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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2011 Dec;215(1):59-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2011.07.003. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Lead exposure in indigenous communities of the Amazon basin, Peru.

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  • 1Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health Umea University, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden. cynthiaanticona@hotmail.com


Since 2006, three studies have reported elevated levels of lead (Pb) among the indigenous population of the Corrientes river, in the Amazon basin of Peru. Due to the large evidence of environmental pollution related to oil exploitation in the area, this activity has been suggested as the source of exposure. This study aimed to evaluate Pb levels in the population and environment of two communities exposed and one community non-exposed to the oil exploitation activity. Blood lead levels (BLL) were determined by the instrument Leadcare. A comparison with the graphite furnace atomic absorption technique was performed in order to validate the Leadcare results. Environmental samples were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy. Among 361 capillary samples, the mean BLL was 9.4 μg/dl. Mean BLL of the communities exposed (n=171, x¯=9.5 μg/dl) and non-exposed (n=190, x¯=9.2 μg/dl) to the oil activity were not significantly different. Pb levels in environmental samples were below the maximum permissible levels. The sources of exposure could not be identified. Elevated levels of Pb in the oil-non-exposed community pointed out at other sources not yet clarified.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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