Lead (Pb) in petrol has been banned in developed countries. Despite the control of Pb in petrol since 2001, high levels were reported in the blood of pregnant women and children in Pakistan. However, the identification of sources of Pb has been elusive due to its pervasiveness. In this study, we assessed the lead intake of pregnant women and one- to three-year-old children from food, water, house dust, respirable dust, and soil. In addition, we completed the fingerprinting of the Pb isotopic ratios (LIR) of petrol and secondary sources (food, house-dust, respirable dust, soil, surma (eye cosmetics)) of exposure within the blood of pregnant women, newborns, and children. Eight families, with high (~50 μg/dL), medium (~20 μg/dL), and low blood levels (~10 μg/dL), were selected from 60 families. The main sources of exposure to lead for children were food and house-dust, and those for pregnant women were soil, respirable dust, and food. LIR was determined by inductively coupled plasma quadrupole mass spectrometry (ICP-QMS) with a two sigma uncertainty of ±0.03%. The LIR of mothers and newborns was similar. In contrast, surma, and to a larger extent petrol, exhibited a negligible contribution to both the child’s and mother’s blood Pb. Household wet-mopping could be effective in reducing Pb exposure. This intake assessment could be replicated for other developing countries to identify sources of lead and the burden of lead exposure in the population.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/zafar_fatmi/85/