An association between maternal lead and cadmium levels and birth weight of the babies in North Indian population


Lead is listed as the 2nd and Cadmium as the 7th hazardous substance by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Exposure to Lead and Cadmium above the permissible levels among pregnants may cause adverse effects on newborns in the form of Low Birth Weight and Preterm Labor, etc. The objectives of this study were to find out the level of Lead and Cadmium in maternal venous blood and cord blood and to find out the association of the levels of these metals with birth weight of babies. For this, the venous blood and cord blood were collected and quantitative estimation of Lead and Cadmium was carried out by Double Beam Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer in 1000 women with average Body Mass Index. Results showed higher mean maternal blood Lead level (11.08 μg/dl with range of 2.6 - 21.3) than the normal recommended by Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (10 μg/dl). On the contrary, the mean Cadmium level was 0.095 μg/dl, which was below the normal value as assigned by WHO (0.1 μg/dl). In high Lead exposure group (>10 μg/dl), 43.7% of babies and in high Cadmium exposure group (>0.1 μg/dl), 46.2% of babies were found to have low birth weight. However, this was not statistically significant. Further research in this area in a larger sample size may provide information relevant enough to be transferred to decision makers to implement measures to effectively reduce heavy metals from the environment, thereby protecting future generations from their deleterious effects.

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Dwivedi, D. , Jain, M. and Jain, S. (2013) An association between maternal lead and cadmium levels and birth weight of the babies in North Indian population. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 3, 331-336. doi: 10.4236/ojog.2013.33061.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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