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Relation between anemia and blood levels of lead, copper, zinc and iron among children

Amal A Hegazy1*, Manal M Zaher2, Manal A Abd el-hafez2, Amal A Morsy3 and Raya A Saleh3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community and Industrial Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Alazhar University, Cairo, Egypt

2 Department of Pediatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Alazhar Univerisity, Cairo, Egypt

3 Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Alazhar Univerisity, Cairo, Egypt

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:133  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-133

Published: 12 May 2010



Anemia is a health problem among infants and children. It is often associated with a decrease in some trace elements (iron, zinc, copper) and an increase in heavy metals as lead. This study was done to determine the association of blood lead level > 10 μg/dl, with the increased risk to anemia, also, to investigate the relationship between anemia and changes in blood iron, zinc and copper levels, and measure lead level in drinking water.

The study is a cross-sectional performed on 60 children. Venous blood samples were taken from the studied population for estimating hematological parameters as well as iron and ferritin levels. The concentrations of zinc, copper, and lead were measured. The studied population was divided into anemic and non-anemic (control) groups. The anemic group was further classified into mild, moderate and severe anemia. The study subjects were also categorized into low and high blood lead level groups.


Approximately 63.33% of children had blood lead levels ≥ 10 μg/dl. At the blood lead level range of 10-20 μg/dl, a significant association was found for mild and severe anemia. The blood level of iron and ferritin was found to be significantly lower in high blood lead level and anemic groups than those of the low blood lead level and control groups. Lead level in drinking water was higher than the permissible limit.


Lead level ≥ 10 μg/dl was significantly associated with anemia, decreased iron absorption and hematological parameters affection. High blood lead levels were associated with low serum iron and ferritin. Lead level in drinking water was found to be higher than the permissible limits.