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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2015 Apr;88(3):381-8. doi: 10.1007/s00420-014-0970-5. Epub 2014 Aug 3.

Environmental lead exposure is associated with visit-to-visit systolic blood pressure variability in the US adults.

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Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, 77205, USA,



The association between environmental lead exposure and blood pressure variability, an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, is unexplored and unknown. The objective of the study was to test the hypothesis that lead exposure is associated with blood pressure variability.


American participants 17 years of age or older from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III were included in the analysis. Participants' blood lead concentrations expressed as micrograms per deciliter were determined. The standard deviations of visit-to-visit systolic and diastolic blood pressure were calculated to determine blood pressure variability. Multivariable regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, race, smoking and socioeconomic status were employed.


The participants' mean age and mean blood lead concentration were 42.72 years and 3.44 mcg/dl, respectively. Systolic blood pressure variability was significantly associated with environmental lead exposure after adjusting for the effect of the confounders. The unadjusted and adjusted means of visit-to-visit systolic blood pressure variability and the β coefficient of lead exposure were 3.44, 3.33 mcg/dl, β coefficient = 0.07, P < 0.01.


This study documents a positive linear relationship between environmental lead exposure and systolic blood pressure variability. Screening adults with fluctuating blood pressure for lead exposure could be warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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