Author(s): Muldoon SB, Cauley JA, Kuller LH, Scott J, Rohay J
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Abstract This report presents descriptive data on blood lead levels in 530 white women aged 65-87 years and examines the association of blood lead level in this population with specific variables, including age, diet, reproductive and lifestyle factors, and place of residence. Women were recruited from an urban (Baltimore, n = 205) and a rural site (the Monongahela Valley, Pennsylvania, n = 325) during the period 1990-1991. Information on lifestyle, medical history, and demographics was obtained by questionnaire and interview. Blood lead concentrations were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The mean blood lead level of this cohort (5.3 micrograms/dl) was nearly 60\% lower than that reported by a national survey in 1976-1980 for white women aged 65-74 years (12.8 micrograms/dl). Urban women had significantly higher blood lead levels than rural women (p < 0.0001). Urban residence, smoking, alcohol consumption, and years since menopause were positively associated with blood lead level, while body mass index, breast feeding, current estrogen replacement therapy, moderate physical activity, and calcium intake were inversely associated. These data suggest that mean blood lead levels have declined dramatically since 1980. Because it is not known at what level of lead exposure adverse health effects occur, other factors that modify lead levels, metabolism, or susceptibility, such as nutrition and consumption of tobacco and alcohol, become important.
This article was published in Am J Epidemiol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology