, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 269-278

Effects of chronic lead and cadmium exposure on blood pressure in occupationally exposed workers

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An epidemiological study was performed to assess whether the occupational exposure to lead or cadmium is associated with an increase in blood pressure. Blood lead levels were determined in 36 male subjects who were occupationally exposed to lead, whereas urinary cadmium concentrations were determined in 40 male workers who were employed in cadmium pigment and resin factories from Barcelona (Spain). Blood lead and urine cadmium concentrations were also determined in 40 health volunteers who were not occupationally exposed to lead or cadmium (control group). The mean concentrations of blood lead were 9.8 μg/dL for controls and 39.5 μ/dL for lead-exposed workers, whereas 0.79 μg/g creatinine and 2.50 μg/g creatinine were the mean levels of urine cadmium for controls and for cadmium-exposed workers, respectively. After adjusting for age, body mass index, and drinking and smoking habits, a significant rise of blood pressure with the increases in blood lead levels was found in the group of lead-exposed workers, but not in the control group. In contrast, the results of this study did not corroborate the hypothesis that an increase in cadmium exposure implies a rise in blood pressure.