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  QUESTION: Lead poisoning during or prior to pregnancy, 15 Oct 2005, New South Wales Australia


I would appreciate if you can assist with my inquiries. Firstly, if you suspect that you or your 12mth old infant may have lead poisoning, is the blood test the most effective way of determining that? I have heard that testing a strand of your hair is more effective than a blood test. Is that true? If so, where can you have the hair strand test done?

I would also like to find out more information about lead poisoning occurring during pregnancy, i.e. being passed on through the placenta to the foetus.

Can you also tell me where I can access this reference listed on your website: Goldstein, G. W. (1992). Developmental neurobiology of lead toxicity. In Human Lead Exposure, ed H. L. Needleman, CRC Press.

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you via email.

Charmaine White

ANSWER: 20 Oct 2005

Dear Charmaine,

Thanks for calling today and sorry I had not yet had a chance to respond to your emailed query.

We can post you a copy of the Needleman book chapter from our library. As I mentioned on the phone, yes the blood test is always useful but if the lead exposure occurred some time ago, then you can contact the training body ACNEM (Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine) Practitioner Listing for a doctor who can carry out urine chelation challenge testing.

We do not regard hair lead results as interpretable but you may want to have a hair trace mineral analysis (HTMA) done in order to determine if you have any mineral deficiency or imbalance but you should only have this done if you can find a health professional who can guide you through the results and determine if any follow-up is required. This may be an ACNEM-trained doctor. For that reason, you probably don't need the contact details of the labs that carry out HTMA (because your health professional will already know them) but since you asked for them, they are: Interclinical Laboratories - ph 0292112200, Doctor's Data - ph 001116303778139,

Genova Diagnostics formerly Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory, Contact info

You can contact the guy in Perth, Andrew, on his mobile 0411358428. In view of my guess from your description that it is more likely that your partner had higher lead exposure during his work-related gun-use than you had while wearing a paper mask sanding a late 1960s home, I recommend that you go to "Teratogenesis And Mutagenesis Associated With The Exposure Of Human Males To Lead: A Review" By Uzych L. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 1985 Jan-Feb;58(1):9-17.. From this article if you click on "Related Links" you will find a further 131 articles on the topic of lead's reproductive effects.

I would very much appreciate hearing back from you as to how you go with both dealing with your baby's mitochondrial dysfunction and low muscle tone and also with determining if they are related to lead poisoning.

Kind regards
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

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