Blood lead concentrations in 1-3 year old Lebanese children: a cross-sectional study.
BACKGROUND: Childhood lead poisoning has not made the list of national public health priorities in Lebanon. This study aims at identifying the prevalence and risk factors for elevated blood lead concentrations (B-Pb >or= 100 microg/L) among 1-3 year old children. It also examines the need for universal blood lead screening. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study of 281 well children, presenting to the pediatric ambulatory services at the American University of Beirut Medical Center in 1997-98. Blood was drawn on participating children for lead analysis and a structured questionnaire was introduced to mothers asking about social, demographic, and residence characteristics, as well as potential risk factors for lead exposure. Children with B-Pb >or= 100 microg/L were compared to those with B-Pb < 100 microg/L. RESULTS: Mean B-Pb was 66.0 microg/L (median 60.0; range 10-160; standard deviation 26.3) with 39 (14%) children with B-Pb >or= 100 microg/L. Logistic regression analysis showed that elevated B-Pb was associated with paternal manual jobs (odds ratio [OR]: 4.74), residence being located in high traffic areas (OR: 4.59), summer season (OR: 4.39), using hot tap water for cooking (OR: 3.96), exposure to kohl (OR: 2.40), and living in older buildings (OR: 2.01). CONCLUSION: Lead screening should be offered to high-risk children. With the recent ban of leaded gasoline in Lebanon, emphasis should shift to other sources of exposure in children.
Nuwayhid, I; Nabulsi, M; Muwakkit, S; Kouzi, S; Salem, G; Mikati, M; Ariss, M
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