Environmental and socioeconomic factors induced blood lead in children: an investigation from Kashmir, India

  • Asmat Rashid
  • Rouf Ahmad BhatEmail author
  • Humaira Qadri
  • Mohammad Aneesul Mehmood
  • Shafiq-ur-Rehman


Blood lead toxicity has been prominently related to vehicular emissions. The lead is a carcinogenic metal systematically damages bones and central nervous system. The present investigation is focused on likely impacts of environmental and socioeconomic factors on the concentration of blood lead levels in children. The findings of the study show that the highest blood lead levels were observed in the age group of 4–8 years (5.46 μg/dl) with mother’s education having an inverse proportionality with the blood lead levels of children. Furthermore, children belonging to families with income (> 100,000) exhibited the highest blood lead levels (5.52 μg/dl) than the rest of the categories which was further advocated by lower blood lead levels in children residing in better residential conditions. High proximity of school to highway distance seemed to play a vital role in the concentration of lead in children while the traffic flow density was observed to have proportionality effect on the blood lead levels. From the study, it is concluded that 28% of the children in the sample population were having lead levels above the permissible limits as per Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. The study reflects the alarming toxicity of lead in children residing in a non-industrial region which further gives rise to concerns about the health of the children residing in industrialized regions of the world with high lead levels in the environment.


Blood lead levels Environmental factors Socioeconomic School proximity Traffic density Lead exposure 



  1. Acosta, J. A., Gabarrón, M., Faz, A., Martínez-Martínez, S., Zornoza, R., & Arocena, J. M. (2015). Influence of population density on the concentration and speciation of metals in the soil and street dust from urban areas. Chemosphere, 134, 328–337.Google Scholar
  2. Adler, R. A., Claassen, M., Godfrey, L., & Turton, A. R. (2007). Water, mining and waste: an historical and economic perspective on conflict management in South Africa. Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 2, 32–41.Google Scholar
  3. Ahamed, M., Verma, S., Kumar, A., & Siddiqui, M. K. J. (2010). Blood lead levels in children of Lucknow, India. Environmental Toxicology, 25, 48–54.Google Scholar
  4. Ahmad, M., Verma, S., Kumar, A., & Siddiqui, M. K. J. (2009). Blood lead levels in children of Lucknow. Indian Environmental Toxicology, 12, 48–54.Google Scholar
  5. Ahmad, E., Zaidi, A., Khan, M. S., & Oves, M. (2012). Heavy metal toxicity to symbiotic nitrogen-fixing microorganism and host legumes. Toxicity of heavy metals to legumes and bioremediation, 29–44.Google Scholar
  6. ATSDR. (2000). Lead toxicity (pp. 22–26). Atlanta: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Scholar
  7. Azizi, S., Kamika, I., & Tekere, M. (2016). Evaluation of heavy metal removal from wastewater in a modified packed bed biofilm reactor. PLoS One, 11(5), e0155462. Scholar
  8. Bergdahl, I. A., Schutz, A., Gerhardsson, L., Jensen, A., & Skerfving, S. (1997). Lead concentrations in human plasma, urine and whole blood. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 23, 359–363.Google Scholar
  9. Blais, J., Djedidi, Z., Cheikh, R. B., Tyagi, R., & Mercier, G. (2008). Metals precipitation from effluents: review. Practice Periodical of Hazardous, Toxic, Waste Management, 12, 135–149.Google Scholar
  10. Bressler, J. P., & Goldstein, G. W. (1991). Mechanisms of lead neurotoxicity. Biochemical Pharmacology, 41(4), 479–484.Google Scholar
  11. Brochin, R., Leone, S., Phillips, D., Shepard, N., Zisa, D., & Angerio, A. (2008). The cellular effect of lead poisoning and its clinical picture. The Georgetown Undergraduate Journal of Health Sciences, 5(2), 1–8.Google Scholar
  12. Buckett, N. R., Jones, M. S., & Marston, N. J. (2012). Branz housing condition survey- condition comparison by tenure (pp. 1–37). New Zealand: Study Report BRANZ.Google Scholar
  13. CDC. (2000). Blood lead levels in young children-United States and selected states, 1996-1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 49, 1133–1137.Google Scholar
