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Elevated Blood Lead Levels of Children in Guiyu, an Electronic Waste Recycling Town in China

TitleElevated Blood Lead Levels of Children in Guiyu, an Electronic Waste Recycling Town in China
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsXia H, Lin P, Xijin X, Liangkai Z, Bo Q, Zongli Q, Bao Z, Dai H, Zhongxian P
Journal TitleEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Volumein press
Short TitleEHP
Keywordschildren, China, e-waste, environmental, Guiyu, lead
AbstractBackground: E-waste recycling was still primitive in Guiyu and thus may contribute tothe elevation of blood lead levels (BLLs) in Children living in the local environment.Objectives: We have compared the BLLs in children living in e-waste recycling town ofGuiyu to those living in the neighboring town of Chendian. Methods: We have observedthe processing of e-waste recycling in Guiyu and studied BLLs in a cluster sample of 226children with the age under 6 years who lived in Guiyu and Chendian. BLLs weredetermined with atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Hemoglobin (Hgb) and physicalindexes (height and weight, head and chest circumferences) were also measured. Results:BLLs in 165 children of Guiyu ranged from 4.40 to 30.25 μg/dL with a mean of 15.3μg/dL whereas BLLs in 61 children of Chendian were from 4.09 to 23.10 μg/dL with amean of 9.94 μg/dL. Statistical analyses showed that Children living in Guiyu havesignificantly higher level of blood lead as compared to those living in Chendian (P<0.01). Eighty eight percent of children (135/165) in Guiyu had BLLs exceeding 10 μg/dLversus 37.7% of children (23/61) in Chendian (P<0.01). In addition, a significantincreasing trend in BLLs was observed with increasing age in Guiyu (P<0.01). Itappears that there is correlation between the BLLs in children and numbers of e-wasteworkshops. However, no significant difference in Hgb level or physical indexes wasfound between 2 towns. Conclusions: The primitive e-waste recycling activities maycontribute to the elevated BLLs in children living in Guiyu.
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