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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


IGLESIAS A, Verónica et al. Urinary nickel in children exposed to petcoke pollution. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2008, vol.136, n.8, pp.1039-1046. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Petcoke is a remmant of the oil refiningprocess that contains Ni and other heavy metáis. Undesired human exposure to these compounds may result from petcoke combustión in plants located in the vicinity ofthe cities. Aim: To compare levéis of urinary Ni in schoolchildren residing in cities exposed and not exposed to petcoke pollution. Material and methods: A cross sectional study was done in schoolchildren aged 7 to 8 years oíd in two cities in northern Chile: Mejillones (n = 59), near to a petcoke plant and Tocopilla (n = 56) as the reference city. First, morning urinary samples were collected and urinary Ni was determined by Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. Socioeconomic and environmental exposure information of families was obtained applying a questionnaire to parents. Múltiple linear regression was performed to identify other variables that may explain urinary Ni differences among the cities. Results: Median level of Ni was higher in Mejillones (4.9 fig/L) than in Tocopilla (3.9 fig/L). Residing in the exposed city was the most important explaining factor (B = 0.26; IC 0.107 - 0.428). Additionally years of residency was associated with urinary Ni (B = 0.03; IC 0.004 - 0.060). Conclusions: Urinary Ni in schoolchildren is higher in the city exposed to petcoke emissions. The difference does not imply that there are concrete hazards for the population s health. However, it warns about the existence of a higher exposure in places where petcoke is used.

Palabras clave : Child welfare; Coke; Nickel.

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