3 years ago

Globally temporal transitions of blood lead levels of preschool children across countries of different categories of Human Development Index

Yaw-huei Hwang, Chuhsing Kate Hsiao, Pei-wen Lin

Publication date: 1 April 2019

Source: Science of The Total Environment, Volume 659

Author(s): Yaw-Huei Hwang, Chuhsing Kate Hsiao, Pei-Wen Lin


In the past decades, efforts to eliminate lead from gasoline, paint and drinking water around the world have substantially reduced human blood lead levels. This study was therefore aimed at examining the global temporal trends in the blood lead levels of preschool children by the category of UN Human Development Index (HDI). In total, 103 blood lead records were retrieved from 51 articles searched from PubMed and Google Scholar, with study subjects aged up to 8 years old. Collected preschool children blood lead levels were plotted chronologically by HDI category and their reciprocals were used in regression analysis against calendar year to establish their temporal transition trends in the past decades. Results show that the modes of blood lead level of the preschool children were reduced from 4–6 μg/dL to 0.8–1.5 μg/dL, from 6–15 μg/dL to 3–6 μg/dL and from 12–16 to 5–6 μg/dL for the very high HDI countries, the high HDI countries and the medium/low HDI countries, respectively. The highest correlation coefficient, 0.849, between the reciprocal of blood lead level and the calendar year was found for the very high HDI countries. Based on the regression lines, the predicted preschool children mean blood lead levels in the year of 2030 are 0.74 μg/dL, 2.21 μg/dL and 2.86 μg/dL, respectively, for the very high HDI countries, the high HDI countries and the medium/low HDI countries. Persistent differences in blood lead level prevailed among countries of different HDI category, suggesting the effects of disparities and inequalities, at the state level, on preschool children blood lead levels. Further action is warranted to reduce the already low environmental lead exposure to eliminate the developmental burden of lead on children through (1) identification of individual local factors for lead exposure and (2) averting health disparity and inequalities at the state level.

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