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Toxicol Mech Methods. 2011 Nov;21(9):656-66. doi: 10.3109/15376516.2011.620997. Epub 2011 Oct 10.

Environmental exposure to lead and mercury in Mexican children: a real health problem.

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  • 1Departamento de Toxicología, Cinvestav, México City, Mexico.


Exposure to lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) remains a world public health problem, particularly for young children in developing countries. In Mexico, the main sources of exposure to Pb and Hg are wastes from human activities that increase the natural sources of these metals. Pb and Hg are highly toxic during development and maturation periods of the central nervous system (CNS); these effects are associated with the risk for neurodegenerative diseases. Mexico has numerous exposure sources to Pb and Hg; nevertheless, information on exposure in children is limited, particularly for Hg. Therefore, we conducted a review of the studies performed in children exposed to Pb and Hg. Data presented support that an important proportion of Mexican children have Pb levels above values associated with dangerous effects. On the other hand, studies on Hg-exposure are scarce, so we need more studies to estimate the magnitude of the problem and to determine exposure levels in Mexican children. Available data support the urgent need for coordinated actions among researchers, and health and environmental government authorities to implement education and nutritional campaigns, as well as to decrease exposure and effects of Pb and Hg. In addition, there must be a priority for the implementation of educational campaigns directed to the general population, but with emphasis in parents, education staff and health care providers to decrease both the risk of exposure of children to Pb and Hg and the effects of the exposure to these metals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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