[Blood lead levels in children from the city of La Plata, Argentina. Relationship with iron deficiency and lead exposure risk factors].Arch Argent Pediatr. 2009 Aug; 107(4):300-6.AA
Environmental exposure to lead and the subsequent poisoning are a main public health concern worldwide. Children have a higher vulnerability to lead toxic effects, and many reports have shown the association between iron deficiency and lead poisoning. In Argentina, reports about lead levels in children are scarce. Our aims were to assess blood lead levels in children and determining their relationship with iron deficiency and known lead exposure risk factors.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
We performed a cross-sectional study in a sample of 93 children (age range, 6 months to 5 years) receiving care at La Plata Children s Hospital. A social and environmental survey was done, and blood lead, hemoglobin and ferritin levels were assessed.
Geometric mean blood lead level was 4.26 microg/dl (95% CI, 3.60-5.03); prevalence of blood lead levels >or=10 microg/dl was 10.8%. Higher blood lead levels were found in children living in households with lead-handling contaminating activities (6.74 vs. 3.78 microg/dl; p= 0.005) and in very low-income households (5.68 vs. 3.71 microg/ dl; p= 0.020). The presence of blood lead levels >or=10 microg/dl was strongly associated with iron deficiency (OR 5.7; 95% CI: 1.34-23.41) and with lead-handling activities at home (OR 4.8; 95% CI: 1.12-20.16).
The prevalence of blood lead levels >or=10 microg/dl is a matter of concern in the population studied. Iron deficiency and development of lead-handling activities at home were the risk factors associated with high blood lead levels.