Higher milk intake during pregnancy is associated with lower maternal and umbilical cord lead levels in postpartum women.Environ Res. 1997; 74(2):116-21.ER
Lead exposure and its deleterious effects continue to be a problem in many countries. The lack of effective and safe treatments for low-level intoxication has promoted environmental interventions to control different sources of lead. In this study we evaluated the effect of milk consumption in 1849 mother-and-child pairs participating in the lead surveillance program in Mexico City. The mean lead levels were 11.2 micrograms/dL for maternal blood lead (MBL) and 10.8 micrograms/dL in umbilical cord. The correlation between blood lead and umbilical cord lead was r = 0.74. Forty-eight percent of the MBL exceeded 10 micrograms/dL and 9.5% exceeded 20 micrograms/dL. Maternal blood lead was positively related to the use of lead-glazed ceramic were and to traffic exposure and was inversely related to the consumption of milk and orange juice. Women who reported the consumption of more than 7 glasses of milk per week had a blood lead level of 8.7 micrograms/dL; in comparison, those women who reported a consumption of less than 7 glasses per week had a blood lead level of 11.1 micrograms/dL. Similar findings were observed for lead measured in umbilical cord. The association between lead levels and milk intake remained unchanged after taking in consideration other predictors of blood lead. This study suggests that a simple intervention could reduce lead burden among women and their newborns.