Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 31, pp 31535–31542 | Cite as

Lead exposure from households and school settings: influence of diet on blood lead levels

  • Isabelle Nogueira Leroux
  • Ana Paula Sacone da Silva Ferreira
  • Júlia Prestes da Rocha Silva
  • Flávio Ferreira Bezerra
  • Fábio Ferreira da Silva
  • Fernanda Junqueira Salles
  • Maciel Santos Luz
  • Nílson Antônio de Assunção
  • Maria Regina Alves Cardoso
  • Kelly Polido Kaneshiro OlympioEmail author
Research Article


Lead is known as a potent toxicant to human health, particularly for children while their central nervous system is developing. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between blood lead levels (BLLs) and lead exposure in the children’s diet, home, and school environments. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 153 children aged 1–4 years, in four day care centers (DCCs), where a high prevalence of lead exposure was previously found. Lead determination by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GF-AAS) was performed for venous blood, drinking water collected in the DCCs, and the 24-h diet (n = 64). Environmental screenings were conducted to evaluate lead concentrations in the tableware, buildings, and playground items in all DCCs and children’s homes (n = 18) by using a field-portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer (FP-XRF). The BLL mean was 2.71 μg dL−1. Means for 24-h lead concentrations in the diet were 1.61 and 2.24 μg kg−1 of body weight (BW) in two DCCs. Lead concentrations in the water supply were lower than 2 μg L−1. More than 11% of the DCCs’ environmental analyses presented lead concentrations higher than or equal to 1 mg cm−2, as defined by the USEPA. The diet was not found to be a risk factor for lead exposure, but households and DCC settings raised concern. Children’s exposure to lead in DCC environments, where they spend the most part of their weekdays, appeared to be relevant.

Graphical abstract


Children’s health Lead exposure Diet and environments Blood lead levels 



The authors acknowledge the valuable collaboration of all directors and teachers of the day care centers and the volunteers and their families involved in this investigation.


This study was funded by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo FAPESP (Grants 2011/23272-0, 2012/21840-4, 2014/20945-2, 2014/22118-6, 2015/01395-4) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico CNPq (Grant: #441996/2014-0).

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of the School of Public Health of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (Protocol #1.127.698).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Nogueira Leroux
    • 1
  • Ana Paula Sacone da Silva Ferreira
    • 1
  • Júlia Prestes da Rocha Silva
    • 1
  • Flávio Ferreira Bezerra
    • 1
  • Fábio Ferreira da Silva
    • 2
  • Fernanda Junqueira Salles
    • 1
  • Maciel Santos Luz
    • 3
  • Nílson Antônio de Assunção
    • 4
  • Maria Regina Alves Cardoso
    • 5
  • Kelly Polido Kaneshiro Olympio
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Saúde Ambiental, Faculdade de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas, Universidade Federal do ABCSanto AndréBrasil
  3. 3.Centro de Tecnologia e Metalurgia dos Materiais/Laboratório de Processos Metalúrgicos (CTMM/LPM)Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas (IPT)São PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Química, Instituto de Ciências Ambientais, Químicas e FarmacêuticasUniversidade Federal de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  5. 5.Departamento de Epidemiologia, Faculdade de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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