Objectives After reporting 2 children lead poisoning (>100 mg/L), environmental investigation identified parental occupational exposure as the most likely source. A cross-sectional survey was implemented in September 2010, its aim was to estimate and analyse the para-occupational exposure of employee’s children of two factories in the Centre Region (France) and their subcontractors.
Methods Children were screened for blood lead level on a voluntary basis. Individual and family data on potential lead exposure were collected using a questionnaire and analysed using SAS®9.1. Risk factors for lead contamination were identified using univariate logistic regression.
Results Overall, 87 children from 0 to 18 years (40 boys and 47 girls) with at least one parent occupationally exposed to lead, were screened (participation rate was 31.5%). Arithmetic and geographic means of blood lead levels were respectively 34.2 mg/L and 26.9 mg/L. The prevalence of contamination (between 50 and 99 µg/L) was 17.2% and that of intoxication (≥100 µg/L) is 1.15%. Risk factors for contamination were age under 6 (RR = 2.11 p = 0.09) and living in a home built before 1948 (RR = 3.96 p = 0.02). Children under 6 had a blood lead level average of 46.9 mg/L, significantly higher than that of children aged 6–12 and 12–18 (respectively 32.4 and 25.1 mg/L). A significant correlation was observed between blood lead level of children and that of their exposed parent (p < 0.001).
Conclusion The geometric mean of blood lead levels (26.9) in these children with occupationally exposed parents was nearly twice higher than that observed in the Centre region (14.7 mg/L) and similar to those obtained in the framework of the national monitoring blood lead levels in children in 2005–2007 (33.6 mg/L), which targets at-risk children. This confirms existence of exposure to lead in these children of workers in factories using lead.