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Maternal and fetal blood lead levels

Karimi, P.G.
Modley, J.
Jinabhai, C.C.
Nriagu, J.
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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