This exploratory, descriptive cohort study (N = 60) determined lead (Pb) and arsenic (As) blood concentrations in Peruvian children and their association with hematological parameters of iron-deficient anemia (IDA) and anthropometric measurement. The mean age of children was 10.8 months (SD = 4.7) and ranged from 3 to 24 months old. Anemia (Hb levels below 10.5 g/dL) was found in 20% of this cohort. Additionally, microcytosis (MCV < 70 fL) was present in 54%, and hypochromia (MCH < 23 pg) in 42% of the group of children. Chi-square analysis showed that 88% of the children with anemia also had microcytosis and hypochromia (p < 0.001). Pb and As were detected in 100% of the infants’ blood samples, and the concentrations were significantly higher in older infants than in younger ones. Pb and As were not associated with the sex, anthropomorphic parameters, or infant hemogram changes. Infants who received iron supplementation were 87% less likely to have low Hb compared with those who did not (OR = 0.13, 95% CI = 0.02–0.88, p = 0.04). Herbal tea intake was significantly associated with microcytosis and hypochromia. Our finding uncovered that hematological parameters for anemia are modified in Peruvian children with high levels of microcytosis and hypochromia. Concentrations of Pb and As were above method detection limits in all Peruvian children, but these were not associated with IDA or anthropometric measurements. A large study, including other variables, would benefit from allowing a more complex model predicting anemia in Peruvian children.

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Published in Journal of Environmental and Public Health, v. 2021, article ID 7283514.

Copyright © 2021 Ana Maria Linares et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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This project or publication has different sources of funding: (1) Fulbright Foundation through a research award to the first author of this publication; (2) Research Pilot Fund, College of Nursing, University of Kentucky; (3) NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through grant no. UL1TR001998; (4) UK-CARES through Grant P30 ES026529.

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The data are available by request to the first author.