Implications of new data on lead toxicity for managing and preventing exposure

Environmental Health Perspectives
E K Silbergeld

Abstract

Recent advances in research on low-level lead poisoning point to the need to increase efforts to prevent exposure. Current biomedical consensus accepts that blood lead levels as low as 5 to 15 mcg/dL are risky to fetuses, young children, and adults. Lead at low dose is associated with increased blood pressure in adults, and chronic exposure has been associated in cohort studies with kidney disease and cancer. Data on lead toxicokinetics also points to the hazards of low-level, chronic exposure, since the lead that is accumulated over time in bone can be released at a relatively rapid rate during pregnancy and menopause. Sources that contribute to current lead exposure of the general population include unabated lead-based paint and contaminated soils, as well as lower level but pervasive sources in drinking water, food, and consumer products.

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Related Concepts

Environmental Exposure
Soil Pollution
Lead
Lead Poisoning
Maternal-Fetal Exchange

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