Screening of school children for blood lead levels and attempts to reduce them by nonpharmacological means in a coastal city of India

Prashant Vishwanath, Akila Prashant, D. Devanand, Narendra Nayak, Vivian D'Souza, T. Venkatesh

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Lead is a major health hazard, especially in children. Impact of lead poisoning on our society is not known. Effectiveness of environmental interventions in reducing blood lead levels is not exactly known, though the Center for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advocates use of such means. Aims: We aimed at screening school children for blood lead levels (BLLs) and reducing the BLLs of children with preliminary BLL >20 μg/dL by environmental intervention and intensive education. Materials and Methods: To assess the extent of lead poisoning, a screening of 106 children was done, which showed that children belonging to a particular government primary school had higher BLLs. A second screening program of 87 children conducted in that school showed that only 19% had BLL < 10 μg/dL; whereas 44% had BLL between 10 and 20 μg/dL, and 37% had BLL >20 μg/dL. Thirty-eight children having BLL >20 μg/dL were selected from the two screening programs. After removing all potential sources of lead from their environment and educating them about the ways to prevent exposure to lead, follow-up of their BLLs was carried out at an interval of 6 months for a period of 1 year. Statistical Analysis: Values of the different follow-up studies were compared using repeated-measure ANOVA. Results: Our results showed that there was a significant (P < 0.0001) reduction in the BLLs in the first and second follow-up studies. Conclusions: The study is a proof of the concept that a decline in the BLLs can be achieved by intense education and avoiding the potential environmental sources of lead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalIndian Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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