Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
ANTICONA, Cynthia; BERGDAHL, Ingvar A. and SAN SEBASTIAN, Miguel. Lead exposure among children from native communities of the Peruvian Amazon basin. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.31, n.4, pp. 296-302. ISSN 1020-4989.
OBJECTIVE: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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). CONCLUSIONS: 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.
Keywords : Lead poisoning; lead poisoning; nervous system; childhood; risk factors; Peru.