News Details

Magellan Diagnostics (Meridian Bioscience, Inc., NASDAQ: VIVO) Launches National Education Initiative on Risks of Lead Exposure for Pregnant Women

May 9, 2017

Kickoff panel highlights common risks and what obstetricians can do to help protect their patients.

CINCINNATI, May 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) announced today that Magellan Diagnostics Inc., a business unit of Meridian, has embarked on a major new initiative to increase awareness among obstetricians and pregnant women about the risks of lead poisoning.  The effort is being kicked off today with an expert-led discussion of lead poisoning in pregnancy at a national gathering of obstetricians in San Diego, California.

Lead exposure is a pervasive health threat which, even at low levels, can cause behavioral and learning disabilities, hyperactivity and lower IQ in children.  In adults, it can result in difficulty becoming pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, reduced fertility, as well as hypertension and kidney dysfunction. It is estimated that in the US, 1 in every 100 women of childbearing age has a blood lead level above the current reference value of 5 µg/dL.

Mary Jean Brown, ScD, RN, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health; and the Former Chief of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who spoke at the Magellan-sponsored event is an author of the seminal 2010 CDC report on lead exposure in pregnancy.  She explained, “Because lead crosses the placental barrier, maternal blood lead passes to baby. There is clear evidence that across a broad range of maternal exposure levels, lead can negatively impact both maternal and child health.”

“Since news of the lead in water crisis in Flint, Michigan and in other communities across the nation has become widespread, the public is more aware that lead poisoning is still a problem,” said Amy Winslow, president and CEO of Magellan Diagnostics, “but few realize that pregnant women should also be concerned about lead exposure. We want obstetricians and expectant moms to be aware of the risks, and of the importance that a simple screening test can have in avoiding the consequences of undiagnosed lead exposure.”

Magellan’s program also featured recommendations from Jeanne Hewitt PhD, RN Director, Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Children’s Environmental Health Sciences Center, an environmental public health nurse and researcher who has studied lead exposure for years. Dr. Hewitt described the women who are at risk, “Do-it-yourself renovations are very popular, but many women don’t realize they may be creating lead dust that can be inhaled or ingested. If a woman lives or works in an area where the water may be tainted with lead this is a concern. We also find that many immigrant families have higher levels of lead exposure from their country of origin. In addition, my research has focused on how lead in second hand smoke is also an underappreciated source of exposure.”

Discussing how obstetricians can respond if they identify lead poisoning, Dr. Brown commented, “The first and most important step is to find the source of the lead and eliminate it. It is also critical to focus on the mother’s nutritional status – anemia and other deficiencies can worsen the effects of lead exposure.  Finally, it’s important to educate Mom on the sources of lead, so that they can bring their newborns home to a lead-free environment.”

Magellan’s Lead in Pregnancy initiative is scheduled to run throughout the spring and summer, culminating during Women’s Health Quarter at the end of the year.  The company will be hosting webinars and local educational events across the country, including mobile blood lead testing, in addition to offering introductory programs designed to help obstetricians start to perform lead screening as part of the services they offer to their patients. For more information, visit:

About Magellan Diagnostics, Inc.
Magellan Diagnostics is a medical device company that provides point-of-care systems, clinical laboratory instruments, and analytical laboratory services focused on lead testing. A business unit of Meridian Bioscience, Inc., Magellan is headquartered outside Boston in Billerica, Massachusetts, and is dedicated to offering high-quality, reliable products that help identify children and adults at risk of harm due to lead exposure, including LeadCare II, the only point-of-care system used to diagnose lead poisoning in physician offices and clinics.  We are committed to educating clinicians, policy makers, payers, families and communities about the permanent health damage caused by lead and how to detect and address lead exposure.  For more information, visit

About Meridian Bioscience, Inc.
Meridian is a fully integrated life science company that develops, manufactures, markets and distributes a broad range of innovative diagnostic test kits, rare reagents, specialty biologicals and components. Utilizing a variety of methods, our diagnostic tests provide accuracy, simplicity and speed in the early diagnosis and treatment of common medical conditions, such as infections and lead poisoning. Meridian’s diagnostic products are used outside of the human body and require little or no special equipment. The Company’s diagnostic products are designed to enhance patient well-being while reducing the total outcome costs of health care. Meridian has strong market positions in the areas of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory infections, and blood lead level testing. In addition, Meridian is a supplier of rare reagents, specialty biologicals and components used by organizations in the life science and agri-bio industries engaged in research. Its products are also used by companies as components in the manufacture of diagnostics. The Company markets its products and technologies to hospitals, reference laboratories, research centers, diagnostics manufacturers and agri-bio companies in more than 70 countries around the world. The Company’s shares are traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, symbol VIVO. Meridian’s website address is


Contact Data

John A. Kraeutler
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Meridian Bioscience, Inc.
Phone:  513.271.3700
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