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Issue 10, 2008
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Monitoring of lead load and its effect on neonatal behavioral neurological assessment scores in Guiyu, an electronic waste recycling town in China

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Abstract

Guiyu is the major electronic waste (e-waste) recycling town in China. The primary purpose of this study was to measure the lead levels in neonates and examine the correlation between lead levels and neurobehavioral development. One hundred full-term neonates from Guiyu and fifty-two neonates from neighboring towns (control group) in the late summer of 2006 were selected for study. The lead levels in the umbilical cord blood (CBPb) and lead levels in meconium (MPb) of neonates were determined with atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The neonatal behavioral neurological assessment (NBNA) was conducted on all neonates. A questionnaire related to the exposure to lead of pregnant women was used as a survey of the neonates' mothers. Compared with the control group, neonates in Guiyu had significantly higher levels of lead (P < 0.01), and the mean CBPb and MPb were 113.28 µg L−1 and 2.50 µg g−1, respectively. The relatively high lead levels in the neonates of the Guiyu group were found to correlate with their maternal occupation in relation to e-waste recycling. Neonates with high levels of lead load have lower NBNA scores (P < 0.01). There was a statistically significant difference in NBNA scores between the Guiyu group and the control group by t test (P < 0.05). No correlation was found between CBPb and NBNA scores; however, a negative correlation was found between MPb and NBNA scores (P < 0.01). There is a correlation between relatively high lead levels in the umbilical cord blood and meconium in neonates and the local e-waste recycling activities related to lead contamination. This study suggests that environmental lead contamination due to e-waste recycling have an impact on neurobehavioral development of neonates in Guiyu.

Graphical abstract: Monitoring of lead load and its effect on neonatal behavioral neurological assessment scores in Guiyu, an electronic waste recycling town in China

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Publication details

The article was received on 26 Mar 2008, accepted on 20 Aug 2008 and first published on 16 Sep 2008


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B804959A
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2008,10, 1233-1238
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    Monitoring of lead load and its effect on neonatal behavioral neurological assessment scores in Guiyu, an electronic waste recycling town in China

    Y. Li, X. Xu, K. Wu, G. Chen, J. Liu, S. Chen, C. Gu, B. Zhang, L. Zheng, M. Zheng and X. Huo, J. Environ. Monit., 2008, 10, 1233
    DOI: 10.1039/B804959A

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