Lead poisoning among internally displaced Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian children in the United Nations-Administered Province of Kosovo

Eur J Public Health. 2010 Jun;20(3):288-92. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckp164. Epub 2009 Nov 6.


Background: This study assessed the association between lead poisoning prevention activities and blood lead levels (BLLs) among children living in lead-contaminated camps for internally displaced persons in the United Nations-Administered Province of Kosovo.

Methods: We conducted a population-based study to examine the relationship among geometric mean BLLs in children (i) born before any lead poisoning prevention activities were instituted, (ii) born when specific interim interventions were instituted and (iii) born after relocation and medical therapy were available. The study population consisted of 145 of the 186 children born in the camps between December 1999 and July 2007.

Results: Lower mean BLLs were found in children born following implementation of the interventions as compared with the children born before the interventions. However, this decrease in mean BLLs was attenuated in children born into families suspected of informal lead smelting.

Conclusion: Despite lower BLLs following interventions, children living in these camps have BLLs that remain unacceptably high. Further efforts are urgently needed to control or eliminate lead exposure in this population. Continued blood lead monitoring of the population is also warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Egypt / ethnology
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead Poisoning / ethnology*
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Metallurgy / methods
  • Population Surveillance
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Slovakia / ethnology
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Yugoslavia / epidemiology


  • Lead