Lead levels in primary teeth of children in Karachi

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


The majority of children in Karachi have blood lead levels above 10 micrograms/dl, the upper safety limit set by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study was undertaken to evaluate chronic lead exposure in children by measuring lead levels in shed primary teeth collected from primary school children in Karachi. A total of 309 teeth were collected from nine different schools, and analysed for lead content by atomic absorption spectrophotometry with electrothermal atomization. The mean (SD) age of the subjects was 7.6 (1.2) years and the mean lead level was 5.78 micrograms/g of whole tooth (dry weight), ranging from 0.42 to 39.75 micrograms/g. Incisor teeth had a significantly higher mean (SD) lead level, 6.42 (4.19) micrograms/g, than canines and molars which contained 4.91 (5.12) micrograms and 4.50 (2.67) micrograms lead whole tooth (dry weight), respectively. Significant differences were observed between different schools. No difference was observed between boys and girls and the accumulation of lead in teeth was not correlated with chronological age.


Annals of Tropical Paediatrics