Yabe J*, Nakayama SMM*, Ikenaka Y, Yohannes YB, Bortey-Sam N, Oroszlany B, Muzandu K, Choongo K, Kabalo AN, Ntapisha J, Mweene A, Umemura T, Ishizuka M (* Equal contribution). Lead poisoning in children from townships in the vicinity of a lead-zinc mine in Kabwe, Zambia. Chemosphere (2014, in press)
Childhood lead poisoning is a serious public health concern worldwide. Blood lead levels exceeding 5 µg/dL are considered elevated. In Kabwe, the capital of Zambia’s Central Province, extensive Pb contamination of township soils in the vicinity of a Pb-Zn mine and posing serious health risk to children has been reported. We investigated BLLs in children under the age of 7 years in townships around the mine; where blood samples were collected and analysed using an ICP-MS. Almost all of the sampled children had BLLs exceeding 10 μg/dL. Children in these areas could be at serious risk of Pb toxicity as 18% of the sampled children in Chowa, 57% (Kasanda) and 25% (Makululu) had BLLs exceeding 65 µg/dL. Eight children had BLLs exceeding 150 µg/dL with the maximum being 427.8 µg/dL. We recommend that medical intervention be commenced in the children with BLL exceeding 45 µg/dL.