Aim Lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd) are found widely in environment and stay in nature for a long time. These toxic chemicals have some hazardous effects on child health. The purpose of this study are to determine the levels of heavy metals (Pb, Hg, Cd) in breast milk and infant hair, related environmental factors and the effect on infant growth and development at the postpartum 8th month.
Method As a part of the cohort study at Hacettepe University Department of Social Paediatrics, 74 breast milk samples and 46 infant hair samples were taken at the postpartum 8th month. Mothers’ environmental exposure were evaluated by a semistructured questionnaire.
Results Pb, Hg, Cd were detected in breast milk samples of 91%, 87%, 99%, respectively. Breast milk Hg levels were associated with maternal vitamin use within the first 2 months after delivery, breast milk Cd levels were higher in cases with expanded family, living in older house and in urban with air pollution during childhood. Higher infantile hair Cd levels were higher in cases with expanded family, living older house, maternal history of anaemia and postpartum anaemia. In girls z scores of birth weight, height for age at the 8 th month were inversely correlated with infant hair Pb levels. In boys, z scores of body mass index at the 8th month were inversely correlated with infant hair Cd levels. The levels of breast milk Hg levels were higher in infants with Denver II suspicious/abnormal.
Conclusion It is suggested that presence of Pb, Hg, Cd in breast milk and infant hair have been affected infants of developmental and growth parameters. Preventive measures must be taken to reduce environmental toxic metals pollution and efforts should be made for the management of anaemia in females in all age groups.
- breast milk
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