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Recommendations for preventing lead poisoning among the internally displaced Roma population in Kosovo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Published Date:

    October 27, 2007

Filetype[PDF-636.40 KB]

  • Description:
    "Lead exposure is a continuing urgent health problem for Roma in Kosovo. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have collaborated in blood lead surveillance of the Roma children living in displacement camps in Kosovo. In the last 3 rounds of blood lead testing, conducted between 2005 and 2007, on average, 30% of children tested had capillary blood lead levels > 45 μg/dL, the level at which CDC recommends chelation therapy. Few if any children in the camps have maintained a blood lead level < 10 μg/dL for their entire childhood. These children are at tremendous risk for a lifetime of developmental and behavioral disabilities and other adverse health conditions. The Cesmin Lug camp is the most highly contaminated camp and should be closed immediately. The situation in Cesmin Lug is made more critical because Roma living in Serbia and Montenegro are now moving into vacant dwellings in the camp. Dwellings that are currently vacant should be demolished immediately. These dwellings are not only contaminated by lead but a clear and present fire hazard. In addition, uncontrolled informal smelting at the now closed Kablar camp must be stopped. These activities result in lead exposure to children in both Cesmin Lug and Osterode Camps. Lack of data has hampered decision making and resulted in confusion on the part of Roma and others as to the seriousness of the problem and the extent of the environmental contamination. A periodic, systematic review of the data would provide important information about the quality of the children's clinical care. Reportedly 39 children have been chelated. Perhaps as many as 90 children are candidates for therapy. The actual number cannot be determined at this time. Lead exposure should be a priority for repatriation to the Roma Mahala. Plans should be developed for continued medical surveillance of these children when they are repatriated to Roma Mahala." - p. 3
  • Content Notes:
    Mary Jean Brown and Barry Brooks, Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch, U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "October 27, 2007" Available on the internet as an Acrobat .pdf file (629.5 KB, 12 p.).
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