Objective Guiyu is the major electronic-waste (e-waste) recycling town in China. This study was to measure the effect of e-waste exposure on the synthesis of haemoglobin (Hb) in preschool children.
Methods 222 children lived at Guiyu town and 204 children lived in a no e-waste polluted town were chosen to test their blood lead, Hb, ferritin, folate, vitamin B12 levels and hemoglobinopathy, then fill the self-questionnaires by their parents.
Results There were no significant differences in the levels of ferritin, folate, vitamin B12 between exposure and control groups, and all children had been excluded thalassemia. The blood lead levels (BLLs) and rate of BLLs ≥ 10 ug/dL in exposure group were signifcantly higher than that in control group (all p < 0.01). Three groups were divided according to BLLs (Group A: <5.0 ug/dL, Group B: 5.0–9.9 ug/dL, Group C: ≥10.0 ug/dL). It can be seen that the levels of Hb were decreased along with elevated BLLs significantly in exposure group (F = 3.52, p = 0.03), however, not shown in control group (F = 1.98, p = 0.14). Furthermore, the prevalence rate of anaemia along with BLLs ≥10 ug/dL in exposure group was significant higher than that in control group (4.0% vs. 0.5%, p < 0.05), and the prevalence rate of anaemia without BLLs ≥10 ug/dL and iron deficiency in exposure group was significant higher than that in control group (6.5% vs. 2.0%, p < 0.05).
Conclusion Different from the general environment, the lead exposure in e-waste area might aggravate the inhibition of synthesis of Hb, and other potential e-waste toxicants might also have a responsibility for it.