The effects of low-level prenatal lead exposure on birth outcomes.Environ Pollut. 2013 Apr; 175:30-4.EP
Exposure to lead early in life may be a risk factor for fetal growth, but little is known about the effects of low-level prenatal lead exposure on birth outcomes. We measured maternal and cord blood lead levels and examined their associations with birth outcomes. Mother-infant pairs (n = 252) were recruited from a rural area located on the south coast of Laizhou Bay between 2010 and 2011. The median levels of maternal and cord blood lead were 3.20 and 2.52 μg/dL, respectively. Increasing maternal blood lead exposure was associated with decreasing birth weight (β = -148.99; 95% CI, -286.33 to -11.66), and a significant negative relationship was found between cord blood lead levels and birth length (β = -0.84; 95% CI, -1.52 to -0.16). Low-level prenatal lead exposure may adversely affect fetal growth. These results may be important for public health and have implications regarding the recommended blood lead levels.