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Lead Levels in Breast Milk, Blood Plasma and Intelligence Quotient: A Health Hazard for Women and Infants


Lead levels in human breast milk and blood plasma or serum were analyzed and qualitatively their intelligence quotient (I.Q.) studied. Samples at different stages of lactation, from 5 days to 51 weeks post partum, were collected from 25 healthy breast-feeding mothers in Ranipet Industrial area of Vellore district of Tamil Nadu and from 25 lactating mothers in the non-industrial areas of the same district. The samples from mothers in non-industrial area showed lower lead levels ranging from 5 to 25 μg/L whereas samples from mothers in industrial area showed higher lead levels ranging between 15 and 44.5 μg/L. It was generally noticed that the lactating mothers from industrial area have lower I.Q. levels compared to mothers from non-industrial area.

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The authors thank VIT University, Vellore and Tychicus. D, Selvin James. S for their help in sample collection and determination of actual concentrations of toxicants.

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Correspondence to A. Sivakumar.

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Isaac, C.P.J., Sivakumar, A. & Kumar, C.R.P. Lead Levels in Breast Milk, Blood Plasma and Intelligence Quotient: A Health Hazard for Women and Infants. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 88, 145–149 (2012).

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  • Lead (Pb)
  • Breast milk
  • Intelligence quotient (I.Q.)
  • Human