n South African Medical Journal - Trends in lead exposure in a rural mining town in South Africa,1991 - 2008 : correspondence

Volume 105, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



To the Editor: Lead exposure through mining processes contributes significantly to environmental and human contamination worldwide. Studies have shown that there is no safe level of exposure, and very low levels (blood lead levels < 5 μg/dL) have resulted in neurocognitive and behavioural abnormalities in children. This has detrimental economic and social consequences, especially in low- and middle income countries where resources to mitigate the effects of lead exposure are limited. In 1991, 2002 and 2008, cross-sectional surveys assessing lead exposure were conducted in grade 1 children in a remote lead-mining town (Aggeneys) and a control town (Pella) about 40 km away in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa (SA). Blood lead levels (BLLs) were assessed in whole-blood samples using atomic absorption spectrophotometry in 1991 and 2002 and in capillary blood using the LeadCare 1 analyser system in 2008.

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