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J Occup Environ Med. 2011 Aug;53(8):850-5. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31822589a9.

Longitudinal changes in bone lead levels: the VA Normative Aging Study.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Bone lead is a cumulative measure of lead exposure that can also be remobilized. We examined repeated measures of bone lead over 11 years to characterize long-term changes and identify predictors of tibia and patella lead stores in an elderly male population.


Lead was measured every 3 to 5 years by k-x-ray fluorescence and mixed-effect models with random effects were used to evaluate change over time.


A total of 554 participants provided up to four bone lead measurements. Final models predicted a -1.4% annual decline (95% CI: -2.2 to -0.7) for tibia lead and piecewise linear model for patella with an initial decline of 5.1% per year (95% CI: -6.2 to -3.9) during the first 4.6 years but no significant change thereafter (-0.4% [95% CI: -2.4 to 1.7]).


These results suggest that bone lead half-life may be longer than previously reported.

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