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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Environmental exposures to lead and cadmium measured in human placenta.

Pregnant women exposed to even low levels of environmental lead and cadmium may experience adverse perinatal effects. To evaluate the usefulness of the placenta for monitoring environmental lead and cadmium exposure, concentrations of both metals were measured in placentas (n = 86) with atomic absorption spectrometry. Environmental exposure was assessed in accordance with the degree of industrial activity and transport pollution near the places of residence. The authors found significantly higher lead and cadmium levels in placentas of women living in urban-industrial areas than in placentas of women living in rural areas. Lead concentrations in placenta reflect environmental exposures; smoking during gestation explained a large portion of placental cadmium. This finding suggests that when a pregnant woman is a heavy smoker, tobacco exposure masks environmental cadmium exposure, especially in areas with low levels of cadmium pollution.[1]


  1. Environmental exposures to lead and cadmium measured in human placenta. Falcón, M., Viñas, P., Osuna, E., Luna, A. Arch. Environ. Health (2002) [Pubmed]
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