Objectives: High lead levels in children can have a deleterious effect on intellectual development. We assessed blood lead levels in children in the Le Mans region.
Methods: Children aged between 6 months and 6 years were included in the study. Inclusion criteria were health status requiring a blood sample and amount of blood available after ordered tests sufficient for lead blood analysis. The study group included 365 children.
Results: Mean blood level in the 365 children was 37.2 +/- 20.6 micrograms/l. Six of the children had blood levels greater than 100 mu/l. None of the children had a level over 200 micrograms/l. Location of the home or date of construction of the home were not significantly correlated to blood lead levels, however blood lead levels were higher in children with neurological or behavioral disorders. This observation was made in a limited number of children.
Conclusion: The risk of excessively high blood lead levels in children under 6 years of age is low in the Le Mans region. There is however a risk when old houses are renovated or in children with neurological or behavior disorders.