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Urban population exposure to lead and cadmium in east and south-east Asia



Urban population exposure to lead and cadmium in east and south-east Asia



Science of the Total Environment 249(1-3): 373-384, April 17



Information is still scarce for many Asian countries on general population exposure to two potentially toxic heavy metals of lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd). The present review on publications from this study group is intended to provide an overview of the non-occupational exposure to Pb and Cd among general populations in east and south-east Asia. During the period of 1991-1998, surveys were conducted in four cities in south-east Asia, five cities in mainland China, and two cities each in Japan and Korea. Peripheral blood, morning spot urine and 24-h food duplicate samples were collected from 20-50 non-smoking adult women in each survey site. The samples were digested by heating in the presence of mineral acids, and then analyzed by inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry for the metals in blood (Pb-B and Cd-B), in urine (Pb-U and Cd-U), and in food duplicate (Pb-F and Cd-F). Measures were subjected to statistical analysis with an assumption of log-normal distribution. Pb-B, Pb-U and Pb-F levels varied substantially among the 11 urban sites; GM distributed in ranges of 32-65 microg/l for Pb-B, 2.1-7.5 microg/g cr (creatinine) for Pb-U, and 7-32 microg/day for Pb-F. The same was also the case for Cd exposure parameters, the distribution ranges being 0.5-1.8 microg/l for Cd-B, 1.2-3.1 microg/g cr for Cd-U, and 5-32 microg/day for Cd-F. It appeared that the exposure to Pb and Cd was highest in Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo + Kyoto, respectively, and lowest in Tokyo + Kyoto and in Manila. Additional surveys in Japan showed that Pb exposure was even lower in rural areas than in Tokyo + Kyoto. When compared with the values reported in the literature, Pb exposure levels among Asian populations appear to be similar to the levels in Europe and in the United States, whereas Cd exposure seems to be higher in Asia than in Europe. The contribution of the dietary route in Pb absorption was variable and was inversely related to the extent of air pollution, whereas Cd uptake was almost exclusively via the dietary route with little contribution of the respiratory route.

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Accession: 011617193

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 10813464

DOI: 10.1016/s0048-9697(99)00527-6



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