The one-third of males with the highest lead levels as measured in the kneecap (bone lead levels as opposed to blood lead levels) compared to the one-third with the lowest lead levels were 25% more likely to die from any cause during an average follow-up of 8.9 years according to the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study.
Blood lead levels were not associated with an increased risk of death, only bone lead levels were.
“We found bone lead to be associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in an environmentally exposed population with low blood lead levels,” the authors of the paper concluded.
“This study suggests that cumulative lead exposure from prior decades of high environmental exposures continues to significantly affect risk of death despite recent declines in environmental lead exposure.”
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