It's a known fact that babies in the womb can be affected by low levels of lead exposure. If a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the lead passes through the placenta into the baby's developing bones and other organs.
Pregnant women with a past exposure to lead can also affect the unborn child's brain, causing developmental problems later in life. Previous research studies have suggested that exposure to heavy metal toxicants can influence a person's global DNA methylation profile.
In the recent study, research team revealed that lead exposure can cause specific changes in DNA methylation, which can be detected in dried blood spots beyond one generation. Epigenetic effects of environmental exposures beyond one generation have not yet been demonstrated in humans prior to this study.
The research team stated that this novel, two-generational study design might be able to identify the genes that may serve as possible candidate biomarkers for future transgenerational risk assessment studies.