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Occup Environ Med. 2003 Sep;60(9):693-5.

Monitoring of umbilical cord blood lead levels and sources assessment among the Inuit.

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  • 1Unité de recherche en santé publique, Centre de recherche du CHUL-CHUQ, 945, avenue Wolfe, Sainte-Foy, Québec G1V 5B3, Canada.


Analyses completed on samples collected between 1993 and 1996 showed that about 7% of 475 Inuit newborns from northern Quebec (Canada) had a cord blood lead concentration equal to or greater than 0.48 micromol/l, an intervention level adopted by many governmental agencies. A comparison between the cord blood lead isotope ratios of Inuit and southern Quebec newborns showed that lead sources for these populations were different. Our investigation suggests that lead shots used for game hunting were an important source of lead exposure in the Inuit population. A cohort study conducted in three Inuit communities shows a significant decrease of cord blood lead concentrations after a public health intervention to reduce the use of lead shot. Lead shot ammunition can be a major and preventable source of human exposure to lead.

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