J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 809 - 821

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 809
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030424

Health and environmental assessment among residents of a community near a battery recycling plant

N.P. Cortes-Maramba1, L.R. Panganiban2, E.S. Castille2, C.C. Dioquino2 and A.T. Francisco-Rivera3

1  Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, U.P. College of Medicine, 547 Pedro Gil St., Manila, Philippines
2  National Poison Control & Information Service, U.P. Manila, Ward 14-A, Room 100, Philippines General Hospital, Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines
3  Environment & Occupational Health Office, National Center for Disease Prevention & Control, Department of Health, San Lazaro Compound, Manila, Philippines

A battery-recycling plant in a small town near Manila has been the subject of health complaints, mostly respiratory symptoms among the residents. Records showed that the plant had imported 24,000 units of used batteries and 60% of the load was handled by the recycling plant. This cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate the health and environmental impact of lead battery recycling plant among the residents in the area. Study population was composed of 105 exposed and 41 non-exposed adults and children coming from 12 villages, randomly selected based on a set criteria. Results showed that children were more affected than adults with elevated blood lead levels in 65%, with a mean of 12.9 ug/dL (range of 7-25). This was statistically significant (p=0.00). Common complaints were mostly respiratory in nature among the exposed population. These were supported by the physical examination findings together with bluish/grayish gingival deposits. Air and soil monitoring showed elevated lead levels. Analysis revealed that the nearer the residence from the plant, the higher were the blood lead levels and that there was a very good inverse correlation between the ambient air lead levels and the distance of the village from the plant.

© EDP Sciences 2003