HealthPas de Calais: eight cases of lead poisoning in children linked to...

Pas de Calais: eight cases of lead poisoning in children linked to site contamination Metaleurop


The final numbers are already on the table. Launched last summer in Pas-de-Calais in response to concerns from residents of a former Metaleurop foundry, a test found eight cases of lead poisoning and 75 cases of high-lead impregnation in children, the Regional Health Agency told AFP on Friday. (ARS) Hauts-de-France. Which “lead disease”which affects the nervous system, bone marrow, and kidneys, is especially serious for the smallest, who are more likely to ingest particles and put contaminated objects in their mouths.

This is the final evaluation of this screening, which began in June 2022 and extended until November for those under 18 from Even-Malmaison, Courcelles-les-Lances, Noyelles-Godot, Leforest and Durges. A total of 1,878 children were examined, or 25% of the campaign’s target population, ARS specifies.

Lead poisoning threshold exceeded eight times

Among them, eight “represented the level of lead in the blood (the level of lead in the blood, ed.) more than 50 μg / l of blood, the threshold for determining lead poisoningbut two “now the level is below 50 mcg/l of blood”points to ARS. “For every child that exceeds the 50 µg/L blood threshold, an environmental investigation is conducted to identify sources of lead exposure and guidance is provided to families.”AFP explained.

The vigilance threshold of 25 µg/l was also exceeded in 75 children, which is not indicative of lead poisoning but justifies monitoring of blood lead levels. Finally, six of them presented “Levels below 25 µg/L blood”following the blood lead levels carried out.

When the Metaleurop plant closed in 2003, which had been emitting tons of heavy metals into the air for decades, including lead and cadmium, the area was considered the most polluted in France. Five municipalities, comprising a total of 24,000 people, are affected by land use restrictions. Local concerns were rekindled by the April 2022 presentation of a survey by the Vert de rage program on France 5, according to which 5,815 children may have received lead poisoning between 1962 and 2020, including a hundred since then. 20 years.

At the time, the prefecture replied that only one case had been reported in the area in 10 years, but decided to launch a screening campaign. Previously, up to 2012, eight collective screening campaigns were carried out, indicating, according to the prefecture, “clear reduction in impregnation”.

Irreversible intellectual and physical disorders

Lead absorption over a long period, even at low doses, can cause irreversible delay in young children: speech disorders, behavioral disorders, learning disorders, psychomotor development, growth and hearing acuity, Amelie’s website lists. According to the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), “A blood lead level of 12 µg/L is associated with a loss of one IQ point, and many epidemiological studies have shown an association between blood lead concentrations and academic achievement at school age.”.

Nationwide, blood lead levels in the general population have been declining since the 1990s, according to Inserm, and have now dropped to 2% for all children.


ML (with AFP)


Source: TF1

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