Toxic metal levels in children residing in a smelting craft village in Vietnam: a pilot biomonitoring study Public Deposited

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Creator
  • Nguyen, Viet
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health
  • Sanders, Alison P
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  • Miller, Sloane K
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  • Kotch, Jonathan
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health
  • Fry, Rebecca
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, N.C. Cancer Hospital, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Medicine, Curriculum in Toxicology
Abstract
  • Abstract Background In Vietnam, environmental pollution caused by small-scale domestic smelting of automobile batteries into lead ingot is a growing concern. The village of Nghia Lo is a smelting craft village located roughly 25 km southeast of Hanoi in the Red River Delta. Despite the concern of toxic metal exposure in the village, biomonitoring among susceptible populations, such as children, has not been previously conducted. The aim of this study was to determine the body burden of toxic metals in children residing in a smelting craft village. Methods Twenty children from Nghia Lo, Vietnam, ages 18 months to four years were selected for capillary whole blood and toenail biomonitoring. Whole blood lead levels (BLLs) were measured using a portable lead analyzer, and toenail levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, and mercury were analyzed with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Results The findings show that all of the 20 children had detectable BLLs, and every child had levels that exceeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline level of 5 μg/dL. Eighty percent of tested subjects had BLLs higher than 10 μg/dL. Five children (25%) had BLLs greater than 45 μg/dL, the level of recommended medical intervention. In addition to blood lead, all of the children had detectable levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, and mercury in toenail samples. Notably, average toenail lead, manganese, and mercury levels were 157 μg/g, 7.41 μg/g, and 2.63 μg/g respectively, well above levels previously reported in children. Significant Spearman’s rank correlations showed that there were relationships between blood and toenail lead levels (r = 0.65, p < 0.05), toenail levels of lead and cadmium (r = 0.66, p < 0.05), and toenail levels of manganese and chromium (r = 0.72, p < 0.001). Linear regression showed that reducing the distance to the nearest active smelter by half was associated with a 116% increase in BLL (p < 0.05). Conclusions The results suggest that children in battery recycling and smelting craft villages in Vietnam are co-exposed to toxic metals. There is an urgent need for mitigation to control metal exposure related to domestic smelting.
Date of publication
Identifier
  • 24495283
  • doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-114
Resource type
  • Article
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Rights holder
  • Alison P Sanders et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
License
Journal title
  • BMC Public Health
Journal volume
  • 14
Journal issue
  • 1
Page start
  • 114
Language
  • English
Is the article or chapter peer-reviewed?
  • Yes
ISSN
  • 1471-2458
Bibliographic citation
  • BMC Public Health. 2014 Feb 04;14(1):114
Access
  • Open Access
Publisher
  • BioMed Central Ltd
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