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  QUESTION: Blood lead level prior to conception, 12 Nov 2003, Victoria Australia


I am trying to get pregnant and have been doing copper foiling using solder. I am wondering how long before trying to get pregnant I should stop doing this. I am just finishing my last project.

I was not sure if I should stop soldering months before trying or just when trying. I have only been working on this one project for approximately 15 hours in the past month.

I hope you can advise me as this has really been concerning me, especially since I will be doing IVF.


ANSWER: 12 Nov 2003

Dear Madam, It is recommended that you have a blood lead level below 10 micrograms per decilitre (<10 g/dL) before conception and, in case your partner also has an elevated blood lead level, it is recommended that he has a blood lead level below 10 micrograms per decilitre (<10 g/dL) FOR FOUR MONTHS before conception. If the copper foiling was done in such a way that you were exposed to lead, then once you have stopped doing it the blood lead level will fall but the amount of time it takes to fall will depend on how long you were exposed to what level of lead. Taking sufficient calcium, iron, zinc, Vit C and protein may help your blood lead level to fall.

In other words, ask your doctor for a blood lead test (you and your partner) to help you decide when to conceive. If your blood lead level is elevated, change the way you do the foiling or stop doing it altogether. See Beware The Lead In Leadlighting  and Lead alert facts: lead in stained glass  for ways to work safely with lead.

I hope this helps.
Elizabeth O'Brien

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