Title: Lead and Arsenic in Shed Deciduous Teeth of Children Living Near a Lead-Acid Battery Smelter.
Authors: Johnston, Jill E; Franklin, Meredith; Roh, Hannah; Austin, Christine; Arora, Manish
Published In Environ Sci Technol, (2019 05 21)
Abstract: Lead (Pb) is a potent neurotoxicant with no safe level of exposure. Elevated levels of Pb and arsenic (As) are found in the air and soil near facilities that recycle lead-acid batteries in the United States. In urban Los Angeles County, California, a facility processed ∼11 million batteries per year and operated for decades without proper environmental review. Measuring Pb and As in shed deciduous teeth is a promising technique to assess prenatal and early life exposure. In this pilot study coined the "Truth Fairy" Project, 50 shed deciduous teeth from 43 children living their entire lives within 2 miles of the smelter were analyzed to understand retrospective exposure to toxic metals using a community-driven research approach. Concentrations of Pb and As in teeth were assessed using laser-ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Soil Pb concentrations were determined using spatial kriging of surface soil measurements. The mean prenatal calcium normalized Pb levels in teeth samples (reported as a ratio 208Pb:43Ca) was 4.104 × 10-4 (SD 4.123 × 10-4), and the mean postnatal 208Pb:43Ca level was 4.109 × 10-4 (SD 3.369 × 10-4). Adjusted for maternal education and batch, we observe positive significant relationship between prenatal teeth Pb per 100 ppm increase in soil Pb (β = 3.48, 95% CI 1.11, 5.86). The Truth Fairy study suggests prenatal and early life exposure to toxic metals is associated with legacy soil contamination in an urban community near a smelter.
PubMed ID: 31056909
MeSH Terms: Arsenic*; California; Child; Environmental Exposure; Female; Humans; Pilot Projects; Pregnancy; Retrospective Studies; Soil Pollutants*; Tooth, Deciduous