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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 413; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040413

Lead Exposure Assessment among Pregnant Women, Newborns, and Children: Case Study from Karachi, Pakistan

Department of Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi 74800, Pakistan
Department of Environmental and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Jichi Medical University, Shimotsuke 329-0498, Japan
Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Jichi Medical University, Shimotsuke 329-0498, Japan
Center for Health and Environmental Risk Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0053, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Katherine P. Theall and Carolyn C. Johnson
Received: 20 January 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 10 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Maternal and Child Health)
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Lead (Pb) in petrol has been banned in developed countries. Despite the control of Pb in petrol since 2001, high levels were reported in the blood of pregnant women and children in Pakistan. However, the identification of sources of Pb has been elusive due to its pervasiveness. In this study, we assessed the lead intake of pregnant women and one- to three-year-old children from food, water, house dust, respirable dust, and soil. In addition, we completed the fingerprinting of the Pb isotopic ratios (LIR) of petrol and secondary sources (food, house-dust, respirable dust, soil, surma (eye cosmetics)) of exposure within the blood of pregnant women, newborns, and children. Eight families, with high (~50 μg/dL), medium (~20 μg/dL), and low blood levels (~10 μg/dL), were selected from 60 families. The main sources of exposure to lead for children were food and house-dust, and those for pregnant women were soil, respirable dust, and food. LIR was determined by inductively coupled plasma quadrupole mass spectrometry (ICP-QMS) with a two sigma uncertainty of ±0.03%. The LIR of mothers and newborns was similar. In contrast, surma, and to a larger extent petrol, exhibited a negligible contribution to both the child’s and mother’s blood Pb. Household wet-mopping could be effective in reducing Pb exposure. This intake assessment could be replicated for other developing countries to identify sources of lead and the burden of lead exposure in the population. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lead (Pb); surma; pregnant women; newborn; children; Pakistan Lead (Pb); surma; pregnant women; newborn; children; Pakistan

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Fatmi, Z.; Sahito, A.; Ikegami, A.; Mizuno, A.; Cui, X.; Mise, N.; Takagi, M.; Kobayashi, Y.; Kayama, F. Lead Exposure Assessment among Pregnant Women, Newborns, and Children: Case Study from Karachi, Pakistan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 413.

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