Potential sources of lead in children’s environments, Thimphu, Bhutan
Introduction: There is no level of lead in one’s blood that is known to be safe. Infants and children are exposed to lead through various sources in the environment. Lead-based paint, toys, play equipment, dust, and soil may all be potential sources of lead. Preventing lead exposure is essential to eliminate the permanent and life-long disability caused from lead poisoning. Previous work showed that 44% of children aged 2 - 60 months in a Bhutanese population have dangerously high (greater or equal to 5mg/dL) levels of lead. The sources of this lead toxicity, however, are unknown. This study was carried out to identify potential sources of lead in infants’ and children’s environments at health facilities, early childhood care and development and creche centers, public playgrounds, and schools in Thimphu Dzongkhag.
Methods: An environmental survey using a portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF) was conducted from May 2021 to April 2022 to identify potential sources of lead in the environment in and around Thimphu, Bhutan.
Results: A total of 777 tests were done to identify excessive amounts of lead from various items, including: toys, playground equipment, furniture, paints, and soil. A total of 16 tests had excessive amounts of lead, of which 15 were detected from playground equipment at public playgrounds. The most common color with excessive lead was yellow.
Conclusions: Excessive amounts of lead were found in playground equipment as a possible source of lead exposure in children.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Deki Pem, Ugyen Wangdi, Nguldup Gyeltshen, Karma Wangdi, Chador Wangdi, Phillip Erbele
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