Objective: To describe the time trend in atmospheric lead concentrations in Spain, from before lead was banned as a gasoline additive to the present, and to determine the trend in lead body burden in the Spanish child population. Methods: We obtained the annual average for atmospheric lead levels in several Spanish cities from the 1980s to the present. A literature search was conducted to identify published studies on lead concentrations in populations of Spanish children. Results: Overall, atmospheric lead levels decreased, particularly between 1991 and 1999. This downward trend was related to a decrease in lead concentrations in Spanish children from 1989, the year in which the first study of childhood lead exposure was published, until the present. The decreased concentrations in both air and in children was most probably a result of legislative measures regulating the maximum amount of lead in gasoline in 1987 until a complete ban in August 2001. Conclusions: From a public health point of view, the banning of leaded gasoline has significantly increased health protection in the Spanish population. © 2011 SESPAS.
- Child health
- Environment and public health
- Environmental exposure
- Lead poisoning
- Nervous system