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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 872596, 13 pages
Review Article

What Do We Know of Childhood Exposures to Metals (Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury) in Emerging Market Countries?

1Office of Science, National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA
2Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA

Received 12 September 2012; Revised 17 November 2012; Accepted 17 November 2012

Academic Editor: Namik Yaşar Özbek

Copyright © 2013 Lindsey M. Horton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury present potential health risks to children who are exposed through inhalation or ingestion. Emerging Market countries experience rapid industrial development that may coincide with the increased release of these metals into the environment. A literature review was conducted for English language articles from the 21st century on pediatric exposures to arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) top 10 Emerging Market countries: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey. Seventy-six peer-reviewed, published studies on pediatric exposure to metals met the inclusion criteria. The reported concentrations of metals in blood and urine from these studies were generally higher than US reference values, and many studies identified adverse health effects associated with metals exposure. Evidence of exposure to metals in the pediatric population of these Emerging Market countries demonstrates a need for interventions to reduce exposure and efforts to establish country-specific reference values through surveillance or biomonitoring. The findings from review of these 10 countries also suggest the need for country-specific public health policies and clinician education in Emerging Markets.