To investigate the complex Pb-Cd exposure network in school-going children, a thorough investigation of the probable exposure means (diet, water, and school micro-environments such as paint dust and school courtyard soil) and exposure route (ingestion, inhalation and dermal) was carried out in a periurban area spanning three districts in southern Assam, India. Multivariate statistical analysis was carried out to understand the complex data matrices, and the health risk assessments (carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic) based on US EPA Risk Assessment models were also made. We found the median values to be 0.9–4.0 mg Pb/kg and 0.21–6.2 mg Cd/kg in various food items. Groundwater also had Pb (0.13–0.48 mg/L) and Cd (0.11–0.29 mg/L). Pb levels in paint dust were within the permissible limits, but 50% of the samples had higher than permissible levels of Cd. Approximately 23% of the school courtyard soil had Pb above the global background levels, but all the samples had 4–27 times elevated levels of Cd in them. School micro-environment contributed significantly to the metal load in children due to their typical hand-to-mouth behavior and dietary intake (food and water) via ingestion was the most prominent route of exposure in children. The evaluation of the estimated chronic daily intake and the hazard quotient indicated hazardous exposure over a lifetime to both Pb and Cd, but only Cd posed a prominent cancer risk. It could be concluded that chronic insidious effects of metals would be a noteworthy toxicological threat to children when exposed early on.
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Das, S., Nath, M., Laskar, A.K. et al. Lead and cadmium exposure network in children in a periurban area in India: susceptibility and health risk. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12608-3
- Paint dust
- Multivariate analysis