Blood lead levels in children and pregnant women living near a lead-reclamation plant

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of lead contamination around a lead-reclamation plant on the blood lead levels of children and pregnant women living in the area. DESIGN: Prevalence study. SETTING: Residents living 150 m or less (high-exposure area), 151 to 400 m (intermediate-exposure area) or 401 to 800 m (low-exposure area) southeast from the plant. PARTICIPANTS: All children aged 10 years or less and all pregnant women living in the designated area. OUTCOME MEASURES: Correlation of venous blood lead levels with soil lead concentrations in the areas in which the subjects lived and with sociodemographic and behavioural factors. MAIN RESULTS: Of the estimated 57 pregnant women 38 (67%) participated: 20 were in the high-exposure area and 18 in the other two areas; their geometric mean blood lead levels were low (0.15 and 0.13 mumol/L respectively). Of the 625 eligible children 510 (82%) participated: 169 were in the high-exposure area, 179 in the intermediate-exposure area and 162 in the low-exposure area; their geometric mean lead levels were 0.43, 0.30 and 0.26 mumol/L respectively. Within each age group children in the high-exposure area had the highest levels. The mean levels for children aged 6 months to 5 years were 0.49, 0.35 and 0.28 mumol/L in the three areas respectively. Within each exposure group children aged 1 to 2 years had the highest levels. No potential confounding variables could explain the relation between blood lead level and soil lead concentration. CONCLUSIONS: The pregnant women's blood lead levels did not seem to be affected by exposure level, but the children's levels were primarily related to the soil lead concentration.
Authors (Zotero)
Levallois, P.; Lavoie, M.; Goulet, L.; Nantel, A. J.; Gingras, S.
Date (Zotero)
April, 1991