Determinants of Bone and Blood Lead Levels among Minorities Living in the Boston Area
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CitationLin, Charles, Rokho Kim, Shirng-Wern Tsaih, David Sparrow, and Howard Hu. 2004. Determinants of bone and blood lead levels among minorities living in the Boston area. Environmental Health Perspectives 112(11): 1147-1151.
AbstractWe measured blood and bone lead levels among minority individuals who live in some of Boston’s neighborhoods with high minority representation. Compared with samples of predominantly white subjects we had studied before, the 84 volunteers in this study (33:67 male:female ratio; 31–72 years of age) had similar educational, occupational, and smoking profiles and mean blood, tibia, and patella lead levels (3 μg/dL, 11.9 μg/g, and 14.2 μg/g, respectively) that were also similar. The slopes of the univariate regressions of blood, tibia, and patella lead versus age were 0.10 μg/dL/year (p less than 0.001), 0.45 μg/g/year (p less than 0.001), and 0.73 μg/g/year (p less than 0.001), respectively. Analyses of smoothing curves and regression lines for tibia and patella lead suggested an inflection point at 55 years of age, with slopes for subjects ≥ 55 years of age that were not only steeper than those of younger subjects but also substantially steeper than those observed for individuals greater than 55 years of age in studies of predominantly white participants. This apparent racial disparity at older ages may be related to differences in historic occupational and/or environmental exposures, or possibly the lower rates of bone turnover that are known to occur in postmenopausal black women. The higher levels of lead accumulation seen in this age group are of concern because such levels have been shown in other studies to predict elevated risks of chronic disease such as hypertension and cognitive dysfunction. Additional research on bone lead levels in minorities and their socioeconomic and racial determinants is needed.
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