Patient: I’m writing because my 21 year old daughter had a miscarriage in November after having a perfectly normal ultrasound less than 24 hours before. She also miscarried in October 2010. She and her husband have been renting their apartment for about 4 yrs now. They received a letter from their landlord yesterday stating the water has high levels of lead. Could that have caused the miscarriages? We are just at a loss because the ultrasound was normal and they heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time just hours before she miscarried. It’s completely heartbreaking. Thank you in advance.
Doctor: I can definitely understand your concern. Though there could be several other factors that could lead to miscarriage, it has been documented that chronic, excessive exposure to lead was associated with increased rates of infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, and poor infant outcomes. These harmful effects were associated with blood lead levels of 80 g/dL or more. The toxicity of lead on adult female reproduction is decreased fertility, the ability to sustain pregnancy, and pregnancy outcomes. High levels of lead exposure, usually associated with acute exposure, can result in stillbirth or miscarriage. Your daughter may need to consider renting a different apartment where the lead levels are normal. I hope this helps.