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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0325-0075On-line version ISSN 1668-3501


MARTINS, Enrique et al. Blood lead levels in children aged between 1 and 6 years old in La Plata, Argentina: Identification of risk factors for lead exposure. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2016, vol.114, n.6, pp.543-548. ISSN 0325-0075.

Introduction. Lead has neurotoxic effects in children, even at a very low level in blood. The risk factors (RFs) for lead exposure have not been adequately identified in La Plata. The objectives of this study were to determine mean blood lead levels and identify RFs in children aged 1 to 6 years old living in La Plata and the outskirts. Population and methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted in children who attended primary health care centers for a health check-up. Blood lead levels were determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy, and a socioenvironmental survey was administered to outline RFs. The Mann-Whitney test was used to compare measurements. A multivariate statistical analysis was done to establish the most relevant RFs. Results. A total of 319 children participated (51% were boys); the median (interquartile range) blood lead level was 2.2 μg/dL (1.1-3.6 μg/dL). Significant mean differences in blood lead levels were observed for age ≤ 3 years old, anemia, pica behavior, overcrowding, dirt floors, and maternal education < 7 years. Age ≤ 3 years old and pica behavior were both RFs with significant odds ratios (ORs). The OR as adjusted by logistic regression was significant only for age ≤ 3 years old. Conclusions. The median blood lead level in the studied population was 2.2 μg/dL. The main RFs identified for lead exposure were age ≤ 3 years old and pica behavior. Other less relevant RFs included anemia, maternal education < 7 years, overcrowding, and dirt floors.

Keywords : Lead; Children; Risk factors; Environmental risk exposure.

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