Prenatal exposure to lead in France: cord-blood levels and associated factors: results from the perinatal component of the French Longitudinal Study since Childhood (Elfe)

Publié le 1 Mars 2018
Mis à jour le 10 septembre 2019

Background: as a result of the ban on lead in gasoline on 2nd January 2000, the French population's exposure to lead has decreased in recent years. However, because of the acknowledged harmful cognitive effects of lead even at low levels, lead exposure remains a major public health issue. In France, few biomonitoring data are available for exposure to lead in pregnant women and newborn. The purpose of the perinatal component of the French human biomonitoring (HBM) program was to describe levels of various biomarkers of exposure to several environmental pollutants, including lead, among mother-baby pairs. In this paper, we aimed to describe the distribution of cord blood lead levels (CBLL) in French mother-baby pairs, and to estimate the contribution of the main lead exposure risk factors to these levels. Method: a total of 1968 mother-baby pairs selected from the participants of the perinatal component of the French HBM program were included in the study on lead. Lead levels were analyzed in cord blood collected at child delivery by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The data collected included biological sample, socio-demographic characteristics, environmental and occupational exposure, and information on dietary factors. Results: CBLL were quantified for 99.5% of the sample. The CBLL geometric mean was 8.30/Œg/l (95% CI [7.94 8.68]) with a 95th percentile of 24.3/Œg/l (95% CI [20.7 27.1]). Factors significantly associated with CBLL were tap water consumption, alcohol consumption, shellfish consumption, vegetable consumption, bread consumption, smoking, and the mother being born in countries where lead is often used. Conclusion: this study provides the first reference value for CBLL in a random sample of mother-baby pairs not particularly exposed to high levels of lead (24.3/Œg/l). A substantial decrease in CBLL over time was observed, which confirms the decrease of exposure to lead among the general population. CBLL observed in this French study were in the range of those found in recent surveys conducted in other countries.

Auteur : Saoudi A, Dereumeaux C, Goria S, Berat B, Brunel S, Pecheux M, de Crouy Chanel P, Zeghnoun A, Rambaud L, Wagner V, Le Tertre A, Fillol C, Vandentorren S, Guldner L
International journal of hygiene and environmental health, 2018, vol. 221, n°. 3, p. 441-450