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Breast Milk Lead Concentrations of Mothers Living Near Tin Smelters

Abstract

We compared Pb concentration in human milk from 37 mothers living in a neighborhood of tin-ore smelters to that from 45 mothers living in a fishing community. The median breast-milk-Pb (BM-Pb) concentration was significantly (p = 0.0000001) higher (11.3 μg L−1; ≤0.96–29.4 μg L−1) in mothers living in the vicinity of smelters than that of rural mothers (1.9 μg L−1; ≤0.96–20.0 μg L−1). These mothers also showed a statistically significant correlation between length of residence and BM-Pb concentration (Spearman r = 0.6864; p < 0.0001). The estimated median exposure (for infants <6 months) was 3.0 μg kg−1 b.w. for rural infants compared to 7.5 μg kg−1 b.w. for infants in the vicinity of metal smelters. Overall, most BM-Pb concentrations (79 %) in the metal smelter area were above the critical limit of 5.0 μg L−1 set by the WHO.

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Correspondence to José G. Dórea.

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Marques, R.C., Moreira, M.d.R., Bernardi, J.V.E. et al. Breast Milk Lead Concentrations of Mothers Living Near Tin Smelters. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 91, 549–554 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-013-1093-5

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Keywords

  • Lead in human milk
  • Metal smelter
  • Environmental exposure