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A regional comparison of children's blood cadmium, lead, and mercury in rural, urban and industrial areas of six European countries, and China, Ecuador, and Morocco
Regional Authority of Public Health, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia.
Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
Institute for Development of Production and Work Environment (IFA), Quito, Ecuador.
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2023 (English)In: International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, ISSN 1232-1087, E-ISSN 1896-494X, Vol. 36, no 3, p. 349-364Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVES: The authors aimed to evaluate whether blood cadmium (B-Cd), lead (B-Pb) and mercury (B-Hg) in children differ regionally in 9 countries, and to identify factors correlating with exposure.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The authors performed a cross-sectional study of children aged 7-14 years, living in 2007-2008 in urban, rural, or potentially polluted ("hot spot") areas (ca. 50 children from each area, in total 1363 children) in 6 European and 3 non-European countries. The authors analyzed Cd, Pb, and total Hg in blood and collected information on potential determinants of exposure through questionnaires. Regional differences in exposure levels were assessed within each country.

RESULTS: Children living near industrial "hot-spots" had B-Cd 1.6 (95% CI: 1.4-1.9) times higher in the Czech Republic and 2.1 (95% CI:1.6-2.8) times higher in Poland, as compared to urban children in the same countries (geometric means [GM]: 0.13 μg/l and 0.15 μg/l, respectively). Correspondingly, B-Pb in the "hot spot" areas was 1.8 (95% CI: 1.6-2.1) times higher than in urban areas in Slovakia and 2.3 (95% CI: 1.9-2.7) times higher in Poland (urban GM: 19.4 μg/l and 16.3 μg/l, respectively). In China and Morocco, rural children had significantly lower B-Pb than urban ones (urban GM: 64 μg/l and 71 μg/l, respectively), suggesting urban exposure from leaded petrol, water pipes and/or coal-burning. Hg "hot spot" areas in China had B-Hg 3.1 (95% CI: 2.7-3.5) times higher, and Ecuador 1.5 (95% CI: 1.2-1.9) times higher, as compared to urban areas (urban GM: 2.45 μg/l and 3.23 μg/l, respectively). Besides industrial exposure, traffic correlated with B-Cd; male sex, environmental tobacco smoke, and offal consumption with B-Pb; and fish consumption and amalgam fillings with B-Hg. However, these correlations could only marginally explain regional differences.

CONCLUSIONS: These mainly European results indicate that some children experience about doubled exposures to toxic elements just because of where they live. These exposures are unsafe, identifiable, and preventable and therefore call for preventive actions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Poland: Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine , 2023. Vol. 36, no 3, p. 349-364
Keywords [en]
biological monitoring, cadmium, child, environmental pollutants, lead, mercury
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Pediatrics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-214412DOI: 10.13075/ijomeh.1896.02139PubMedID: 37681424Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85170188858OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-214412DiVA, id: diva2:1798076
Available from: 2023-09-18 Created: 2023-09-18 Last updated: 2023-09-18Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson Sommar, JohanBergdahl, Ingvar

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