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J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2015 Jul-Aug;25(4):411-6. doi: 10.1038/jes.2014.46. Epub 2014 Jun 25.

Effect measure modification of blood lead-air lead slope factors.

Author information

  • 1National Center for Environmental Assessment, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.
  • 2School of Public Health, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA.
  • 3ICF International, Fairfax, Virginia, USA.
  • 4School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA.
  • 5Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.


There is abundant literature finding that susceptibility factors, including race and ethnicity, age, and housing, directly influence blood lead levels. No study has explored how susceptibility factors influence the blood lead-air lead relationship nationally. The objective is to evaluate whether susceptibility factors act as effect measure modifiers on the blood lead-air lead relationship. Participant level blood lead data from the 1999 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were merged with air lead data from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Linear mixed effects models were run with and without an air lead interaction term for age group, sex, housing age, or race/ethnicity to determine whether these factors are effect measure modifiers for all ages combined and for five age brackets. Age group and race/ethnicity were determined to be effect measure modifiers in the all-age model and for some age groups. Being a child (1-5, 6-11, and 12-19 years) or of Mexican-American ethnicity increased the effect estimate. Living in older housing (built before 1950) decreased the effect estimate for all models except for the 1-5-year group, where older housing was an effect measure modifier. These results are consistent with the peer-reviewed literature of time-activity patterns, ventilation, and toxicokinetics.

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