To compare the contents of rare earth elements in urine and drinking water of children in the mining and control areas and evaluate the health risk of children in the mining area.
Urine and drinking water of 128 children in the mining area and 125 children in the control area were collected from June to July 2015. The contents of rare earth elements were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.
The detection rates of rare earth elements, including yttrium (Y), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd), and samarium (Sm), in the urine of children in the exposed group were all 100%, except for samarium (98%); the rates in the control group were 85.7%, 100%, 100%, 98%, 98%, and 59.2%, respectively, and the remaining elements were not detectable. The concentrations of Y, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, and Sm in the urine of children in the exposed group were significantly higher than that in the control group (P < .01). In addition, the composition ratio of lanthanum was higher than that in the control group. The detection rates of lanthanum and Ce in the drinking water of children in the exposed group were 1.44% and 0.72%, respectively. The others were not detectable; the rates in the control group were all 0%.
The pollution caused by the presence of Y, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, and Sm in the mining area might affect the health of children in the area, but drinking water might not be the cause.