  14. Chakraborty, S., Ray, M., & Ray, S. (2010). Toxicity of sodium arsenite in the gill of an economically important mollusc of India. Fish and Shellfsh Immunology, 29(1), 136–148.Google Scholar
  15. Cookman, G. R., King, W., & Regan, C. M. (1987). Chronic low-level lead exposure impairs embryonic to adult conversion of the neural cell adhesion molecule. Journal of Neurochemistry, 49(2), 399–403.Google Scholar
  16. Dart, R. C., Hurlbut, K. M., & Boyer-Hassen, L. V. (2004). Medical toxicology. In T. C. Dart, L. Williams, & Wilkins (Eds.), Lead (pp. 1423–1431). Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  17. Eisler, R. (1986). Zinc hazards to fish, wildlife and invertebrates: a synoptic review. US Fish Wildlife Service Reproductive Biology, 85, 1–6.Google Scholar
  18. Fashola, M., Ngole-Jeme, V., & Babalola, O. (2016). Heavy metal pollution from gold mines: Environmental effects and bacterial strategies for resistance. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13, 1047. Scholar
  19. Flurin, V., Mauras, Y., Le Bouil, A., Krari, N., Kerjan, A., & Allain, P. (1998). Lead blood levels in children under 6 years of age in the Le Mans region. The Medical Press, 27, 57–59.Google Scholar
  20. Francis, E. G., & Pierre, E. B. (2005). Tracing dust sources and transport patterns using Sr, Nd and Pb isotopes. Chemical Geology, 222, 149–167.Google Scholar
  21. Gautam, R. K., Mudhoo, A., Lofrano, G., & Chattopadhyaya, M. C. (2014). Biomass-derived biosorbents for metal ions sequestration: adsorbent modification and activation methods and adsorbent regeneration. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 2(1), 239–259.Google Scholar
  22. Gerhardsson, L., Dahlin, L., Knebel, R., & Schütz, A. (2002). Blood Lead Concentration after a Shotgun Accident. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110, 115–117.Google Scholar
  23. Goyer, R. A. (1996). Results of lead research: prenatal exposure and neurological consequences. Environmental Health Perspectives, 104(10), 1050–1054.Google Scholar
  24. Gupta, V. K., Nayak, A., & Agarwal, S. (2015). Bioadsorbents for remediation of heavy metals: current status and their future prospects. Environmental Engineering Research., 20(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  25. Jacob, B., Ritz, B., Heinrich, J., Hoelscher, B., & Wichman, H. E. (2000). The effect of low-level blood lead on haematological parameters in children. Environmental Research, 82, 150–159.Google Scholar
  26. Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalagan, N., Mathew, B. B., & Beeregowda, K. N. (2014). Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 7, 60–72.Google Scholar
  27. Jasinska, E. J., Goss, G. G., Gillis, P. L., van der Kraak, G. J., Matsumoto, J., de Souza Machado, A. A., Giacomin, M., Moon, T. W., Massarsky, A., Gagné, F., Servos, M. R., Wilson, J., Sultana, T., & Metcalfe, C. D. (2015). Assessment of biomarkers for contaminants of emerging concern on aquatic organisms downstream of a municipal wastewater discharge. Science of the Total Environment, 530-531, 140–153.Google Scholar
  28. Jusko, T. A. (2007). Blood lead concentrations < 10μg/dl and child intelligence at 6 years of age. Environmental Health Perspectives, 16(2), 243–248.Google Scholar
  29. Khan, S., Cao, Q., Zheng, Y. M., Huang, Y. Z., & Zhu, Y. G. (2008). Health risks of heavy metals in contaminated soils and food crops irrigated with wastewater in Beijing, China. Environmental Pollution, 152, 686–692.Google Scholar
  30. Khan, F. I., Khisroon, M., Khan, A., Gulfam, N., Siraj, M., Zaidi, F., Ahmadullah, Abidullah, Fatima, S. H., Noreen, S., Hamidullah, Shah, Z. A., & Qadir, F. (2018). Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in water, sediments, and tissues and their histopathological effects on Anodonta cygnea (Linea, 1876) in Kabul River, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. BioMed Research International, 2018, 1–10. Scholar
  31. Kolarevic, S., Kracun-Kolarevic, M., Kostic, J., et al. (2016). Assessment of the genotoxic potential along the Danube River by application of the comet assay on haemocytes of freshwater mussels: the joint Danube Survey 3. Science of the Total Environment, 540, 377–385.Google Scholar
  32. Koren, G., Chang, N., Gonen, R., Klein, J., Weiner, L., Demshar, H., Pizzolato, S., Radde, I., & Shime, J. (1990). Lead exposure among mothers and their newborns in Toronto. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 142(11), 1241–1244.Google Scholar
  33. Kosolapov, A. B., Tsybul'ko, E. I., Makarova, E. V., & Cherevach, E. I. (2004). Use of the syrup prepared on the basis of wild-growing grasses of the Far East, in preventive maintenance of respiratory diseases and microelementoza at children. Voprosy Pitaniia, 73, 21–24.Google Scholar
  34. Kunhalman. (1999). Further extentions and revision of Binet- Simon scale. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 8, 68–90.Google Scholar
  35. Landrigan, P. J., Schechter, C. B., Lipton, J. M., Fahs, M. C., & Schwartz, J. (2002). Environmental pollutants and disease in American children: estimates of morbidity, mortality and costs for lead poisoning, asthma, cancer, and developmental disabilities. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110, 721–728.Google Scholar
  36. Langford, N. J., & Ferner, R. E. (2000). Episodes of environmental poisoning worldwide. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59, 855–860.Google Scholar
  37. Lanphaer, B. P., Hornung, R., & Khoury, J. (2005). Low-level environmental lead exposure and children’s intellectual function: an international pooled analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(7), 894–899.Google Scholar
  38. Manahan, S. E. (2003). Toxicological chemistry and biochemistry (3rd ed.). CRC Press, Limited Liability Company (LLC).Google Scholar
  39. Markowitz. (2000). Mean-Variance Analysis in Portfolio Choice and Capital Markets. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Martin, S., & Griswold, W. (2009). Human health effect of heavy metal. Center for Hazardous Substance Research, 15, 25–69.Google Scholar
  41. Martley, E., Gulson, B. L., & Pfeiffer, H. R. (2004). Metal concentrations in soils around the copper smelter and surrounding industrial complex of Port Kembla, NSW, Australia. The Science of the Total Environment, 325, 113–127.Google Scholar
  42. Mason, L. A., Harp, J. P., & Han, D. Y. (2014). Pb neurotoxicity: neuropsychological effects of lead toxicity. BioMed Research International.
  43. McBride, W. G., Black, B. P., & Brian, J. E. (1982). Blood lead levels and behavior of 400 pre-school children. The Medical Journal of Australia, 1, 26–29.Google Scholar
  44. Memon, A. R., Tasneem, G. K., Hassan, I. A., & Nasreen, S. (2007). Evaluation of zinc status in whole blood and scalp hair of female cancer patients. International Journal of Clinical Chemistry and Diagnostic Laboratory Medicine, 10, 54–64.Google Scholar
  45. Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674–697.Google Scholar
  46. Morais, S., Costa, F. G., & Pereira, M. L. (2012). Heavy metals and human health. In J. Osthuizen (Ed.), Environmental health – emerging issues and practice (pp. 227–246).Google Scholar
  47. Mupa, M. (2013). Lead content of lichens in metropolitan Harare, Zimbabwe: air quality and health risk implications. Greener Journal of Environmental Management and Public Safety, 2, 75–82.Google Scholar
  48. Nagajyoti, P., Lee, K., & Sreekanth, T. (2010). Heavy metals, occurrence and toxicity for plants: a review. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 8, 199–216.Google Scholar
  49. Nicolescu, R., Petcu, C., Cordeanu, A., Fabritius, K., Schlumpf, M., Krebs, R., & Krämer, U., Winneke, G. (2008) Environmental exposure to lead, but not mercury, aluminum or arsenic, is related to core aspects of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Romanian children: performance measures and questionnaire data. Environmental Health Perspectives (submitted).Google Scholar
  50. Nielsen, J. B., Grandjean, P., & Jorgensen, P. J. (1998). Predictors of blood lead concentrations in the lead-free gasoline era. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 24, 153–156.Google Scholar
  51. Nriagu, J. O., & Pacnya, J. M. (1988). Quantitative assessment of worldwide contamination of air, water and soils by trace metals. Nature, 333, 134–139.Google Scholar
  52. Oves, M., Khan, M. S., & Zaidi, A. (2013). Chromium reducing and plant growth promoting novel strain Pseudomonas aeruginosa OSG41 enhance chickpea growth in chromium amended soils. European Journal of Soil Biology, 56, 72–83.Google Scholar
  53. Oves, M., Saghir, K. M., Huda, Q. A., Nadeen, F. M., & Almeelbi, T. (2016). Heavy metals: biological importance and detoxification strategies. Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation, 7, 334. Scholar
  54. Pandey, S., Parvez, S., Sayeed, I., Haque, R., Bin-Hafeez, B., & Raisuddin, S. (2003). Biomarkers of oxidative stress: a comparative study of river Yamuna fish Wallago attu (Bl. & Schn.). Science of the Total Environment, 309(1–3), 105–115.Google Scholar
  55. Papanikolaou, G., & Pantopoulos, K. (2005). Iron metabolism and toxicity. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 202, 199–211.Google Scholar
  56. Pirkle, J. L., Brody, D. J., & Flegal, K. M. (1994). The decline in blood lead levels in the U.S.: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Journal of American Medical Association, 272, 284–291.Google Scholar
  57. Pokras, M. A., & Kneeland, M. R. (2008). Lead poisoning: using transdisciplinary approaches to solve an ancient problem. Ecohealth, 5(3), 379–385.Google Scholar
  58. Putra, W. P., Kamari, A., Yusoff, S. N. M., Ishak, C. F., Mohamed, A., Hashim, N., et al. (2014). Biosorption of Cu (II), Pb (II) and Zn (II) ions from aqueous solutions using selected waste materials: Adsorption and characterisation studies. Journal of Encapsulation and Adsorption Sciences, 4, 25–35.Google Scholar
  59. Qiu, Y., Guan, D. S., Song, W. W., & Huang, K. Y. (2009). Capture of heavy metals and sulfur by foliar dust in urban Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China. Chemosphere, 75, 447–452.Google Scholar
  60. Quinton, J. N., & Catt, J. A. (2007). Enrichment of heavy metals in sediment resulting from soil erosion on agricultural fields. Environmental Science & Technology, 41(10), 3495–3500.Google Scholar
  61. Rasmussen, L. D., Sørensen, S. J., Turner, R. R., & Barkay, T. (2000). Application of a merlux biosensor for estimating bioavailable mercury in soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 32, 639–646.Google Scholar
  62. Reddy, M. V., Satpathy, D., & Dhiviya, K. S. (2013). Assessment of heavy metals (Cd and Pb) and micronutrients (Cu, Mn, and Zn) of paddy (Oryza sativa L.) field surface soil and water in a predominantly paddy-cultivated area at Puducherry (Pondicherry, India), and effects of the agricultural runoff on the elemental concentrations of a receiving rivulet. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 8, 6693–6704.Google Scholar
  63. Riva, M. A., Lafranconi, A., D’Orso, M. I., & Cesana, G. (2012). Lead poisoning: historical aspects of a paradigmatic occupational and environmental disease. Safety and Health at Work, 3, 11–16.Google Scholar
  64. Ryan, J. A., Scheckel, K. G., Berti, W. R., Brown, S. L., Casteel, S. W., Chaney, R. L., Hallfrisch, J., Doolan, M., Grevatt, P., Maddaloni, M., & Mosby, D. (2004). A field experiment in Joplin, Mo., demonstrates alternatives to traditional cleanups. Environmental Science & Technology, 38(1), 18A–24A.Google Scholar
  65. Salonen, V., & Korkka, N. K. (2007). Influence of parent sediments on the concentration of heavy metals in urban and suburban soils in Turku, Finland. Applied Geochemistry, 22, 906–918.Google Scholar
  66. Shafiq-ur-Rehman. (1999). Circadian rhythm of stereotypes complex behaviours in rats in lead exposure. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 23, 149–159.Google Scholar
  67. Shafiq-ur-Rehman, Khushnood-ur-Rehman, Kabir-ud-Din, & Chandra, O. (1986). Differential effects of chronic lead intoxication on circadian rhythm of ambulatory activity on regional brain norepinephrine levels in rats. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 36, 81–91.Google Scholar
  68. Shi, G. T., Chen, Z. L., Xu, S. Y., Zhang, J., Wang, L., Bi, C. J., et al. (2008). Potentially toxic metal contamination of urban soils and roadside dust in Shanghai, China. Environmental Pollution, 156, 251–260.Google Scholar
  69. Silbergeld, E. K. (1992). Mechanisms of lead neurotoxicity, or looking beyond the lamppost. FASEB Journal, 6(13), 3201–3206.Google Scholar
  70. Singh, Y. P., & Narwal, R. S. (1974). Audience analysis for using written words community development and Panchayati Raj. Hyderabad Digest, 6(1), 22–28.Google Scholar
