Occupational and environmental lead poisoning: Case study of a battery recycling smelter in Taiwan

Jung Der Wang, Wei Tseun Soong, Kun Yu Chao, Yaw Huei Hwang, Chang Sheng Jang

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid industrialization in Taiwan has caused both prosperity and environmental pollution. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate a case of both occupational and environmental lead poisoning. A patient of lead poisoning initiated a survey of the battery recycling factory, which revealed that 31 of 64 workers suffered from lead poisoning. Children who attended a nearby kindergarten showed a significant increase of blood lead up to 15-25 χ/dl and a mild but significant decrease of IQ (intelligent quotient, by Binet-Simon scale) if compared with children of a nonexposed but socioeconomically comparable kindergarten. Outdoor workers of the nearby forging factory also showed a significant increase of blood lead if compared with indoor workers or workers of another non-exposed forging factory 20 Km away. Air sampling showed an average of more than 10 μg/m3 in the kindergarten. Soil sampling and analysis also revealed 400 folds increase of lead content, which decreased if the sample was taken deep down to 15-30 cm or 350 meters away from the battery recycling smelter. Moreover, after children were moved away from the pollution source, follow-up examination performed 2.5 years later showed a significant decrease of blood lead and partial recovery of IQ among them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-245
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Toxicological Sciences
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


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