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Lead, mercury, and cadmium exposure of neonates in Poland compared to Austria and other European countries



Lead, mercury, and cadmium exposure of neonates in Poland compared to Austria and other European countries



Trace Elements & Electrolytes 13(1): 22-25



In 64 newborn infants and their mothers from Lodz (Poland), lead, mercury, and cadmium were determined as markers for the exposure to heavy metals. The analysis of maternal blood, umbilical cord blood, urine, and breast milk was performed by using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. On average, 44.5 mu-g/l lead, 2.20 mu-g/l mercury, and 1.53 mu-g/l cadmium were present in maternal blood. The concentrations found in umbilical cord blood were 41.6 mu-g/l lead, 4.88 mu-g/l mercury, and 1.20 mu-g/l cadmium. There was a significant correlation between the maternal and the neonatal blood values with regard to mercury (r = 0.256, p lt 0.05) and cadmium (r = 0.758, p lt 0.001), but not with regard to lead (r = 0. 17, p gt 0.05). The lead and cadmium levels were markedly lower in urine than in blood; mercury was found in none of the urine samples. High lead concentrations were observed in breast milk (mean value 88.4 mu-g/l), whereas mercury (0.14 mu-g/l) and cadmium (2.75 mu-g/l) were present in lower concentrations. As against Austrian samples collected and analyzed at the same period of time, breast milk and blood samples from Poland contained distinct higher amounts of pollutants (with the exception of blood mercury, which was found to be higher in Austrian probes). Compared to data from other European studies no notable exposure to heavy metals was found in Polish neonates and their mothers, except for the markedly increased exposure to lead through breast milk.

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