A population-based assessment of blood lead levels in relation to inflammation

Natthapol Songdej, Paul C. Winters, Michael J. McCabe, Edwin van Wijngaarden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Some experimental and observational research suggests that inflammation may be an important mediator of lead toxicity. However, lead-induced inflammation has not been well-studied in non-occupationally exposed populations. Methods: Using data for 9,145 individuals ≥40 years of age from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004, we assessed the association between blood lead levels (BLLs) and C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, and white blood cell (WBC) count via ordinal logistic regression. We also examined the interaction between BLL and gender in relation to the inflammatory markers. Results: No evidence for an association between lead exposure and inflammatory markers was observed with odds ratios around or below the null. Although men but not women appeared to be at increased risk of lead-induced inflammation, no consistent dose-response patterns were observed across BLL quintiles. Conclusion: Inflammation does not appear to be an important mediator of lead toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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