Maternal and fetal blood lead levels
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Background. Elevated blood lead levels during pregnancy can affect neurological development in the fetus 'and the child. The extent of this problem has not been well studied in ~ developing countries. ~ Aim. To assess maternal and fetal blood levels during pregnancy. Setting. The obstetric units of two hospitals in Durban serving disadvantaged communities. Results. Maternal and umbilical cord blood levels w~ analysed in 300 women at time of delivery. The me~' maternal blood lead level was 7.3 /lgl dl but 18.7% of the samples had values greater than 10 /lgl dI (the US Centers for Disease Control cut-off level for raised bloodlead level in children and pregnant women), The mean umbilical cord blood level was 6.3/lg1 dl and 12% had values greater than 10 IJg/dl. . Conclusion, This study indicates that there is a significant risk of maternal and fetal lead exposure in Durban and that public health measures to reduce.exposure are needed.
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