Effect of dietary calcium intake on lead exposure in Inuit children attending childcare centres in Nunavik

<div><p>High blood lead levels (BLLs) can be found in Inuit from Nunavik. At the same time, various nutrients such as calcium could lower lead absorption and toxicity. We examined the effect of dietary calcium intakes on BLLs in 245 preschool Inuit children attending childcare centres in Nunavik. Calcium intake was assessed with one 24-h dietary recall and BLLs were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in whole blood samples. Multiple imputation was performed to deal with missing data. Median blood lead concentration was 0.08 μmol/L. A high proportion of children did not meet the Estimated Average Requirement for vitamin D intake (73 %) and, to a lower extent, for calcium (20 %). Calcium intake was negatively associated with BLLs ( <i>p</i> = 0.0001) while child’s age and energy intake were positively associated with BLLs ( <i>p</i> = 0.015 and <i>p</i> = 0.024, respectively). Consuming traditional foods rich in calcium as well as milk and alternatives may protect against lead exposure.</p></div>