Health Risks of Lead as Judged from Autopsy Material

  • M. D. Krailo
  • K. S. Brown
  • W. H. Cherry
  • W. F. Forbes
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 21)


Clinical poisoning by lead has long been recognized1 and may result from a single “high” dose (acute poisoning) or from the accumulation of “low” doses (chronic poisoning). More recently, metabolic poisoning by lead2 has been identified — for example, the inhibition of ALAD activity3. Between these extremes, it is possible that the long-term exposure of large populations to general environmental levels of lead is a cause of chronic human health effects due to sub-clinical poisoning. For example, there is some evidence2 of a role for lead in the pathogenesis of one or more of the major fatal degenerative disease processes, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer; also, behavioural dysfunction in children has been related to lead at levels below those which usually produce clinical symptoms of lead poisoning4. However, the problems associated with collecting and analyzing data to elucidate these matters have led to considerable dispute about the validity of the various claims; the resolution of these disputes is an important area of work in environmental health.


Lead Concentration Lead Level Male Smoker Female Smoker ALAD Activity3 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Krailo
    • 1
  • K. S. Brown
    • 1
  • W. H. Cherry
    • 1
  • W. F. Forbes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of StatisticsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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