Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Symposium Abstracts
Background and Objective:
The INMA project (Childhood and Environment) studies the possible effects of environmental contaminants on infant growth and development. Exposure to lead (Pb) during the prenatal period has been associated with adverse effects on fetal development. This study aims to investigate exposure to Pb in 524 children born in Zumarraga hospital (INMA-Gipuzkoa cohort), which serves 25 municipalities in Gipuzkoa (Basque country, Spain).
During 2003–2007, Pb and PM10 levels in the air were measured in urban centres with metallurgical activity and in one municipality without such activity. Cord blood Pb was analysed in 524 children, as an indicator of exposure. The level of Pb in drinking water was analyzed throughout all 25 municipalities. Pb, PM2.5 and PM10 levels were determined using gravimetric analysis and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy. Cord blood Pb was determined using electrothermal atomic absorption. Pb in drinking water was analysed quarterly using graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
Only in Zumarraga were atmospheric Pb levels detected that were higher than the limit established by law (0.5 μg/m3) (Mean: 0.5 μg/m3), exceeding the limit on 23.9% of days. Eighty-six percent of drinking water samples presented levels lower than the detection threshold (1 μg/l), with the mean level for all samples at 4.5 μg/l. Ninety-two percent of cord blood samples displayed values lower than the detection threshold (1 μg/l), with a mean level for all samples of 2.6 μg/l.
Exposure to lead via air and water, at levels that are below the values required by law, is reflected in low cord blood lead levels in the study area.