Estimating prenatal exposure to lead in Iowa newborns

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Project Period: 
Project Investigator(s): 
A. Saftlas, K. Ryckman, Department of Epidemiology, The University of Iowa

Lead is a highly potent human toxicant that readily crosses the placenta of the developing fetus and impairs the development and function of multiple organ systems. Developing effective methods for measuring prenatal lead exposure and identifying women at risk for high lead levels in pregnancy is an essential public health priority. This pilot project will: 1) estimate the correlation of lead concentrations measured from 50 paired newborn dried blood spot and fetal cord blood samples; and 2) identify geographical “hot spots” for prenatal lead exposure in Iowa based on a consecutive sample of 1,866 Iowa newborns with lead concentrations measured from newborn blood spot cards. These pilot data will be used to design a larger investigation with the objectives of establishing baseline levels of lead exposure in newborns and identifying high-risk subgroups for intervention.