BLENCA-Study - English
As part of the BLENCA study, human biomonitoring for lead and cadmium was carried out in Oker and Harlingerode among primary school pupils and their educators in the Harz region.
Although exposure to heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and others has decreased in most regions of Germany in recent decades, there is still soil contamination. One cause of this is the former mining industry, which was practised in the Harz Mountains and elsewhere.
There are health consequences if lead and other heavy metals get into the human body. For example, lead can impair the development of children's central nervous system. This can affect hearing and the ability to concentrate, among other things.
The BLENCA study was carried out in 2021 on primary school children and their parents in order to check whether persistent exposure to the soil also leads to increased internal exposure to lead and cadmium among the population in Oker and Harlingerode (in the Goslar district).
There was a clear decrease in blood lead and urine cadmium levels compared to the biomonitoring data collected in the 1980s. However, almost half of the children tested had blood lead levels above the current reference value. In contrast, the cadmium values in children and adults were within the typical range for Germany.
In the BLENCA2 study, exposure to lead among preschool children in the entire district of Goslar will be recorded in 2023/24. This will allow the distribution of blood lead levels in the particularly vulnerable group of preschool children to be determined across the entire district. Based on this, it may also be possible to identify uptake pathways for lead. Health consequences will also be assessed. Further information on the BLENCA2 study can be found here.
Participating working groups: Analytics and Monitoring; Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology & Net-Teaching
District of Goslar (Lower Saxony, Germany)