Environmental exposure to POPs and heavy metals in urban children from Dhaka, Bangladesh

Persistent organic pollutants (POP) and heavy metals are well known environmental pollutants. Even though numerous studies have been conducted to assess human exposure to these compounds, there is still a lack of data on humans in developing countries, particularly under-privileged children. In this study, the authors assessed POP and heavy metal exposure in children from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to assess whether children working at or living close to open waste disposal sites (WDS) were more heavily exposed than other urban children. In 2008, blood and serum were collected from 73 children (7-16 years old) from 5 neighbourhoods. Some children lived and worked at WDS (n ) 31), others lived next to a WDS (n ) 17), and some lived far from such sites (n ) 25). Blood Pb (B-Pb), Cd (B-Cd), and Se (B-Se) concentrations were detected by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry for all subjects. Metal concentrations were high: overall mean B-Pb was 120 íg/L (range 40-220), B-Cd was 0.74 íg/L (0.22-4.1), and B-Se was 120 íg/L (81-170). There were no marked differences among children from different neighbourhoods or between WDS workers and other children. PCB concentrations were low with no contrast among neighbourhoods; the overall mean PCB-153 concentration was 7.0 ng/g fat (2.8-51). High DDT concentrations were observed in all children: 4,4′-DDE was 1300 ng/g fat (420-4600) and 4,4′-DDT was 326 ng/g fat (44-1400), indicating ongoing exposure. Polybrominated di-Ph ether (PBDE) concentrations were low; PBDE-209 occurred mainly in children working at or living close to WDS. The authors concluded that high DDT, Pb, and Cd concentrations observed in children from Dhaka are of concern. Many children were exposed at levels where health effects have been observed, or at levels without safety margins.

Authors: Linderholm, Linda; Jakobsson, Kristina; Lundh, Thomas; Zamir, Rausan; Shoeb, Mohammad; Nahar, Nilufar; Bergman, Aake ;Full Source: Journal of Environmental Monitoring [online computer file] 2011, 13(10), 2728-2734 (Eng) ;