Human Biologic Monitoring in the Haifa Bay area compared to the general population: screening within blood donors

Primary and co-primary Investigators: Hassan L. (SUMC), Shinar E. (MDA Blood Services), Rorman E. (National Lab of Public Health), Kloog I (BGU), Novack L. (SUMC)

During the last decade, investigators have reported increased rates of cancer, respiratory illnesses and adverse birth outcomes among Haifa Bay residents, an area in the northern Israel, associated with high levels of air pollution. In this study we compared Haifa Bay residents' exposure to heavy metals with residents in other regions in Israel. Specifically, we assembled a geographically representative sample of blood donations; assessed exposure to selected metals in blood donors from Haifa Bay area and compared those to the general population in Israel.

We found that blood donors from Haifa Bay area are featured by low levels of Cd and As, and by high levels of Cr and Pb, as compared to the rest of the country.

Based on estimates for the entire country, donors with high Pb concentrations were likely to live close to quarries and be exposed to higher levels of PM10, CO and SO2. An association between ambient levels of pollution and internal metals’ concentrations, reaffirms the link between the two in the pathological pathway from air pollution to morbidity.