IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 3047: Human Blood Lead Levels and the First Evidence of Environmental Exposure to Industrial Pollutants in the Amazon (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
The main routes of lead (Pb) absorption are through the airways and orally, and through consumption of contaminated food and beverage, with Pb mainly being absorbed in the atmospheric particulate form. In 2012, a cross-sectional study was performed to evaluate the Pb environmental exposure in two Amazonian districts, Dom Manuel (DMN) and Laranjal (CLA), located in Barcarena City, northern Brazil. CLA is located outside the industrial area of Barcarena (control population), whereas DMN is an old community located in the vicinity of industrial activities. A significant number of residents in these districts participated in an epidemiological inquiry and blood sampling. Total Pb blood levels were quantified using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The mean Pb blood level in people that live in DMN was 281.60 (98.73–570.80) μg·L−1, approximately nine times higher than the level found in CLA (32.77 μg·L−1). In these districts, the Pb blood levels showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) based on gender, schooling, residence time, and smoking. This is the first evidence of industrial environmental pollutant exposure in the Amazon.