Short communication

Scand J Work Environ Health 1998;24(2):153-156    pdf


Predictors of blood lead concentrations in the lead-free gasoline era

by Nielsen JB, Grandjean P, Jørgensen PJ

Objectives Blood lead concentrations in a Danish reference population were related to information from an extensive questionnaire on work, environment, and life-style.

Methods Data were gathered for 209 persons by means of a questionnaire and blood lead analyses.

Results The mean concentration of lead in blood was 0.167 µmol/l (ie, significantly lower than in previous studies). This finding is in accordance with the fact that less than 10% of the gasoline used in Denmark contains lead additives (up to 0.15 g/l). An important finding was that the well-documented predictors for lead in blood at higher concentration levels, such as age, gender, menopausal status, and intake of alcohol, are still valid in a low-level exposure situation. In addition, a strong and negative correlation was found between blood lead concentrations and dietary supplementation with vitamins and minerals.

Conclusion The present data indicate that lead exposure may still constitute a health risk in a small proportion of adult men and postmenopausal women.