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Chemosphere. 2015 Jan;119:941-947. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.09.028. Epub 2014 Oct 8.

Lead poisoning in children from townships in the vicinity of a lead-zinc mine in Kabwe, Zambia.

Author information

1
The University of Zambia, School of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia.
2
Laboratory of Toxicology, Department of Environmental Veterinary Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Kita 18, Nishi 9, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0818, Japan.
3
Ministry of Health, District Health Office, P.O. Box 80735, Kabwe, Zambia.
4
Laboratory of Toxicology, Department of Environmental Veterinary Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Kita 18, Nishi 9, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0818, Japan. Electronic address: ishizum@vetmed.hokudai.ac.jp.

Abstract

Childhood lead poisoning is a serious public health concern worldwide. Blood lead levels exceeding 5 μg dL(-1) are considered elevated. In Kabwe, the capital of Zambia's Central Province, extensive Pb contamination of township soils in the vicinity of a Pb-Zn mine and posing serious health risk to children has been reported. We investigated BLLs in children under the age of 7 years in townships around the mine; where blood samples were collected and analyzed using an ICP-MS. All of the sampled children had BLLs exceeding 5 μg dL(-1). Children in these areas could be at serious risk of Pb toxicity as 18% of the sampled children in Chowa, 57% (Kasanda) and 25% (Makululu) had BLLs exceeding 65 μg dL(-1). Eight children had BLLs exceeding 150 μg dL(-1) with the maximum being 427.8 μg dL(-1). We recommend that medical intervention be commenced in the children with BLL exceeding 45 μg dL(-1).

KEYWORDS:

Children; Kabwe; Lead poisoning; Pb–Zn mine; Zambia

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