Long-Term Effects of Heavy Metals on Children’s Health

For several decades, many communities in Mexico have been impacted by an increase in industrialization.  Many of the environmental pollutant associated with this growth greatly effect children.  In the Lagunera region located in the Mexican states of Durango and Coahuila, several health conditions in children have been observed due to chronic arsenic and lead exposure. The largest nonferrous smelter complex in Latin America is located in this area where previous studies have shown abnormally high blood levels of lead. The long-term effects of chronic exposure to lead and other metals present in the environment are not well known. Therefore, there is a need to evaluate the effectsof multi-element exposure and their repercussion on health throughout human development.

The objective of this study is to establish a prospective cohort of children chronically exposed to lead and other metals in the Lagunera region.  The primary purpose is to evaluate potential adverse health effects on the hypothalamus-hypophysis-gonad in a prepubertal cohort.  In addition, the research results will also be used to define what measures can be taken by communities to lower the impact of heavy metals exposure in children as well as verify if the measures are correlated with lowered health impacts.

Health parameters considered include:

  • Morphometrics
  • Immunological
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Endocrine disruption

Project Contacts:

Dr. A. Jay Gandolfi

The University of Arizona

Principal Investigator – U.S.


Dr. Walter Klimecki

The University of Arizona

Principal Investigator – U.S.


Dr. Gonzalo Garcia Vargas

Universidad Juarez del Estado de Durango

Principal Investigator – Mexico


Dr. Mariano E. Cebrian Garcia

Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados

Principal Investigator – Mexico


Dr. Lizbeth Teresita Lopez Carrillo

Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica

Investigator - Mexico


Dr. Maria Guerrero-Almeida

Universidad Juarez del Estado de Durango

Investigator- Mexico