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Blood lead levels and lead toxicity in children aged 1-5 years of Cinangka Village, Bogor Regency

by Yana Irawati, Haryoto Kusnoputranto, Umar Fahmi Achmadi, Ahmad Safrudin, Alfred Sitorus, Rifqi Risandi, Suradi Wangsamuda, Puji Budi Setia Asih, Din Syafruddin

Lead is one of ten hazardous chemicals of public health concern and is used in more than 900 occupations, including the battery, smelting, and mining industries. Lead toxicity accounts for 1.5% (900,000) of deaths annually in the world. In Indonesia, reports of high Blood Lead Level (BLL) were associated with residency in Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) recycling sites. The present study aims to investigate the BLL and the evidence of lead toxicity of children living in an ULAB recycling site in Bogor Regency, Indonesia. A cross-sectional study involving 128 children aged 1–5 years was conducted in September-October 2019. The socio-economic factors, BLL, nutritional status, and hematological parameters, were evaluated. Data were analyzed by univariate and bivariate using the Chi-Square test. Socio-economic factors revealed only 2.3% children have pica and 10.9% children have hand-to-mouth habits. Majority of parents had low income, education, and have stayed in the village for years. Analysis on BLL revealed that 69.5% children had BLL of >10 μg/dL, 25% had abnormal BMI, 23.4% had underweight, 53.9% had stunting, 33.6% had anemia, and 22.6% had basophilic stippling. The average BLL and hemoglobin levels of respondents were 17.03 μg/dL and 11.48 g/dL, respectively. Bivariate analysis revealed that children with high BLL had double risk of having underweight and protected from stunting. Analysis on the association between BLL and BMI for age revealed a higher risk to have abnormal BMI. The high BLL also had 1.017 times risk of developing anemia, and almost doubled risk of having basophilic stippling, although they were not statistically significant. In conclusion, the high BLL of children living in the ULAB recycling indicates that lead exposure as well as lead toxicity are still occurring in Cinangka Village, and alerts to the need for a systematic action to mitigate the exposure.

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