Blood lead levels in children after phase-out of leaded gasoline in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo DRCReport as inadecuate

Blood lead levels in children after phase-out of leaded gasoline in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo DRC - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Archives of Public Health

, 71:5

First Online: 04 April 2013Received: 01 January 2013Accepted: 28 March 2013DOI: 10.1186-0778-7367-71-5

Cite this article as: Tuakuila, J., Kabamba, M., Mata, H. et al. Arch Public Health 2013 71: 5. doi:10.1186-0778-7367-71-5 Background

The phasing out of lead from gasoline has resulted in a significant decrease in blood lead levels BLLs in children during the last two decades. Tetraethyl lead was phased out in DRC in 2009. The objective of this study was to test for reduction in pediatric BLLs in Kinshasa, by comparing BLLs collected in 2011 2 years after use of leaded gasoline was phased out to those collected in surveys conducted in 2004 and 2008 by Tuakuila et al. when leaded gasoline was still used.

MethodsWe analyzed BLLs in a total of 100 children under 6 years of age Mean ± SD: 2.9 ± 1.6 age, 64% boys using inductively coupled argon plasma mass spectrometry ICP – MS.

ResultsThe prevalence of elevated BLLs ≥ 10 μg-dL in children tested was 63% in 2004 n = 100, GM 95% CI = 12.4 μg-dL 11.4 – 13.3 and 71% in 2008 n = 55, GM 95% CI = 11.2 μg-dL 10.3 – 14.4. In the present study, this prevalence was 41%. The average BLLs for the current study population GM 95% CI = 8.7 μg-dL 8.0 – 9.5 was lower than those found by Tuakuila et al. F = 10.38, p <0.001 as well as the CDC level of concern 10 μ-dL, with 3% of children diagnosed with BLLs ≥ 20 μg-dL.

ConclusionThese results demonstrate a significant success of the public health system in Kinshasa, DRC-achieved by the removal of lead from gasoline. However, with increasing evidence that adverse health effects occur at BLLs < 10 μg-dL and no safe BLLs in children has been identified, the BLLs measured in this study continue to constitute a major public health concern for Kinshasa. The emphasis should shift to examine the contributions of non-gasoline sources to children’s BLLs: car batteries recycling in certain residences, the traditional use of fired clay for the treatment of gastritis by pregnant women and leaded paint.

KeywordsBlood lead levels Leaded gasoline Children health Phase out Kinshasa Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-0778-7367-71-5 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Joel Tuakuila - Martin Kabamba - Honoré Mata - Gerard Mata



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