Over 400000 USA deaths per year caused by lead exposure

  • Over 400000 USA deaths per year caused by lead exposure

Over 400000 USA deaths per year caused by lead exposure

Older Americans exposed to lead when they were younger, more likely to have heart disease.

Professor Bruce Lanphear, who led the study at Canada's Simon Fraser University, said: "Our study estimates the impact of historical lead exposure on adults now aged 44 years old or over in the U.S., whose exposure to lead occurred in the years before the study began".

But efforts to reduce environmental lead exposure is still vital, he said. A recent study tells about the health hazards of lead exposure for the people's health.

Exposure to traces of lead in petrol and paint may be linked to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year.

Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, added: "This study adds to the substantial evidence that exposure to lead can have long-term consequences". "It is not surprising that lead exposure is overlooked; it is ubiquitous, but insidious and largely beyond the control of patients and clinicians".

"No studies have estimated the number of deaths in the United States of America attributable to lead exposure using a nationally representative cohort, and it is unclear whether concentrations of lead in blood lower than 5 μg/dL, which is the current action level for adults in the United States of America, are associated with cardiovascular mortality", the researchers explain.

Lead was once routinely used products like gasoline, paint and plumbing and persists in the environment. Of these, 1,801 were from CVD and 988 were from heart disease. The average blood lead level was 2.7 μg/dL, and a total of 3,632 study participants had a level of 5 μg/dL or higher.

The risk of succumbing to coronary heart disease doubled in such cases, the study found.

Concentrations of lead in blood have decreased significantly over the last 50 years but remain 10 to 100 times higher than they were in the preindustrial era, the authors noted.

"Our study calls into question the assumption that specific toxicants, like lead, have 'safe levels, ' and suggests that low-level environmental lead exposure is a leading risk factor for premature death in the U.S., particularly from cardiovascular disease", Lanphear added. Using these risk levels, the researchers estimated 412,000 deaths each year in the USA could be attributed to lead exposure, including 256,000 from cardiovascular disease.

These results were adjusted for age, sex, household income, ethnic origin, diabetes, BMI, smoking status, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity, and amount of cadmium in urine.

The authors note some limitations, including that their results rely on one blood lead test taken at the start of the study and therefore can not determine any effect of further lead exposure after the study outset.

"A key conclusion to be drawn from this analysis is that lead has a much greater effect on cardiovascular mortality than previously recognized", wrote Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, in a related editorial.

"Estimating the contribution of low-level lead exposure is essential to understanding trends in cardiovascular disease mortality and developing comprehensive strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease".

Researchers said that it was possible these risk factors could confound the research and that scientists were unable to adjust for some other critical factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, including air pollution.