Medical

Lead exposure causes one in three cardiovascular deaths

Lead exposure causes one in three cardiovascular deaths

Although Mr Lanphear's study only covers America, it is likely that Britain is also at risk from lead pollution. "Still, lead represents a leading cause of disease and death, and it is important to continue our efforts to reduce environmental lead exposure", explained lead author professor Bruce Lanphear, from Simon Fraser University in Canada, in a statement. There was a correlation for an increase in the concentration of lead in blood from 1.0 to 6.7 µg/dL (10th to 90th percentiles) with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and ischemic heart disease mortality (hazard ratios, 1.37, 1.70, and 2.08, respectively).

"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 ( 0.24 mol/L), which is the current action level for adults in the United States of America, are associated with cardiovascular mortality", they added.

"Today, lead exposure is much lower because of regulations banning the use of lead in petrol, paints and other consumer products so the number of deaths from lead exposure will be lower in younger generations", Lanphear said.

Lanphear analyzed earlier USA government research from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases and ischemic heart disease are thought to be increased by the exposure to lead exposure, which, according to recent researches, comes from the still widespread use of this toxic metal in fuel, paint, plumbing, and so on.

"Despite the striking reductions in concentrations of lead in blood over the past 50 years, amounts found nowadays in adults are still ten times to 100 times higher than people living in the pre-industrial era".

A total of 4,422 people died during a median follow-up of 19.3 years: 38 percent from cardiovascular disease and 22 percent from ischemic heart disease.




Mr Lanphear's team followed 14,300 people for 20 years, measuring how much lead was in their blood in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

One in five of the subjects (around 3630 people) had levels of 5 μg/dL or more.

Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "This study adds to the substantial evidence that exposure to lead can have long-term consequences".

These results remained after accounting for a number of possible confounding factors, including participants' age, sex, body mass index (BMI), diet, smoking status, and alcohol intake.

"It is not surprising that lead exposure is overlooked; it is ubiquitous, but insidious and largely beyond the control of patients and clinician".

"But if we're underestimating the impact of lead exposure on cardiovascular disease mortality and other important outcomes beyond IQ, then it might have a big impact on the way we make investments in preventing lead poisoning exposure".


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