The repercussions of this exposure have presented themselves in several studies revealing subclinical toxicity in ceramic workers: Studies in 1970s reported that ceramic workers in Tonala, Jalisco, had average blood lead concentrations between 30 and 40 μg/dl, and in some groups concentrations reached 85 μg/dl (Garcia de Alba et al., 1979; Molina Ballesteros et al., 1980).
Another study held in a community in the State of Michoacan reported elevated blood lead concentrations in a population of folk ceramic workers, particularly in individuals under 16 years of age.
Lead-glazed pottery is used in abundance here for food preparation and storage, and while there is no official information on the number of users, several studies have indicated that 30% of the urban population in Mexico uses glazed pottery for cooking and/or storage of foods (Hernández-Avila et al., 1991; Romieu et al., 1994).
As research indicates that kidney damage from lead exposure initiates at an average age of 15, children were excluded from the study in order to identify important sources of lead exposure and its association with blood lead concentrations in adult community members in Santa Maria Atzompa, allowing for later follow-up work on its physiological manifestations.
The sources for lead exposure are generally determined by atmospheric factors, common practices, personal habits, and occupational hazards.
Lead is typically released into the environment from lead smelters, emissions from diverse manufacturing plants, such as battery production, paint, and the combustion of leaded gasoline (Coyer and Galvao Luiz, 1989; Criterios de salud ambiental 3 Plomo, 1979).
These levels were also significantly associated with the presence of a furnace in the home and the usage of lead-glazed ceramics for food storage.
Here it was concluded that the occupational exposure to lead was greater among the subjects involved in the hand painting stage, typically women and children (Olaiz et al., 1997).