Exposure assessment of lead to workers and children in the battery recycling craft village, Dong Mai, Vietnam

  • Takako Noguchi
  • Takaaki ItaiEmail author
  • Nguyen Minh Tue
  • Tetsuro Agusa
  • Nguyen Ngoc Ha
  • Sawako Horai
  • Pham Thi Kim Trang
  • Pham Hung Viet
  • Shin Takahashi
  • Shinsuke Tanabe


Human exposure to lead (Pb) due to uncontrolled Pb-acid battery recycling has been an environmental health issue in newly developed industrial regions. We conducted a human monitoring survey in Dong Mai, a battery recycling village in Vietnam, to assess exposure status to Pb. Lead level was measured in hair, blood and urine samples of residents in Dong Mai and two reference sites during 4 years spanning 2007–2011. In Dong Mai, Pb levels in three matrixes were significantly higher than those in reference sites. Blood Pb levels of all adults and children exceeded 10 μg/dL, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition of an elevated blood Pb level. Clear increase of urinary δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) level with increasing blood Pb level indicated disruption of heme synthesis. One adult exceeded 100 μg/dL of blood Pb, where encephalopathy is of concern. The blood Pb levels achieved various toxic effect threshold values, and elevated blood Pb was not limited to recycling workers, but was also in children and women of reproductive age. Serious pollution status of Dong Mai village suggests an importance of further monitoring surveys in various developing Asian countries.


Pb battery Recycling Vietnam Risk assessment Lead 



This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (No. 25257403), “Global COE Program” and “Project for the Encouragement of Science/Math-Oriented University Students” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT) and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Waste Management Research Grant (K123001) from the Ministry of Environment, Japan. We also acknowledge the approval of the Photon Factory Program Advisory Committee (Proposal No. 2009G632). The success of this investigation was thanks to the support and collaboration of donors and member of the health authorities in Dong Mai and Duong Quang village.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takako Noguchi
    • 1
  • Takaaki Itai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nguyen Minh Tue
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tetsuro Agusa
    • 1
  • Nguyen Ngoc Ha
    • 1
  • Sawako Horai
    • 3
  • Pham Thi Kim Trang
    • 2
  • Pham Hung Viet
    • 2
  • Shin Takahashi
    • 1
  • Shinsuke Tanabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES)Ehime UniversityMatsuyamaJapan
  2. 2.Centre for Environmental Technology and Sustainable Development (CETASD), Hanoi University of ScienceVietnam National UniversityHanoiVietnam
  3. 3.Recycling-oriented Environmental Science, Department of Regional Environment, Faculty of Regional SciencesTottori UniversityTottoriJapan

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