Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1993;19(3):154-161    pdf


Blood lead concentrations of Swedish preschool children in a community with high lead levels from mine waste in soil and dust.

by Bjerre B, Berglund M, Harsbo K, Hellman B

The lead concentration in capillary blood was investigated in 49 preschool children (0.7-7.4 years of age) visiting a day-care center in a Swedish community with high lead contamination from mining and milling in soil and dust in populated areas [up to 1400 and 14,000 micrograms.g-1 (6.76 and 67.63 mumol.g-1) of dry weight, respectively]. The blood lead levels were examined twice (in April and in September) in 33 of the children. The lead levels were low on both sampling occasions [arithmetic mean 31 (SD 13, median 30, range 13-79) micrograms.l-1, ie, arithmetic mean 0.15, (SD 0.06, median 0.14, range 0.06-0.38) mumol.l-1]. Whereas children up to four years of age showed significantly increased levels from April to September, a significant decrease was seen in older children. The level of lead in soil at home, gender, smoking habits at home, and estimated level of hand-to-mouth activity did not appear as strong determinants of lead in blood. The results indicate that lead from mine waste in soil and dust fallout does not constitute a significant health hazard for preschool children in Falun.