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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


OSORIO-GARCIA, Samuel D et al. Mercury and lead prevalence in a sample of people living in Bogotá, 2012-2013. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2014, vol.16, n.4, pp.621-628. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objectives Establishing mercury and lead prevalence in a sample of people living in Bogotá, potential effects on their health and the relationship with areas of environmental exposure. Methods This was a cross-sectional study involving a randomly and proportionally distributed sample of 401 people living in Bogotá, according to locality and their high, medium and low risk environmental exposure. A medical assessment was made and lead (in blood) and mercury levels (blood, hair, urine) quantified. A preliminary descriptive analysis was made. Results The participants were aged 3-91 years-old (mean 46), the most frequently occurring occupation was that of housewife (45.1%, n=181). Mean mercury concentration in hair was 1µg/g, 3.13 µg/L in blood and 0.29 µg/L in urine; lead in blood was found to be 8.62 µg/dL. Fifty-four people (13.5%) had higher concentrations than international reference values for mercury (WHO) and 10 (2.5%) for lead (CDC). Clinical findings were non-specific; exposure areas did not seem to relate to the concentrations found. Discussion A significant percentage of the study population had high mercury and/or lead levels and such high prevalence highlights the need for identifying and controlling sources of exposure to mercury and lead which could have adverse consequences regarding the health of Bogota’s general population.

Keywords : Mercury; lead; mercury poisoning; lead poisoning; environmental health.

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