Breast milk can be a source of toxic material, along with the transfer of nutrients needed for infant growth. This study was conducted to measure the level of lead in maternal and neonatal blood and breast milk in Tehran, Iran.
In this cross-sectional study, 150 mothers and their infants were studied. Samples of maternal blood, fetal umbilical cord blood, breast milk, and amount of lead measured by atomic absorption method were collected. Correlations between lead levels and demographic characteristics of mother and infants were assessed.
The mean levels of lead in maternal and neonatal blood and breast milk were 9.79±4.31, 8.29±4.83, and 8.65±3.67 μg/dl, respectively. The different levels of lead were associated with cord blood, maternal blood, and breast milk. No significant relationship was found between lead levels and neonatal parameters (i.e., weight, height, and head circumference). The Spearman's correlation also showed the association between different levels of lead with cord blood, maternal blood, and breast milk. Linear regression also did not show any relationship between lead levels in cord blood, milk, and mother blood with newborn growth parameters.
The present study failed to find a significant correlation between lead and newborn birth parameters. In our study, lead levels in maternal blood, breast milk, and cord blood were lower, compared those of the previous years in Iran; however, it needs to decrease, because lead even at very low concentrations may also have adverse effects.