The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published Guidelines for the Identification and Management of Lead Exposure in Pregnant and Lactating Women, www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/publications/LeadandPregnancy2010.pdf. The guidelines review effects of lead exposure on maternal and fetal health and recommend screening and management strategies for pregnant women and young infants.

Implementation of the guidelines is expected to increase pediatrician identification and follow-up of lead exposures during infancy. Carla Campbell, M.D., M.S., FAAP, Joel Forman, M.D., FAAP, Morri Markowitz, M.D., FAAP, and the late Michael Shannon, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, helped develop the guidelines.

A pregnant woman transfers lead to the developing fetus. Transfer of lead from mother to infant also occurs through breast milk, but to a much lesser degree. The most well-studied effects of lead exposure during pregnancy demonstrate adverse effects on fetal growth and development and increased risk of gestational hypertension. There is no biologic safe threshold for...

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