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Arch Environ Health. 1982 Mar-Apr;37(2):98-102.

Additive statistical effects of cadmium and lead on heart-related disease in a North Carolina autopsy series.


The association of heart-related mortality with tissue cadmium and lead in a study of autopsies performed on persons who resided in a soft-water, leached-soil area of North Carolina was examined. Liver cadmium concentrations and aortic lead level were indices of these elements. Both cadmium and lead levels had statistically significant correlations with cause of death (heart-related disease vs. non-heart-related disease, excluding cancer). Although cause of death was significantly associated with age, the association with cadmium and lead persisted after statistical adjustment for the effect of age. The combined effects of cadmium and lead provided sufficient information in an additive model to predict cause of death correctly for 80% of the cases, with age contributing insignificantly. These findings indicate the intimate relation of these two trace metals with increased risk of heart-related mortality, even in light of known conventional causes of such deaths.

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