Environmental lead levels in a coastal city of India: The lead burden continues

Prashant Vishwanath, Devananda Devegowda, Akila Prashant, Narendra Nayak, Vivian D'Souza, Thuppil Venkatesh, Clark Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Urbanization, rapid industrialization, increased vehicular traffic, and consequent increase in the use of petroleum fuels in India are constantly emitting lead along with other pollutants into the environment. Apart from atmospheric lead, this element is the most widely used in everyday life. Although infants and children are the most susceptible to the effects of lead, adults are also affected to varying degrees and it had ranked as one of the most serious environmental threats to human health. Hence, we must understand the benefits of preventing lead exposure as it reduces treatment costs, increases productivity in industry, and also reduces infant mortality. These are good enough reasons for a nation wide program to prevent lead poisoning. Objectives: In the view of elevated blood lead levels (BLL) in majority of the school children in the city of Mangalore, we aimed to identify the potential sources of lead in the environment which would have probably caused the elevated BLL. Materials and Methods: More than 600 readings were taken throughout the city of Mangalore using X-ray fluorimeter. Results: Our results showed that there were elevated levels of lead in the environment surrounding the battery repair shops, battery recyclers, automotive workshops, and tyre retreaders, but interestingly, the soil around the petrol bunks did not show elevated levels of lead. Among the paints, the yellow paint showed high levels of lead. Conclusion: Similar surveys would be useful elsewhere in India and in other developing countries in order to identify the potential sources of lead and to prevent lead poisoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
JournalIndian Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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