DETERMINANTS AND PREVALENCE OF CHILDHOOD LEAD POISONING IN KAWAYE VILLAGE, ANKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, ZAMFARA STATE; 2013

DETERMINANTS AND PREVALENCE OF CHILDHOOD LEAD POISONING IN KAWAYE VILLAGE, ANKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, ZAMFARA STATE; 2013

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SUMMARY

Lead poisoning remains one of the most significant and prevalent diseases of environmental origin

globally, accounting for 0.6% of the global burden of diseases. Children under the age of 6 years

are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical

development. This study was carried out in Kawaye village, Anka Local Government Area of

Zamfara State to find out the determinants and prevalence of childhood lead poisoning in Zamfara

State and specifically, to determine risk factors and prevalence of childhood lead poisoning and

socio-demographic characteristics of children affected by lead poisoning in Kawaye village, Anka

Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

In a descriptive cross sectional study design and using simple random sampling technique, 307

eligible children aged 6 years and below were recruited. Data were collected using interviewer-

administered semi-structured questionnaire to obtain information on socio-demographics, risk

factors for lead poisoning, history of exposure to lead, and signs and symptoms of toxicity. Blood

specimens were collected for determination of blood lead levels, anemia and malaria parasitemia. In

addition, household soils were tested for presence of lead. Data were entered into and analyzed

using Epi info™ 7 software.

The study showed a very high prevalence of lead poisoning of 92.5% in Kawaye village. The mean

age of studied children was 38.5 months ± 18.5 SD. Majority of the studied children belonged to

age groups 48-59 and ≥ 60 months with slight male predominance. Children most affected by lead

poisoning were males (p = 0.455), belonging to the age group 35 months and below (p = 0.422),

and whose parents were miners (14.7%) and farmers (37.1%). More than half of the fathers and/or

guardians of studied children had informal education (53.7%) with few having neither informal nor

formal education (4.2%). In addition, nearly one-third of the fathers and/or guardians lived below

poverty line and about the same proportion (30.3%) earned at least the minimum wage set by the

Federal Government of Nigeria monthly.

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Altogether, 44 of 307 (14.3%) households were found to have soils contaminated with lead of

varying degrees. The median household soil lead level was 61 PPM, ranging from non-detectable to

24000 PPM. About 11% of the households had mild-moderate contamination, while 2.9% were

severely contaminated with lead. Moreover, about 86% of the studied children had varying degrees

of anemia with a mean PCV level of 26.9% (SD ± 5.5). On the other hand, 59% of the children had

variable levels of malaria parasitemia. Low levels of education and socioeconomic status of

father/guardian, use of kohl eye cosmetic on child, anemia and malaria parasitemia were found to

be independent risk factors for childhood lead poisoning.

In conclusion, the study established a very high prevalence of lead poisoning in Kawaye village,

with most of the affected children belonging to age group 35 months and below. It is therefore

recommended that targeted interventions should be designed to address the identified risk factors in

order to control and prevent childhood lead poisoning in Kawaye village and the State at large.

Key words: Lead poisoning, Pattern, Determinants, Zamfara State

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1. Background

Lead - a heavy metal with symbol Pb (from Latin plumbum)- is a soft malleable metal that

has bluish-white color when freshly cut, but soon tarnishes to dull-grayish color when

exposed to air. It has a shiny chrome-silver luster when melted into liquid. It occurs naturally

in the earth‟s crust and is used in building constructions, lead acid batteries, bullets, weights,

as part of solders, plumbing materials, fusible alloys and as a radiation shield among others.

Lead poisoning on the other hand, is a medical condition that occurs when lead builds up in

the body to at least 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) of blood, 1 often over a period of

months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children

under the age of 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect

mental and physical development. Elevated blood lead levels can trigger serious health

conditions, ranging from muscle weakness, gastro-intestinal symptoms, anemia, kidney

inflammation, convulsions and brain damage. Lead exposure during childhood can have

adverse health effects well into adulthood. For i


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