LEAD: Nerve damage threatens children living near Da khuree

2017-03-17 15:26 GMT+8

We headed to Da Khuree technical market to find "nerve damage" where the area is always covered with dust and air pollution. 

You might confuse with the word "nerve damage". It represents "lead", which has already acknowledged in the world yet becoming known in our country recently. 

Exposure to lead can occur by contaminated air, soil and water and harm the central nervous system, kidneys and red blood cells, and decreased function in the cardiovascular and immune systems. Lower IQ levels and learning disabilities can also result from lead exposure, especially in children, as young bodies are more sensitive than those of adults.

In Feb, 2017, GoGo News Agency and Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences conducted blood test on lead involving 15 children aged 7-10 years who are living in 5 different areas. As a result, child living near Da Khuree technical market has 5,7-10 mcg/d lead in her blood. 

According to the World Health Organization, there is no known safe blood lead concentration. But it is known that, as lead exposure increases, the range and severity of symptoms and effects also increases. Even blood lead concentrations as low as 5 µg/dl, once thought to be a “safe level”, may result in decreased intelligence in children, behavioural difficulties and learning problems.


Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia had 10 thousand vehicles before 1990s, it rose to 36.3 thousand in 1999, later it has reached 467 thousand in 2016, reports City Road Police Department. 

Drivers of the city visit Da Khuree technical market 1-2 times every year for oil change, car repair or to buy cars. It is certain that the area is crowded all year round with both cars and people. 

About 60 services including auto repair, tire repair and car washes operate near the residential areas of Da khuree. Meanwhile over 200 businesses sell cars at the market. If we consider that one person sells five cars at an average, 1000 cars are parked at the market and waiting for their new owner. 

Thus the residents of this area suffer from smoke from car in winter, dust and oil odor in summer. 


According to the study conducted by Institute of Geography and Geo-ecology in 2010, lead in soil was the highest near auto repair centers. 

Where is the highest lead concentration in soil?

Standard for a safe level of soil lead is 100 mcg/d. However it exceeds two times the standard in soil near auto repair center which is amounted to 200 mcg/d due to lead containing automative battery and fuel. 

As stated in a book "Environmental health research" by Dr. B.Burmaajav, 80-90 percent of the lead which contained in fuel is being emited into environment and pollutes the soil. Remaining 15 percent of the lead is used for car engine system. 

However Mongolia has no law banning the use of fuel containing lead.

We interviewed Dr. Sh.Batdelger, Research Office, Public Health Institute on negative impact of vehicle emissions on the human body. 


-What heavy metals that are harmful to human health being emited at an area crowded with car?  
-Heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, fine particles are emited depending on the car type and fuel. 

Vehicle emissions contains barium, copper, lead and zinc. Barium affects respiratory tract and increases the heart rate and blood pressure.

-How oil odor affects health?
-Toxic compounds emited from vehicle adversely affect human health by penetrating into body through respiratory tract and skin. 

It makes bronchitis and asthma chronic and causes heart attack, allergy and respiratory tract infections.

-Does automative battery contain lead?
-Yes. Toxic compounds emitting from automative battery pollutes environment. It is confirmed that 70 percent of the people are working close to automative battery have the highest blood lead level. 

-How lead affects health? How long is it stored in the human body? 
-15 percent of lead penetrated in adult body and 50 percent of lead penetrated in children body stored in their teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. Compared to the adult, 4-5 times more lead penetrates in children's body. Lead harms brain development, affects kidney and blood pressure. 

Even though we have not tested the soil lead level around Da Khuree, above mentioned facts answered our question - Why child living in Da Khuree has the highest blood lead level?


Blood lead level test was performed on 3 children aged 7-10 years who are living in 17th khoroo of Bayanzurkh district for more than 5 years, which borders with the Da khuree.

Parents say that symptoms such as nosebleeds, fatigue and headaches are common among children. In addition, children experience loss of appetite and become susceptible to diseases in winter and spring. 

B.Ankhtuya, Head of Family Health Center of 17th khoroo agreed with the parents and number of sick children caused by environment pollution is increasing year by year. She added that households who can not afford coal burn old tyres and plastics in winter to survive the cold, which might make children sick. In summer, number of gastrointestinal diseases increase sharply among children due to open dumps. 

In addition, thinness, anemia and weakness are common among children and fuel and oil odor irritates allergy and causes eye flu. 

At least 2000 children are being exposed to lead poisoning in this khoroo. Da Khuree technical market borders with 9 and 19th khoroos. Therefore the lead is threatening more than 5000 children`s health. 

Moreover 31 thousand citizens are living around Da Khuree technical market and no one knows how they are being poisoned by lead through air, water and soil...


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