Last update: Jan. 20, 2014

Lead

High Risk for breastfeeding


Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully.
Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives).
Read the Comment.

It is an environmental contaminant. As a heavy metal it is found in excess in products like paintings, fuel and metal industry. Certain make-ups, infusion herbals, meat from chased animals and ceramic made pottery may increase the risk of exposure. It can be stored in soft tissues for one month and in bones for decades. Removing of lead from bones occurs during pregnancy and lactation leading to an increase in the serum many years after exposure.

It can cause cardiovascular and respiratory toxicity. More intensively it affects infants and children it may cause neurologic damage.

Maximal accepted levels by international agencies like WHO, CDC, EFSA – even though a 0 level is desirable – are: 10 mcg/L in water, 5 mcg/L in breast milk and an ingestion of 2.5 mcg/k/d for infants less of 6 months of age.

Absorption through the lungs is 50% and through the gut is less than 10%.

In blood of unexposed persons serum levels should not be higher than 10 mcg/dL. Working mothers at fertile age showing a lead serum level higher than 30 mcg/dL should be removed from work place. Working pregnant or nursing women should be removed from places with high risk of toxin exposition (Regulated by EU Council Law/85/ from 19.10.1992).

Mothers should not breastfeed if they are found to be intoxicated or contaminated. Same recommendation is suitable for mothers who undergo a chelating treatment (since lead is removed from bones and let free). Blood and breast milk testing is highly recommended to have lead level measured. Mothers should avoid nursing whenever lead level is higher than 16 mcg/L in the milk or 16 mcg/dL in the serum. (Lead levels in the milk are usually 10% of those in the serum).

Benefits of breastfeeding widely overcome those issues related to the presence of low level environmental contaminants in human milk that in many instances are lower than those present in cow’s milk based products and other food. (Codex alimentarius FAO-WHO).

Published papers from studies done on this matter have shown higher lead levels contained in powdered artificial milks than in human milk.

Alternatives

We do not have alternatives for Lead.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Group

Lead belongs to this group or family:

Pharmacokinetics

Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 10 %
Molecular weight 207 daltons
T1/2 99999 hours
M/P ratio 0,1 -

References

  1. INSHT - Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo. Límites de exposición profesional para agentes químicos en España. 2017 Full text (in our servers)
  2. Lawrence RM. Circumstances when breastfeeding is contraindicated. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013 Feb;60(1):295-318. Abstract
  3. Ursinyova M, Masanova V. Cadmium, lead and mercury in human milk from Slovakia. Food Addit Contam. 2005 Abstract

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