REDUCING CHILDHOOD LEAD EXPOSURE STUDY - RECLES (pronounced reckless)
This is a multidisciplinary study of childhood lead exposure in South Western Nigeria. Our group is conducting translational research in childhood lead exposure using both qualitative and quantitative methods. We started with Focus Group Discussion - http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/6/82 and Questionnare Survey of members of the population in Ibadan, Nigeria http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=16962644&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum. These studies showed that there was a general lack of knowledge in our population about the health hazards associated with exposure to lead in general and in the domestic environment in particular.
We have followed these studies up with examination of lead levels in paint sold on Nigerian markets and we found that of the 25 paints whose lead levels were measured, only 1 (one) had lead level below the international recommended level (Indoor and Built Environment - in press). While others had lead levels up to 5 (five) times or more higher than recommended. These studies suggest that exposure to lead in the domestic environment is a major environmental hazard in Nigeria
We have now completed a survey of lead levels in paint chips, potable water, dust and soil in the domestic environment of randomly selected homes in Ibadan that were last renovated at different times in the last 4 decades.
The analysis of lead content in paints sold in Nigerian markets has just been published and we found that about 96% of these paints have higher than recommended levels of lead http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17674190&ordinalpos=4&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum . In addition, we found that the main determinant of the lead level was the color of paint as all manufacturers surveyed were producing paint with high lead contents. The main reason why they do this is because of lack of regulation since at least one of the manufacturers with facilities in Nigeria, China and Singapore manufactures low lead level paint in the Singapore where there is good regulation but not in Nigeria or China.
In addition, in order to ascertain baseline lead level in our environment, we have recruited over 500 neonates and sampled their cord blood and the domestic environment where the mothers lived during the pregnancy for dust. soil. paint and water. We are excited about this research and our findings. Future plans for this research include the analysis of the genotype of a random sample of Nigerians for genetic biomarkers of neurobehavioral toxicity of lead exposure in our population. We are very excited about the potentials of this research program!