se.

Index Entries

Human breast milk—Cd, Pb, Hg, and Se in placenta—Cd, Pb, Hg, and Se in maternal blood—Cd, Pb, Hg, and Se in newborns’ blood—Cd, Pb, Hg, and Se in 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Schramel
    • 1
  • S. Hasse
    • 1
  • J. Ovcar-Pavlu
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Ökologische ChemieGesellschaft für Strahlen- und Umweltforschung mbHNewherbergFRG

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