Background In 2012, a girl with blood lead level of 166 mcg/dl was admitted in Ramathibodi hospital due to status epilepticus. She lived with her parent in the recycling factory where high lead dust was found around the area inside. Children in the school which located around 100 metres from such recycling factory were investigated and found that the prevalence of high blood lead level (BLL) ≥ 10 mcg/dl was 44.2% (75 in 165 children).
Methods We conducted a case-control study with 43 cases of school children with BLL ≥ 10 mcg/dl, and a control group of 43 children from the same school by matching criteria of gender and classroom. The interviewed personal data, information on environmental risk factors and collected household environmental samples were collected by questionnaire and laboratory technique to identify the association between environmental factors, BLL ≥ 10 mcg/dl, and to study the prevalence of low IQ and learning disability among children with BLL ≥ 15 mcg/dl. Determined factors influencing BLL were analyses by univariate analysis and multiple logistic regression analyses. Children with BLL ≥ 15 mcg/dl were tested and compared for significant of IQ and learning disability differences.
Results Eighty six of children were enrolled. The multiple logistic regression showed the association between high BLL and school duration more than 4 academic years (p-value = 0.02), father’s occupation related with lead (p-value = 0.044) and the distance between home and the factory <500 metres (p-value = 0.029). Children with BLL ≥ 15 mcg/dl, we found that prevalence of low IQ was 25% and of learning disability was 66.7%.
Conclusions High blood lead level among children associated with living at home, attending in the school nearby the lead pollution factory, and father’s occupation related with lead. The prevalence of low IQ and learning disability among children with BLL ≥15 mcg/dl was higher than average of Thai children. Screening blood lead level among children in industrial area is necessary.
- Blood lead level
- Industrial area