Not any more

Blood lead levels decline in Canadians: StatsCan

In Canada on August 16, 2010 at 12:03

OTTAWA — Blood lead concentrations in the Canadian population have significantly decreased since they were last measured 30 years ago, according to results released Monday by Statistics Canada.

Data collected by the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) from 2007 to 2009 showed lead was detected in 100% of Canadians, but studies showed lead concentration measured was only a third of what was found in 1978.

Blood lead concentrations were higher in adults than in children and adults between 60 and 79 years old had the highest concentrations.

In 1978, about 27% of Canadians between six and 79 years old had lead concentrations at or above intervention levels where a doctor may need to be involved, compared to less than one per cent from 2007 to 2009. The intervention level is 10 micrograms per decilitre of blood, and the average recorded in the latest report was 1.34 micrograms per decilitre.

High lead levels can increase the risk of nervous system and kidney damage.

Meanwhile, more than 90% of Canadians aged six to 79 years old had detectable concentrations of bisphenol A (BPA) in their urine and nearly 90% had detectable concentrations of mercury in their blood.

BPA, which was measured for the first time at a national level in Canada, is an industrial chemical used to produce polycarbonate plastic for food containers and water bottles. Some studies on animals suggested that low levels of exposure to BPA early in life can affect neural development and behaviour.

Blood mercury was detected in 88% of Canadians, with an average concentration of 0.69 micrograms per litre. The general population is exposed to the chemical through consuming fish and seafood.

A higher concentration of lead in the blood is associated with lower household income, being born outside Canada, living in a dwelling that was at least 50 years old, current or former smoking and drinking alcohol at least once a week, the StatsCan report suggests.

It is the third release of data from the CHMS and includes information on more than 80 environmental contaminants and chemical substances that were measured in 5,600 Canadians in 15 different sites from 2007 to 2009.

Postmedia News

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