Assessment of blood levels of heavy metals including lead and manganese in healthy children living in the Katanga settlement of Kampala, Uganda

Sarah Cusick, Ericka G. Jaramillo, Emily C. Moody, Andrew S. Ssemata, Doreen Bitwayi, Troy C Lund, Ezekiel Mupere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Exposure to environmental heavy metals is common among African children. Although many of these metals are known neurotoxicants, to date, monitoring of this exposure is limited, even in countries such as Uganda that are undergoing rapid industrialization. An assessment of the burden and potential causes of metal exposure is a critical first step in gauging the public health burden of metal exposure and in guiding its elimination. Methods: In May 2016, we enrolled 100 children between the ages of 6 and 59 months living in the Katanga urban settlement of Kampala, Uganda. We measured whole blood concentrations of antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, cesium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, nickel, selenium, and zinc. Applying reference cutoffs, we identified metals whose prevalence of elevated blood concentrations was > 10%. We also administered an environmental questionnaire to each child's caregiver to assess potential exposures, including source of drinking water, cooking location and fuel, materials used for roof, walls, and floor, and proximity to potential pollution sources such as main roads, garbage landfills, and fuel stations. We compared log-transformed blood metal concentrations by exposure category, using t-test for dichotomous comparisons and ANOVA for comparisons of three categories, using Tukeys test to adjust for multiple comparisons. Results: The prevalence of high blood levels was elevated for six of the metals: antimony (99%), copper (12%), cadmium (17%), cobalt (19.2%), lead (97%), and manganese (36.4%). Higher blood manganese was significantly associated with having cement walls (p = 0.04) or floors (p = 0.04). Cadmium was greater among children who attended school (< 0.01), and cobalt was higher among children who lived near a garbage landfill (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Heavy metal exposure is prevalent in the Katanga settlement and may limit neurodevelopment of children living there. Future studies are needed to definitively identify the sources of exposure and to correct potential nutritional deficiencies that may worsen metal absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 8 2018

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Democratic Republic of the Congo
Uganda
Manganese
Heavy Metals
Metals
Cobalt
Cadmium
Garbage
Waste Disposal Facilities
Antimony
Copper
Cesium
Environmental Exposure
Cooking
Arsenic
Chromium
Barium
Selenium
Lead
Nickel

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Environment
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Metals

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Cite this

Assessment of blood levels of heavy metals including lead and manganese in healthy children living in the Katanga settlement of Kampala, Uganda. / Cusick, Sarah; Jaramillo, Ericka G.; Moody, Emily C.; Ssemata, Andrew S.; Bitwayi, Doreen; Lund, Troy C; Mupere, Ezekiel.

In: BMC Public Health, Vol. 18, No. 1, 117, 08.06.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cusick, Sarah ; Jaramillo, Ericka G. ; Moody, Emily C. ; Ssemata, Andrew S. ; Bitwayi, Doreen ; Lund, Troy C ; Mupere, Ezekiel. / Assessment of blood levels of heavy metals including lead and manganese in healthy children living in the Katanga settlement of Kampala, Uganda. In: BMC Public Health. 2018 ; Vol. 18, No. 1.
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abstract = "Background: Exposure to environmental heavy metals is common among African children. Although many of these metals are known neurotoxicants, to date, monitoring of this exposure is limited, even in countries such as Uganda that are undergoing rapid industrialization. An assessment of the burden and potential causes of metal exposure is a critical first step in gauging the public health burden of metal exposure and in guiding its elimination. Methods: In May 2016, we enrolled 100 children between the ages of 6 and 59 months living in the Katanga urban settlement of Kampala, Uganda. We measured whole blood concentrations of antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, cesium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, nickel, selenium, and zinc. Applying reference cutoffs, we identified metals whose prevalence of elevated blood concentrations was > 10{\%}. We also administered an environmental questionnaire to each child's caregiver to assess potential exposures, including source of drinking water, cooking location and fuel, materials used for roof, walls, and floor, and proximity to potential pollution sources such as main roads, garbage landfills, and fuel stations. We compared log-transformed blood metal concentrations by exposure category, using t-test for dichotomous comparisons and ANOVA for comparisons of three categories, using Tukeys test to adjust for multiple comparisons. Results: The prevalence of high blood levels was elevated for six of the metals: antimony (99{\%}), copper (12{\%}), cadmium (17{\%}), cobalt (19.2{\%}), lead (97{\%}), and manganese (36.4{\%}). Higher blood manganese was significantly associated with having cement walls (p = 0.04) or floors (p = 0.04). Cadmium was greater among children who attended school (< 0.01), and cobalt was higher among children who lived near a garbage landfill (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Heavy metal exposure is prevalent in the Katanga settlement and may limit neurodevelopment of children living there. Future studies are needed to definitively identify the sources of exposure and to correct potential nutritional deficiencies that may worsen metal absorption.",
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AU - Moody, Emily C.

AU - Ssemata, Andrew S.

AU - Bitwayi, Doreen

AU - Lund, Troy C

AU - Mupere, Ezekiel

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AB - Background: Exposure to environmental heavy metals is common among African children. Although many of these metals are known neurotoxicants, to date, monitoring of this exposure is limited, even in countries such as Uganda that are undergoing rapid industrialization. An assessment of the burden and potential causes of metal exposure is a critical first step in gauging the public health burden of metal exposure and in guiding its elimination. Methods: In May 2016, we enrolled 100 children between the ages of 6 and 59 months living in the Katanga urban settlement of Kampala, Uganda. We measured whole blood concentrations of antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, cesium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, nickel, selenium, and zinc. Applying reference cutoffs, we identified metals whose prevalence of elevated blood concentrations was > 10%. We also administered an environmental questionnaire to each child's caregiver to assess potential exposures, including source of drinking water, cooking location and fuel, materials used for roof, walls, and floor, and proximity to potential pollution sources such as main roads, garbage landfills, and fuel stations. We compared log-transformed blood metal concentrations by exposure category, using t-test for dichotomous comparisons and ANOVA for comparisons of three categories, using Tukeys test to adjust for multiple comparisons. Results: The prevalence of high blood levels was elevated for six of the metals: antimony (99%), copper (12%), cadmium (17%), cobalt (19.2%), lead (97%), and manganese (36.4%). Higher blood manganese was significantly associated with having cement walls (p = 0.04) or floors (p = 0.04). Cadmium was greater among children who attended school (< 0.01), and cobalt was higher among children who lived near a garbage landfill (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Heavy metal exposure is prevalent in the Katanga settlement and may limit neurodevelopment of children living there. Future studies are needed to definitively identify the sources of exposure and to correct potential nutritional deficiencies that may worsen metal absorption.

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KW - Lead

KW - Manganese

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