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Exposure of lead to mothers and their new born infants, residents of industrial and domestic areas of Pakistan

Abstract

Prenatal and early-life exposure to lead (Pb) is hypothesized to have adverse effects on childhood health. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prenatal exposure to Pb and its adverse effects on mothers and their infants who are residents of industrial (exposed) and domestic areas (referents) in Karachi, Pakistan. The biological samples (scalp hair and blood) of mother–infants pairs were analyzed for Pb levels by atomic absorption spectrometry after microwave-assisted acid digestion method. The Pb levels in scalp hair and blood samples of exposed mothers were found in the range of 7.52–8.70 μg/g and 115–270 μg/L, respectively, which were significantly higher than those values obtained for referent mothers (p < 0.001). The Pb levels in the blood (umbilical cord) and hair of neonates of exposed mother that were found in the range of 83–178 μg/L and 4.95–7.23 μg/g, respectively, were significantly higher than the obtained values of referent neonates (p > 0.001). The correlation between maternal and cord blood of both groups was found in the range of 0.708–0.724 (p < 0.01). It was observed that there were higher Pb burdens in exposed mothers and their infants as compared to referent mothers–neonates.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the nursing and medical staff of Civil and Jinnah Postgraduate Hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan, for the samples and information collection. The cooperation of the study females (mothers) and their family members also helped to make this work possible. This study was funded by grants from the NCEAC working under the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

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Correspondence to Tasneem G. Kazi.

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Kazi, T.G., Shah, F., Shaikh, H.R. et al. Exposure of lead to mothers and their new born infants, residents of industrial and domestic areas of Pakistan. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 3021–3030 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-2223-7

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Keywords

  • Mother-child-pairs
  • Prenatal lead exposure
  • Maternal blood
  • Cord blood
  • Scalp hair