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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Feb;22(3):1778-85. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-2345-y. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Chromium exposure among children from an electronic waste recycling town of China.

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Analytical Cytology Laboratory, Provincial Key Laboratory of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Immunopathology, Shantou University Medical College, 22 Xinling Rd., Shantou 515041, Guangdong, China.


Guiyu is one of the most heavily chromium-polluted areas in China due to the numerous informal electronic waste (e-waste) recycling activities. A 3-year (2004, 2006, and 2008) independent cross-sectional study on blood chromium (BCr) levels of 711 children from Guiyu and a control area was investigated. Questionnaire completed by parents/guardians was used to assess the risk factors of chromium (Cr) exposure, while physical examination, for the year 2008 only, was used to evaluate the effects of long-term exposure to Cr on child physical development. Children living in Guiyu had significantly higher BCr levels compared with those living in Chendian at the same period from 2004 to 2008 (P < 0.001). The predominant risk factors related to elevated child BCr levels included the use of house as a family workshop, parent involved in e-waste recycling, and child residence in Guiyu. Children's weight and chest circumferences in group with high exposure to Cr (upper quartile) were higher than in the low-exposure group (P < 0.01), although the difference was less significant for boys between the two groups (P < 0.05). The results suggest that elevated child BCr in Guiyu due to informal e-waste recycling activities might be threatening the health of children, with implications on physical growth and development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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