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      A prospective study of birthweight and length of gestation in a population surrounding a lead smelter in Kosovo, Yugoslavia.

      International Journal of Epidemiology

      Yugoslavia, Adult, Birth Weight, Embryonic and Fetal Development, drug effects, Environmental Exposure, Female, Fetal Blood, chemistry, Gestational Age, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Lead, adverse effects, blood, Maternal-Fetal Exchange, Metallurgy, Pregnancy, Prospective Studies

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          Abstract

          This paper tests the hypothesis that exposure to lead during pregnancy is associated with reduced intrauterine growth and an increase in preterm delivery. The sample comprises women, recruited at mid-pregnancy, residing in Titova Mitrovica, a lead smelter town, or in Pristina, a non-exposed town 25 miles away. Both towns are in the province of Kosovo, Yugoslavia. Mean blood lead concentrations (BPb's) at mid-pregnancy were 0.92 mumol/L (+/- 0.38, N = 401) in the exposed town and 0.27 mumol/L (+/- 0.09, N = 506) in the comparison town. No differences were found between towns for either birthweight or length of gestation. Mean birthweight was 3308 (+/- 566) grams in Titova Mitrovica and 3361 (+/- 525) grams in Pristina. Mean length of gestation was 274 (+/- 18.8) days in Titova Mitrovica and 275 (+/- 15.6) days in Pristina. After adjustment for the effects of potential confounders, no significant relationships were found between maternal BPb measured at mid-pregnancy, at delivery or in the umbilical cord and either birthweight, length of gestation, or preterm delivery (less than 37 weeks). We conclude that exposure to environmental lead does not impair fetal growth or influence length of gestation.

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