Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research (ISSN : 0975-7384)

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Reviews: 2010 Vol: 2 Issue: 6

Relationship between lead in drinking water and mothers' breast milk in the Volta region of Ghana


The concentrations of lead in drinking water and br east milk samples from healthy lactating mothers wh o depended on the water for drinking were determined and relationship between them was established. Fifty four drinking water samples (Tap and borehole ) and fifty four breast milk samples were collected in February 2009 from three districts in the Volta Region and analysed for thei r lead contents. Smoking habit was also taken into consideration. Drinking t ap water showed higher lead levels (mean 0.018 mg/l = 1.80μg/dl) than drinking borehole water (mean 0.012 mg/l=1.20μ g/dl)). Also, breast milk of mothers drinking tap water (mean 0.024mg/l =2.4μg/dl) showe d higher lead levels compared to mothers drinking borehole water (mean 0.020mg/l=2.0 μ g/dl). There wa s positive relationship between mean lead levels in drinking water and mothers' breast milk samples. Th e mean lead levels in breast milk of mothers drinki ng tap water and tap water samples were 0.024 mg/l and 0.018 mg/l respectively, while the mean lead level s were 0.020 mg/l and 0.012 mg/l in breast milk of mo thers drinking borehole water and borehole water samples respectively. Exposure to smoking increased lead levels in breast milk samples analysed. The calculated daily intake of lead in breast milk was based on 840 ml breast milk for a 5.5 kg infant per day. Infant of mothers drinking borehole water would ing est 3.06 μ g/kg/day; however infant of mothers drinking tap water would ingest 3.66μ g/kg/day. Thes e values were lower than the permissible value established by WHO which is 5 μg/ kg/day of breast milk.