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JYMS : Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science

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HOME > J Yeungnam Med Sci > Volume 10(1); 1993 > Article
Original Article Lead level in hair of elementary school children in urban and rural areas.
Yung Woo Byun, Jun Sakong, Chang Yoon Kim, Jong Hak Chung
Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science 1993;10(1):103-113
Published online: June 30, 1993
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This study was conducted to explore the feasibility of using the lead level in the hair of children as a screening test for lead intoxication of children and as an indicator for environmental pollution. Lead concentration of hair was measured for 268 seven to nine-year-old elementary school children in Taegu city (147 children) and Gampo. town(121 children). The lead level in hair was measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometer equipped with a graphite furnace atomizer. The following information was obtained for all children : sex, age, father's occupation and smoking habits, kinds of hair cleaner, fingernail biting habits, and status of the child's hands and clothing. The mean lead level in hair was 8.7+/-2-9 microg/g in the urban area and 7.7+/-2.2 pg/g in the rural area. There were significant differences between two groups(p(0.01). The difference of lead levels in hair measured by cleanliness of the child's hands (clean : 7.4+/- 2.7 pg/g, dirty : 8.2+/- 2.6 pg/g) and child's clothing(clean : 8.0+/- 2.5 microg/g, dirty : 9.3+/- 2.6 microg/g) were statistically significant, but other factors were not significant. In multiple regression analysis, difference of residency and age were significant variables for lead level in the hair of children. These findings suggest that measurement of lead level in the hair is a useful method for the screening of the lead intoxication of children and monitoring environmental conditions.

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