Yearly measurements of blood lead in Swedish children since 1978: an update focusing on the petrol lead free period 1995–2001
- Correspondence to: Dr U Strömberg, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden;
- Accepted 30 August 2002
Background and Aims: To assess blood lead concentrations (B-Pb) in children not exposed to petrol lead. In a previous paper we reported the results for the period 1978–94 (2441 children measured). A substantial decrease of B-Pb was found, which reflected a beneficial effect of gradual banning of petrol lead. Since 1994, petrol sold in Sweden has not contained lead.
Methods: In the south of Sweden, each year from 1995 to 2001, B-Pb was measured in 329 boys and 345 girls, aged 7–11 years.
Results: The geometric mean (GM) of B-Pb was 21 (range 6–80) μg/l. There was no consistent change of B-Pb from 1995 to 2001. Children living near a lead smelter had raised B-Pb (GM 24 μg/l, range 11–80). Passive smoking, but not age and sex, influenced B-Pb significantly.
Conclusions: B-Pb in Swedish children, no longer exposed to petrol lead, seems to have stabilised at an average level close to 20 μg/l (provided there is no nearby industrial lead emission).
A Schütz died on 30 July 2001; took part in the work up to then