Author(s): Wells Utembe and Mary Gulumian

Source: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 8207.

Abstract: The risk assessment of lead (Pb) requires the use of biokinetic models to translate measured concentrations of Pb in food and environmental media into blood lead (BPb). The aim of this study was to assess the applicability of the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic (IEUBK) model in the health risk assessment of Pb among children in Blantyre. Children (152) aged 1–6 years were recruited into this cross-sectional study, and foods, house dust, playground soil, water, and venous blood (1 mL) were collected and analyzed for Pb. A seven-day food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to collect food consumption data. The concentrations of Pb ranged from 0.01 to 3.3 mg/kg in food, 2.3 to 265 mg/kg and 1.5 to 482 mg/kg in house dust and playground soil, respectively, as well as 2.0 µg/dL to 50.4 µg/dL and 6.8 to 39.2 µg/dL for measured and predicted BPb, respectively. Various statistical tests indicated less than satisfactory agreement between measured and predicted BPb values. Despite the lack of reliable food consumption data and other limitations, both the predicted and measured BPb values indicate that children in Blantyre are exposed to high levels of Pb, largely through food and soil as a minor source.

Keywords: Lead; exposure; biokinetic modelling; children