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Hum Exp Toxicol. 2006 Nov;25(11):637-44.

Environmental lead exposure and its relationship to traffic density among Senegalese children: a cross-sectional study.

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Laboratoire de Chimie Analytique et Toxicologie, Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie, UCAD, Dakar, Senegal.


Leaded-gasoline is probably the primary source of lead (Pb) exposure in Dakar (Senegal). The present cross-sectional study was undertaken to investigate the levels of Pb in Senegalese children and to present helpful data on the relationship between Pb levels and changes in biological markers of heme biosynthesis and oxidative stress. A total of 330 children, living since birth either in rural or urban areas (ie, Khombole (n = 162) and Dakar (n = 168), respectively) were included. During this cross-sectional study, the mean blood (B)-Pb level in all children was 7.32 +/- 5.33 microg/dL, and was influenced by the area of residence and gender. In rural children, 27 subjects (16.7%), 18 boys (19.6%) and nine girls (12.9%), had a B-Pb level > 10 microg Pb/dL, whereas 99 urban children (58.9%), respectively, 66 boys (71.8%) and 33 girls (43.4%), had alarmingly high B-Pb levels. Accordingly, urine delta-aminolevulinic acid levels were higher in children living in the urban area than in the rural areas (P < 0.001), and closely correlated with the B-Pb levels (P < 0.01). Moreover, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, selenium (Se) level, glutathione reductase (GR) activity, and glutathione status were significantly influenced by area of residence and/or by gender. GPx activity and Se level were not only negatively correlated with B-Pb levels, but also positively correlated together (P < 0.01). Taken together, the present results allow us to conclude that urban children have higher B-Pb levels than rural children, and that of these children, boys have higher B-Pb levels than girls, leading thereby to alterations of heme biosynthesis and pro-oxidant/antioxidant balance. We also suggest that exposure to Pb and the Pb-induced adverse effects merits attention and that the development of preventive actions are of increasing importance in Senegal.

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