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Prevalence and Factors Associated with High Levels of Aluminum, Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury

Toxic element exposure increases risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.


We identified prevalence and the contributing factors of high hair aluminum (Al), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and mercury (Hg) levels in 111 Thai children (aged 3–7 years old).

Most participants were well-nourished with high socioeconomic status. Compared to the current reference at 5 μg/dL, blood lead cutoff at 2.15 μg/dL provided more consistent results with that of hair lead levels.

High As and Pb levels were the first and second most prevalent element, while Al was the element found in highest amount in hair. High hair Al (12% prevalence) levels were associated with being male regardless of age or nutritional status. High hair As levels were associated with living in Bangkok (OR = 6.57) regardless of school type. High hair Pb levels were associated with being under 5 years old and living in Bangkok (OR = 3.06).


These findings suggested that under 5-year-old boys living in capital city like Bangkok may be at risk of exposure to multiple toxic elements. Future studies in these children are warranted to identify their exposure sources and proper risk management strategies.


Tippairote T, Temviriyanukul P, Benjapong W, Trachootham D: Prevalence and Factors Associated with High Levels of Aluminum, Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Hair Samples of Well-Nourished Thai Children in Bangkok and Perimeters. Biological trace element research 2018.



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