  71. Singh, D. V., Bhat, J. I. A., Bhat, R. A., Dervash, M. A., & Ganei, S. A. (2018). Vehicular stress a cause for heavy metal accumulation and change in physico-chemical characteristics of road side soils in Pahalgam. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 190, 353. Scholar
  72. Srinivasa, G. S., Ramakrishna, R. M., & Govil, P. K. (2010). Assessment of heavy metal contamination in soils at Jajmau (Kanpur) and Unnao industrial areas of the Ganga Plain, Uttar Pradesh, India. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 174, 113–121.Google Scholar
  73. Stoyanova, Z., Zozikova, E., Poschenrieder, C., Barcelo, J., & Doncheva, S. (2008). The effect of silicon on the symptoms of manganese toxicity in maize plants. Acta Biologica Hungarica, 59, 479–487.Google Scholar
  74. Sun, Y. B., Zhou, Q. X., Xie, X. K., & Liu, R. (2009). Spatial, sources and risk assessment of heavy metal contamination of urban soils in typical regions of Shenyang, China. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 174, 455–462.Google Scholar
  75. Tabari, S., Saravi, S. S. S., Bandany, G. A., Dehghan, A., & Shokrzadeh, M. (2010). Heavy metals (Zn, Pb, Cd and Cr) in fish, water and sediments sampled form Southern Caspian Sea, Iran. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 26(10), 649–656.Google Scholar
  76. Tang, W. W., Zeng, G. M., Gong, J. L., Liang, J., Xu, P., Zhang, C., et al. (2014). Impact of humic/fulvic acid on the removal of heavy metals from aqueous solutions using nanomaterials: a review. The Science of the Total Environment, 468, 1014–1027.Google Scholar
  77. Taylor, M. P., Winder, C., & Lanphear, B. P. (2012). Eliminating childhood lead toxicity in Australia: a call to lower the intervention level. The Medical Journal of Australia, 197(9), 493.Google Scholar
  78. Teo, J., Goh, K., Ahuja, A., Ng, H., & Poon, W. (1997). Intracranial vascular calcifications, glioblastoma multiforme, and lead poisoning. AJNR American Journal of Neuroradiology, 18, 576–579.Google Scholar
  79. Tekana, & Oladele. (2011). Impact analysis of Taung irrigation scheme on house-hold welfare among farmers. Journal of Human Ecology, 36(1), 67–71.Google Scholar
  80. Tepferberg, M., & Almog, S. (1999). Prenatal lead exposure in Israel: an international comparison. Israel Medical Association Journal, 1, 250–253.Google Scholar
  81. Tong, S., Von-Schirnding, Y. E., & Prapamontol, T. (2000). Environmental lead exposure: a public health problem of global dimensions. Bulletin of World Health Organization, 78, 1068–1077.Google Scholar
  82. Vasilios, D., Theodor, S., Konstantinos, S., Evangelos, P. E., Fotini, K., & Dimitrios, L. (1997). Lead concentrations in maternal and umbilical cord blood in areas with high and low air pollution. Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics and Gynecology, 24, 187–189.Google Scholar
  83. Velea, T., Gherghe, L., Predica, V., & Krebs, R. (2009). Heavy metal contamination in the vicinity of an industrial area near Bucharest. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 16(1), S27–S32.Google Scholar
  84. Venkatesh, T. (2009). Global perspective of lead poisoning. Al-ameen Journal of Medical Science, 2(2), 1–4.Google Scholar
  85. Waldron, H. A. (1973). Lead poisoning in the ancient world. Medical History, 17, 391–399.Google Scholar
  86. World Health Organization (WHO). (2003). A report on Lead: assessing the environmental burden of disease at national and local levels (pp. 254–261). Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  87. Zaidi, A., Oves, M., Ahmad, E., & Khan, M.S. (2012). Importance of free-living fungi in heavy metal remediation. In: Biomanagement of Metal-Contaminated Soils. Environmental Pollution, 479–494.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asmat Rashid
    • 1
  • Rouf Ahmad Bhat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Humaira Qadri
    • 2
  • Mohammad Aneesul Mehmood
    • 2
  • Shafiq-ur-Rehman
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Environmental SciencesSher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and TechnologyShalimarIndia
  2. 2.Department of Environment and Water Management Sri Pratap College CampusCluster University SrinagarSrinagarIndia

Personalised recommendations