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Sources of lead exposure in Mexico City.

Many countries, including Mexico, are facing a largely unrecognized epidemic of low-level lead poisoning. Mexico is the sixth largest lead-producing country in the world, and 40% of its production is used locally in different industrial processes that cause lead contamination of the environment. The major sources and pathways of lead exposure among the Mexican population are gasoline emissions, lead-glazed ceramics, leaded paint, and lead in canned foods and beverages. In this paper we present evidence for the presence of lead in different environmental media and its impact on blood lead levels of the Mexican population. Although during the last few years important measures have been implemented to decrease lead exposure, our findings suggest that lead poisoning is still an important problem in Mexico. There is an urgent need for regulatory policies that implement stricter control to protect the Mexican population. There is also a need to develop adequate programs to reduce the lead burden and the associated health effects in the population that has been chronically exposed.

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