Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 231458, 12 pages
Research Article

Lead, Arsenic, and Cadmium Contamination and Its Impact on Children's Health in La Oroya, Peru

1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Colorado College, 14 E. Cache La Poudre Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, USA
2Red Uniendo Manos Perú, Jr. Daniel Alcides Carrión 844 B, Magdalena del Mar, Lima, Peru
3Filomena Tomaira Pacsi, Avenida Tupac Amaru 101, La Oroya, Junín, Peru

Received 25 August 2011; Accepted 3 October 2011

Academic Editors: J. Kirigia, E. Lazcano-Ponce, and T. S. Nawrot

Copyright © 2012 Matthew K. Reuer 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.


The large scale of nonferrous metal smelting has created a chronic public health issue in La Oroya, Perú. In this reconnaissance study, the distributions of lead, arsenic, and cadmium in drinking water, indoor dust, and soil were measured at five sites to estimate their impact on children's health. As expected, median soil metal levels dropped exponentially with distance from the smelting complex (3,177 ppm Pb, 1,658 ppm As, and 127 ppm Cd at La Oroya Antigua). Indoor dust metal concentrations were also elevated at La Oroya Antigua (2,574 ppm Pb, 1,071 ppm As, 28 ppm Cd), and drinking water As values were elevated relative to Pb and Cd (8.5 ppb As, 0.28 ppb Pb, and 0.05 ppb Cd), suggesting selective loss of Pb and Cd relative to As. Exposure and dose-response modeling (IEUBK) indicate soil Pb and As are serious health problems in need of remediation.