Determination of urinary lead in school children in Manzini, Swaziland, Southern Africa

Research paper by Jonathan O. Okonkwo, Salia M. Lwenje, Victor S. B. Mtetwa, Patience N. Gumedze, Mbuso M. Shilongonyane

Indexed on: 01 Sep '01Published on: 01 Sep '01Published in: The Environmentalist


Two hundred and fifty-seven urine samples collected from school children living in the Manzini region, Swaziland, were analysed for lead (Pb), using a graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometer. The mean urine lead concentration for the urban schools ranged from 0.038–0.040 μg⋅ml−1, while that for the rural schools ranged from 0.017–0.022 μg⋅ml−1. The observed range shown by the urban schools was above the normal (for healthy humans) urine lead concentration of 0.035 μg⋅ml−1. However, the mean urine lead concentration for the rural schools was found to be lower than this value. The mean urine lead concentration for the urban schools was significantly higher than that of the rural schools. The differences in the mean urine lead concentrations for boys and girls from both urban and rural schools were found not to be significant, despite the higher values shown by the girls. The difference in lead concentrations between urban and rural schools in Manzini was thought to be due to the traffic density within the urban area.