Seasonal variation in bone lead contribution to blood lead during pregnancy

Stephen J. Rothenberg, Vladislav Kondrashov, Mario Manalo, William I. Manton, Fuad Khan, Andrew C. Todd, Calvin Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Population blood lead level (PbB) often shows seasonal variation, frequently being higher in summer and lower in winter. As vitamin D metabolites also show seasonal variability, and the metabolites are associated with bone metabolism, some authors have posited a role for bone lead release in seasonal PbB changes. We made third trimester and post-delivery PbB measurements on 414 immigrant women (98% Latina) in Los Angeles. We measured in vivo tibia and calcaneus (heel) lead concentration post-delivery via K-shell X-ray fluorescence. We saw evidence of seasonal variation in prenatal PbB, but not postnatal PbB. PbB was highest in spring and lowest in autumn. Tibia lead concentration was associated with prenatal PbB, as reported before. The contribution of tibia lead to prenatal PbB varied seasonally, with the greatest contribution occurring in the winter quarter and the least in the summer quarter. The temporal pattern of bone lead contribution to PbB follows the seasonal alteration of insolation. There was no seasonal component in prenatal PbB associated with calcaneus lead, nor were there seasonal variations in either calcaneus or tibia lead contributions to postnatal PbB. Bone turnover in the third trimester of pregnancy may be higher in winter months than in summer months, resulting in greater fetal lead exposure in spring than at other times of the year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-194
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Blood
  • Bone
  • Lead
  • Pb
  • Pregnancy
  • Season


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