Lalor, Gerald C.; Vutchkov, Mitko K.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences
Heavy metals in Jamaica part 5: Reduction of blood levels of children in a mine-waste contaminated area.
Jamaican Journal of Science and Technology
Date of Publication
Blood lead levels in children in the age group 27-81 months who have been exposed to lead in a mine-waste contaminated area have been examined. The original levels of 15 - >60 µg dL-1 (mean>37) were reduced to 7-27 µg dL-1 (mean 15) ten months after the isolation of the mine-waste and lead contaminated soil in the school yard, improved sanitation, education of teachers, parents and the children, supported by a feeding programme. The lower lead values are similar to levels observed among children of similar ages in a rural district in Jamaica. This work has confirmed the effectiveness of the interventions: the present cohort of schoolchildren that have never been so exposed to lead, have blood lead levels that average a greatly improved 8.3 µg dL-1 with 82% of them below the defined level of 10 µg dL-1 for lead poisoning. The highest value observed in these children was 20 µg dL-1 for 2 of the cohort. The main source of lead was the mine-waste; neither food nor water appears to be important contributors to the lead exposure but during this study lead has been observed in paint on older houses. This introduces a new dimension that might well be of concern islandwide.....