Higher Infant Blood Lead Levels with Longer Duration of Breastfeeding

Betsy Lozoff, Elias Jimenez, Abraham W. Wolf, Mary Lu Angelilli, Jigna Zatakia, Sandra W. Jacobson, Niko Kaciroti, Katy M. Clark, Min Tao, Marcela Castillo, Tomas Walter, Paulina Pino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether longer breastfeeding is associated with higher infant lead concentrations. Study design: Data were analyzed from 3 studies of developmental effects of iron deficiency in infancy: Costa Rica (1981-1984), Chile (1991-1996), and Detroit (2002-2003). The relation between duration of breastfeeding and lead levels was assessed with Pearson product-moment or partial correlation coefficients. Results: More than 93% of the Costa Rica and Chile samples was breastfed (179 and 323 breastfed infants, respectively; mean weaning age, 8-10 months), as was 35.6% of the Detroit sample (53 breastfed infants; mean weaning age, 4.5 months). Lead concentrations averaged 10.8 μg/dL (Costa Rica, 12-23 months), 7.8 μg/dL (Chile, 12 months), and 2.5 μg/dL (Detroit, 9-10 months). Duration of breastfeeding as sole milk source and total breastfeeding correlated with lead concentration in all samples (r values = 0.14-0.57; P values = .06-<.0001). Conclusions: Longer breastfeeding was associated with higher infant lead concentration in 3 countries, in 3 different decades, in settings differing in breastfeeding patterns, environmental lead sources, and infant lead levels. The results suggest that monitoring lead concentrations in breastfed infants be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-667
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Higher Infant Blood Lead Levels with Longer Duration of Breastfeeding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this