J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 307 - 310

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 307
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030303

Childhood lead poisoning in Brussels. Prevalence study and etiological factors

F. Claeys, C. Sykes, C. Limbos and G. Ducoffre

Scientific Institute of Public Health, J. Wytsmanstreet 14, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

The objectives of this study were twofold: firstly, to assess the frequency (prevalence) of childhood lead poisoning in some districts of Brussels and second, to identify within the dwellings the major source of lead as well as the risk factors connected with this intoxication. The study population (533 participants) was selected among children who visited childhood health centres in downtown Brussels. The reference group was chosen among children living outside Brussels city center. A casecontrol study was undertaken to meet the second objective of the investigation. The average blood lead level (PbB) was 104  $\mu$g/1 in the study population compared with 36  $\mu$g/l in the reference group. The 100 $\mu$g/l "non effect level" put forward by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and by the French legislation, is exceeded by 50% of the children living in this rundown environment. The major cause of intoxication is the presence of old lead-based paints in dwellings (Odd Ratio (OR): 4.4) constructed before 1940. Hand-to-mouth activity, pica activity (OR: 17.1) and a lack of hygiene are factors, which combined, promote intoxication. When the dwellings are undergoing renovation, this risk increases (OR: 7.2).

© EDP Sciences 2003