This analysis compares the rates of spontaneous abortion among women living in the vicinity of a lead smelter with those of women living in a town where blood lead levels were low. Data derive from the obstetric histories of both groups of women obtained while seeking prenatal care for a later pregnancy. A total of 639 women (304 exposed, 335 unexposed) had at least one previous pregnancy and lived at the same address since their first pregnancy. The geometric mean blood lead concentrations in the sample at the time of the interviews were 0.77 μmol/L in the exposed town and 0.25 μmol/L in the unexposed town. The rates of spontaneous abortions in first pregnancies were similar, with 16.4 percent of women in the exposed town and 14.0 percent in the unexposed town reporting loss. The adjusted odds ratio relating town of residence to spontaneous abortion was 1.1 (95% CI = 0.9, 1.4). This analysis represents the first systematic attempt to seek an association between environmental lead exposure and spontaneous abortion. As such, the failure to find a positive association strongly suggests that at the levels of exposure represented in our sample, such an association does not exist.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health