Spatial clustering of toxic trace elements in adolescents aroun. The Torreón, Mexico lead-zinc smelter

Gonzalo G. Garcia-Vargas, Stephen J. Rothenberg, Ellen K. Silbergeld, Virginia Weaver, Rachel Zamoiski, Carol Resnick, Marisela Rubio-Andrade, Patrick J. Parsons, Amy J. Steuerwald, Ana Navas-Acién, Eliseo Guallar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


High blood lead (BPb) levels in children and elevated soil and dust arsenic, cadmium, and lead were previously found in Torreón, northern Mexico, host t. The world's fourth largest lead-zinc metal smelter. The objectives of this study were to determine spatial distributions of adolescents with higher BPb and creatinine-corrected urine total arsenic, cadmium, molybdenum, thallium, and uranium aroun. The smelter. Cross-sectional study of 512 male and female subjects 12-15 years of age was conducted. We measured BPb by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry and urine trace elements by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, with dynamic reaction cell mode for arsenic. We constructed multiple regression models including sociodemographic variables and adjusted for subject residence spatial correlation with spatial lag or error terms. We applied local indicators of spatial association statistics to model residuals to identify hot spots of significant spatial clusters of subjects with higher trace elements. We found spatial clusters of subjects with elevated BPb (range 3.6-14.7 μg/dl) and urine cadmium (0.18-1.14 μg/g creatinine) adjacent to and downwind o. The smelter and elevated urine thallium (0.28-0.93 μg/g creatinine) and uranium (0.07-0.13 μg/g creatinine) near ore transport routes, former waste, and industrial discharge sites. The conclusion derived from this study was that spatial clustering of adolescents with high BPb and urine cadmium adjacent to and downwind o. The smelter and residual waste pile, areas identified over a decade ago with high lead and cadmium in soil and dust, suggests that past and/or present plant operations continue to present health risks to children in those neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-642
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 25 2014


  • Torreón
  • adolescents
  • arsenic
  • cadmium
  • lead
  • thallium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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