Blood Lead Survey of Children, Pregnant Women, Professional Drivers, Street Workers, and Office Workers in Trujillo, Peru

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In this pilot study, conducted in summer 2002, the authors measured blood lead levels (BLLs) for 118 subjects in the city of Trujillo, Peru, where leaded gasoline is in the process of being phased out. Subjects included bus drivers, combi (minivan) drivers, street vendors, newspaper vendors, traffic police, taxi drivers, gas station attendants, children living both near and distant from gas stations, pregnant women, and office workers (controls). The highest BLLs were 9.2 μg/dl and 9.3 μg/dl from a child who lived near a gas station and from a traffic policeman, respectively; however, all BLLs were below the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory level of concern (10 μg/dl). Office workers (n = 8) and pregnant women (n = 36) had significantly lower BLLs (geometric mean ± standard deviation = 2.1 ± 0.7 μg/dl, p < 0.022; and 2.5 ± 1.1 μg/dl, p < 0.008, respectively) than total traffic-exposed workers (n = 48; 3.2 ± 1.8 μg/dl). BLLs of children living near gas stations (n = 17; 3.7 ± 2.2 μg/dl) were marginally higher (p = 0.07) than for children not living near gas stations (n = 9; 2.9 ± 1.1 μg/dl). The study was limited by small sample size and the fact that the data were based on a convenience sample not fully representative of the cohorts studied. Nevertheless, the authors' findings suggest that leaded gasoline use in Trujillo continues to affect BLLs in traffic-exposed populations.

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