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  QUESTION: Lead risks for couples planning to conceive, 11 Jul 2006, WA Australia

Hi, I live in East Victoria Park which is a suburb with many character homes undergoing renovation. The closest one is on the next street, and the owner has been doing some major renovation himself over the past year.

Although I am not outdoors very often (I work full time), I do occasionally go on walks on the street where his house is.

I plan to conceive within the next few months. Other than this, I don't think I have any other exposure to lead (not work/previous accommodation/hobbies).

Should this be of any concern to me and if so, what should I do about it?

Thanks.
Regards,
Karen

ANSWER: 11 Jul 2006

Dear Karen,
Since there has been lead in petrol for most of your life (with the possible exception that you might have lived most of your life in Japan!) then you are guaranteed to be storing some lead in your bones even if the neighbourhood renovators are all as lead-safe as they should be (fat chance!!)

So for couples wishing to conceive we strongly recommend having a blood lead test to find out your current level. It is recommended that both you and your partner have a blood lead level below the Australian goal of 10 micrograms per decilitre before conception. For your partner it is important he has an acceptable blood lead level for all the time that sperm take to develop ie four months prior to conception. If you find that either of you has a blood lead level exceeding the goal, then you need to respond in a way that is dependent on the level, (a lead-knowledgeable doctor is the key here) and in time the blood lead level will come down as long as none of your neighbours dry sands paint that falls all over your property!

I hope this helps and good luck.
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

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