J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 1373 - 1376

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 1373
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030557

Lead in the blood of children living close to industrial point sources in Bulgaria and Poland

C. Willeke-Wetstein1, A. Bainova2, R. Georgieva2, A. Huzior-Balajewicz3 and J.R. Bacon4

1  Department of Livestock Ecology, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Ludwigstr. 21, 35390 Giessen, Germany
2  National Center of Hygiene, Medical Ecology and Nutrition, Sofia, Bulgaria
3  Polish-American Children's Hospital, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
4  The Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen, U.K.

ln Eastern European countries some industrial point sources are still suspected to have unacceptable emission rates of lead that pose a major health risk in particular to children. An interdisciplinary research project under the auspices of the EU had the aims (I) to monitor the current contamination of two industrial zones in Bulgaria and Poland, (2) to relate the Pb levels in ecological strata to the internal exposure of children, (3) to develop public health strategies in order to reduce the health risk by heavy metals. The human monitoring of Pb in Poland did not show increased health risks for the children living in an industrial zone close to Krakow. Bulgarian children, however, exceeded the WHO limit of 100  $\mu$g lead per litre blood by over one hundred percent (240  $\mu$g/1). Samples of soil, fodder and livestock organs showed elevated concentrations of lead. Recent literature results are compared with the findings in Bulgaria and Poland. The sources of the high internal exposure of children are discussed. Public health strategies to prevent mental dysfunction in Bulgarian children at risk include awareness building and social masures.

© EDP Sciences 2003