1 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Birjand Atherosclerosis and Coronary Artery Research Center, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, South Khorasan Province, Iran.
2 Resident of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine. Birjand University of Medical Sciences (BUMS), Birjand, South Khorasan Province, Iran.
3 Cardiovascular Diseases Reaserch Center, Department of Community Medicine, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran.
4 Medical Toxicology and Drug Abuse Research Center (MTDRC), Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Ghaffari Avenue, Vali-Asr hospital, Birjand, Iran.
5 Medical Toxicology and Drug Abuse Research Center (MTDRC), Birjand University of Medical Sciences (BUMS), Birjand, Iran.
Lead-contaminated opium is a new source of lead in the region that children can be exposed to. The acceptable blood lead concentration (BLC) in children is 5 μg/dl, and this population is more susceptible to lead's toxic effects. We aimed to evaluate and compare BLC in opium-addicted and healthy children in Birjand, Iran.
Materials and Methods: This case-control study was performed among children admitted to the pediatrics wards of two hospitals in Birjand, Iran. Thirty opium-addicted children were considered as the case group, and 30 age and gender-matched non-addicted children admitted to the hospital for other reasons were assigned to the control group. Two milliliters of venous blood was obtained from children, placed in specific complete blood count (CBC) vials, and stored at 2-8 ° C for subsequent analysis. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 22.0.
Results: The means of BLC were 3.63±4.38 μg/dl (median: 1.75 μg/dl), and 2.09±1.21 μg/dl (median: 1.80 μg/dl) in the case and control groups, respectively. The results showed that BLC was not significantly different between the two groups (p=0.84). In the case group, 26.7% of them BLC was above 5 μg/dl, while in the control group, 2 (6.7%) children had BLC above 5 μg/dl. The Fisher’s exact test revealed that BLC was not significantly different between the two groups (p=0.08). There was no significant relationship between BLC, duration of use, and opium type in the case group.
It can be concluded that addicted children’s serum lead levels significantly increased, and this level of lead can result in unalterable problems in children. However, further studies with larger sample numbers and more specific targets are recommended.