Introduction and Objective: Lead is a known neurotoxic. Fetuses and infants are very vulnerable to lead exposure, since their blood-brain barrier is not completely formed. Hence, there is an importance for monitoring of blood lead levels prenatally and during early infancy. The aim of this study is to evaluate the prenatal exposure to lead and its association with maternal factors in four population based mother-child cohorts in Spain. The present research was carried out within the framework of the INMA project INfancia y Medio Ambiente (Environment and Childhood). Methods: A total of 1462 pregnant women were recruited between 2004 and 2008. Lead was analyzed in a sample of cord blood by thermal decomposition, amalgation, and Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. Maternal sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary factors were obtained by questionnaires during pregnancy. A multivariate logistic regression model was constructed. The dependent variable was a dichotomous lead level variable (detected vs no detected, i.e. ≥ vs < 2 μg/dL). Results: A low percentage of cord blood samples with lead levels ≥ 2 μg/dL were found (5.9%). Geometric mean and maximum were 1.06 μg/dL and 19 μg/dL, respectively. Smoking at the beginning of pregnancy, age, social class, weight gain during pregnancy, gravidity, and place of residence were the maternal factors associated with detectable cord blood lead levels. Mother's diet does not appear to be a determining factor of lead exposure. Nevertheless, daily intake of iron and zinc may act as a protective factor against having cord blood lead levels ≥ 2 μg/dL. Conclusion: In the different regions of Spain taking part in this study, lead levels to which newborns are exposed are low. Mobilization of lead from bones may be the main contributor to the cord blood levels.
- Lead exposure
- Maternal determinants