Cord blood lead level in an urban inner-city hospital

S. Chawla*, F. Elbakoush, G. Natarajan, M. Dwaihy, A. Berry, Y. Ravindranath, K. Bhambhani, S.B. Narayan | JNPM 2016;

Lead levels were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in umbilical cord blood samples of 150 neonates in an urban inner-city hospital. The mean (SD) gestation and birth weight of our cohort were 38.8 (1.7) weeks and 3,217 (519) grams. There were 89% African-Americans, 53% males and 79% were born via vaginal delivery. Mean (SD) maternal age was 24.5 (5.8) years. History of drug abuse and smoking was reported in 8.7% and 10.7% respectively, with only 1 mother reporting a history of high lead level in childhood. Prenatal vitamin intake was reported in 99.3%. Cord blood lead level was available in 144 patients, with lead level of <1μg/dL seen in 141 (97.9%) and>1 in 3 (2.1%) patients. No patient had cord blood lead level of >2μg/dL. High lead levels during childhood in high-risk urban population, however, suggest the need for intensive efforts for prevention of environmental exposure to lead in early childhood.

*Corresponding Author: 

Sanjay Chawla, Division of Neonatal Perinatal Medicine, Hutzel Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA. Tel.: +1 313 745 5638; Fax: +1 313 745 5867; E-mail: