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Ann Epidemiol. 1996 Jan;6(1):30-3.

Relationship between blood lead and dietary iron intake in preschool children. A cross-sectional study.

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Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201, USA.


The relationship between dietary iron intake and blood lead levels in urban preschool children was investigated in a cross-sectional study of 299 children from 9 months to 5 years old. Mothers of children attending the University of Maryland Pediatric Ambulatory Clinic volunteered for the children and themselves to join the study. The data collected included nutritional status, socioeconomic status, medical history, and potential sources of lead exposure. Blood samples from all participants were evaluated for levels of blood lead, serum iron (ferritin), free erythrocyte protoporphyrin, calcium, and hematocrit. The average blood lead level (standard deviation) in the studied population was 11.4 (7.3) micrograms/dL. With multiple linear and logistic regression analyses to adjust for covariates, a negative association (P = 0.03) between blood lead and dietary iron intake was found. This finding is consistent with similar results from experimental studies. It is concluded that there is evidence that higher dietary iron intake is associated with lower blood lead among urban preschool children in the studied population.

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