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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2012 Apr;31(4):296-302.

Lead exposure among children from native communities of the Peruvian Amazon basin.

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Institutionen för Folkhälsa och Klinisk Medicin, Epidemiologi och Global Hälsa, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, Sweden.



To assess potential risk factors associated with elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) among children in two communities from the Corrientes River basin in the Peruvian Amazon.


Children aged 0-17 years were screened for BLLs, hemoglobin levels, and anthropometric measures. Dwelling, family, and child data were collected through a parental questionnaire. Statistical analysis included descriptive and bivariate analysis. Multiple linear and logistic regressions using generalized estimating equations were also conducted to determine associated risk factors. A map of each community was drawn to examine the spatial distribution of BLLs.


Of 208 children (88 from 23 households of the Peruanito community and 120 from 28 households of Santa Isabel), 27.4% had BLLs > 10 µg/dL. The geometric mean (± standard deviation) BLL was 8.7 ± 4.0 µg/dL (range 3.0-26.8 µg/dL). In the total population, linear regression analysis indicated that age was positively associated with BLLs (P < 0.05). Logistic regression analysis showed that boys had 2.12 times greater odds of having BLLs > 10 µg/dL than girls (P < 0.05). Among the children 0-3 years, those whose mothers had BLLs > 10 µg/dL had 45.0% higher odds of presenting BLLs > 10 µg/dL than children whose mothers had BLLs < 10 µg/dL (P < 0.05).


Older age, male gender, and mothers' BLL > 10 µg/dL were the main risk factors for elevated BLLs. The higher risk in boys 7-17 years suggests that exposure could be related to specific activities in this group, such as fishing and hunting. Continuous monitoring of BLLs in the Corrientes River population is recommended.

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