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Ergonomics. 1994 Jan;37(1):43-8.

Blood lead levels of British competitive cyclists.

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Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK.


This study examined the extent to which the potentially toxic lead particulates emitted from motor vehicles are absorbed by competitive cyclists. A time trial (n = 5), a road race (n = 5), and a sedentary control group (n = 5) were examined with respect to blood lead (PbB) levels. In the two cycling groups, the PbB levels were measured before and after (1) a time trial (80 km) held on a dual carriageway; and (2) a road race (120 km) which took place in a rural area. Mean (+/- SE) resting PbB levels for the sedentary subjects, time trialists, and road racers were 0.442 +/- 0.041, 0.490 +/- 0.111 and 0.384 +/- 0.061 mumol l-1 respectively (p > 0.05). Mean post-race PbB levels of the time trialists (0.528 +/- 0.046 mumol l-1) and road racers (0.346 +/- 0.024 mumol l-1) did not differ significantly from the pre-race levels (p > 0.05). However, after their respective races, the mean PbB level of the time trialists was higher than that of the road racers (p < 0.05). Ninety minutes of cycling (70% VO2 max) in a laboratory containing approximately 1 microgram m3 of airborne lead did not affect blood lead levels. All PbB levels compiled with EC regulations regarding lead exposure. Despite a positive relationship between the amount of training and the PbB levels (r = 0.64, p < 0.05), competitive cyclists did not evidence abnormal levels of lead absorption. Time trialing on dual carriageways was associated with higher PbB levels than road racing.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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