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Global health
SP4-26 Burden of toxic metal exposure among school-aged children in United Arab Emirates
  1. S Yousef1,
  2. A Adem1,
  3. V Eapen2,
  4. T Zoubeidi1,
  5. M Kosanovic1,
  6. A A Mabrouk1
  1. 1UAE University, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  2. 2University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia


Background Environmental toxic metal exposure may adversely affect children's development and behaviour. Data are lacking about heavy metal exposure in children in UAE and Gulf countries.

Objectives To determine blood concentrations of 12 heavy metals in school-age children in Al Ain City, UAE.

Methods It was a cross sectional study. One hundred and forty seven subjects were selected from nine elementary schools. The mean age was 8.4 years (SD ±2 years). ICP-MS instrument was used to determine the metal concentration. Data analysis was performed using the SPSS.

Results The (mean±SD) blood level for study children (n=146) of lead was 25.86±13.06 ppb, cadmium 0.31±0.25 ppb, arsenic 10.74±4.71 ppb, mercury 1.39±1.16 ppb, manganese 1.85±1.09 ppb, nickel 9.18±8.23 ppb, zinc 3731±1752 ppb, chromium 2.10±1.53 ppb, cobalt 0.65±0.40 ppb, copper 1064±403 ppb, molybdenum 1.59±1.25 ppb, and antinomy 0.60±0.63 ppb.

Conclusions Reference values for the trace metals vary markedly; especially due to sampling, age, diet, exposure differences and analytical techniques used. In this study, the mean blood lead was below the CDC's recommended level of concern (>10 μg/dl) and with cadmium, mercury and chromium were comparable with similar studies elsewhere; manganese and zinc were slightly lower; copper and molybdenum were slightly higher while arsenic and cobalt much higher. Blood screening and surveillance linked to appropriate public health interventions is strongly recommended for UAE.

  • Children
  • heavy metals
  • reference values for heavy metals
  • UAE

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