Does Involving Parents in Soil Sampling Identify Causes of Child Exposure to Lead? A Case Study of Community Engagement in Mining‐Impacted Towns in Peru

Landes, Franziska C.; Inauen, Jennifer; Ponce‐Canchihuamán, Johny; Markowski, Kathie; Ellis, Tyler K.; van Geen, Alexander (2019). Does Involving Parents in Soil Sampling Identify Causes of Child Exposure to Lead? A Case Study of Community Engagement in Mining‐Impacted Towns in Peru. GeoHealth, 3(8), pp. 218-236. American Geophysical Union 10.1029/2019GH000200

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Over a million people in Peru may be exposed to lead (Pb) due to past or present mining‐related activities; however, neither soil Pb nor blood Pb are routinely monitored throughout the country. Because little is known about Pb contamination in smaller mining‐impacted towns, soil Pb was mapped in four such towns with a portable X‐ray fluorescence analyzer in 2015. The roadside mapping delineated hotspots of highly contaminated soil (1,000–6,000 mg/kg Pb) in two of the towns. The local health department, provided with a LeadCare II analyzer, then measured blood‐Pb levels >5 in 65% and >10 μg/dL in 15% of children (n = 200) up to 6 years of age in these same four communities. There were no clear relations between child blood‐Pb levels and Pb levels in soil samples collected inside (n = 50) or outside the home (n = 50). Increased child blood Pb was associated with decreased level of cleanliness of parent clothing (n = 136) and shoes (n = 138), linking a possible behavioral factor for transferring contaminated soil and dust to children. In order to explore individual exposure and variations in soil Pb, 10 parents of children with blood Pb >10 μg/dL and 10 parents of children with blood Pb <5 μg/dL were invited to collect soil samples in areas where their children play and screen it for Pb using a color‐based field procedure. Importantly, parents identified a new hotspot of Pb contamination that had been missed by the previous portable X‐ray fluorescence soil mapping. The findings highlight the feasibility and value of involving families impacted by environmental contamination to identify and reduce environmental health risk.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health

UniBE Contributor:

Inauen, Jennifer

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

2471-1403

Publisher:

American Geophysical Union

Language:

English

Submitter:

Salome Irina Rahel Bötschi

Date Deposited:

29 Jan 2020 14:15

Last Modified:

29 Jan 2020 14:15

Publisher DOI:

10.1029/2019GH000200

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.134471

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/134471

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