We measured high precision lead isotope ratios and lead concentrations in blood, urine, and environmental samples to assess the significance of diet as a contributing factor to blood and urine lead levels in a cohort of 23 migrant women and 5 Australian-born women. We evaluated possible correlations between levels of dietary lead intake and changes observed in blood and urine lead levels and isotopic composition during pregnancy and postpartum. Mean blood lead concentrations for both groups were approximately 3 μg/dl. The concentration of lead in the diet was 5.8 ± 3 μg Pb/kg [geometric mean (GM) 5.2] and mean daily dietary intake was 8.5 μg/kg/day (GM 7.4), with a range of 2-39 μg/kg/day. Analysis of 6-day duplicate dietary samples for individual subjects commonly showed major spikes in lead concentration and isotopic composition that were not reflected by associated changes in either blood lead concentration or isotopic composition. Changes in blood lead levels and isotopic composition observed during and after pregnancy could not be solely explained by dietary lead. These data are consistent with earlier conclusions that, in cases where levels of environmental lead exposure and dietary lead intake are low, skeletal contribution is the dominant contributor to blood lead, especially during pregnancy and postpartum.
- adult females
- lead isotopes