Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol.298, 122-128, 2015
Decreased blood hepatitis B surface antibody levels linked to e-waste lead exposure in preschool children
Lead (Pb) is a widespread environmental contaminant that can profoundly affect the immune system in vaccinated children. To explore the association between blood Pb and HBsAb levels in children chronically exposed to Pb, we measured hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) titers, to reflect the immune response in the children of Guiyu, an electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) recycling area well known for environmental Pb contamination. We performed secondary exploratory analyses of blood Pb levels and plasma HBsAb titers in samples, taken in two phases between 2011 and 2012, from 590 children from Guiyu (exposed group) and Haojiang (reference group). Children living in the exposed area had higher blood Pb levels and lower HBsAb titers compared with children from the reference area. At each phase, generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) showed that HBsAb titers were significantly negatively associated with child blood Pb levels. This work shows that a decreased immune response to hepatitis B vaccine and immune system might have potential harm to children with chronic Pb exposure. Importantly, nearly 50% of chronically exposed children failed to develop sufficient immunity to hepatitis in response to vaccination. Thus different vaccination strategies are needed for children living under conditions of chronic Pb exposure. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.