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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


CARVALHO, Fernando Martins et al. Blood lead levels in children and environmental legacy of a lead foundry in Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.13, n.1, pp.19-23. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the blood lead levels in children living an inactive lead foundry in the city of Santo Amaro da Purificação,state of Bahia, in September of 1998; and to identify factors associated with differences in these levels. METHODS: Cross-sectional study with children between 1 and 4 years of age living within 1 km of the lead foundry. Mothers or guardians of 47 children answered a questionnaire concerning ingestion of clay, soli, plaster and / or other materias (pica),and other relevant epidemiological aspects. The concentration of lead in blood was determined by atermined by atomic absorption espectrophotometry. RESULTS: The mean lead level was 17.1 ± 7. 3 mg/dL. Blood lead levels were approximately 5 mg/ dl greater amoong children with pica, regardless of age, visible presence of scum surrounding the home, employment status of the father, family history of lead poisoning, and malnutrition. CONCLUSIONS: The environmental legacy of the lead foundry, which was shut down in 1993, continues to represent a relevant risk factor for increased blood lead levels in children, especially those presenting pica.

Keywords : Pica; geofagia; poluição ambiental.

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