Breast milk contamination with lead and cadmium and its related factors in Kerman, Iran

Narges Khanjani, Majideh Jafari, Effat Ahmadi Mousavi

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Heavy metals may be carcinogenic and have serious health effects in humans. In this study, levels of lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) in human milk samples from Kerman, Iran were evaluated. Methods: One-hundred breast milk samples were collected from mothers visiting 20 maternal and child care centers. Demographic, diet and smoking data was collected for each mother. Samples were analyzed by Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. Statistical analysis was done in Minitab15, through non-parametric methods, Spearman's correlation and chi-square. Results: The mean ± sd of Pb and Cd was 53.6 ± 64.9 and 8.01 ± 15.5 μg/L respectively. The median (25-75 percentiles) of Pb and Cd was 34.00 (4.00-81.75) and 5.00 (4.00-7.00) μg/L; 6 and 17% of infants were receiving higher than recommended levels of lead and cadmium respectively. Mothers who took fat off their meat before eating and mothers who had a vaginal delivery had higher levels of Cd than others (p value = 0.04, 0.002). Non-primiparous mothers and those who consumed more yogurt had higher levels of Pb (p value = 0.011, 0.025). Conclusion: Lead and cadmium contamination was considerable among mothers' in Kerman, Iran. There is a need for decreasing the current levels in food, air, water and other consumer products such as cosmetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2018


  • Breast milk
  • Cadmium
  • Infant intake
  • Iran
  • Lead

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