Environmental Lead Exposure and Progression of Chronic Renal Insufficiency The New England Journal of Medicine, This Week in the Journal, January 23, 2003, Vol. 348 no.4 Low level environment lead exposure has been associated with an age related decrease in renal function, yet the relation between cause and effect is unknown. This study measured renal function, blood lead levels, and body lead burden in 202 patients with mild-to-moderate renal insufficiency over a 24-month observation period. Then 64 of these patients, who had a mild increase in body lead burden during the observation study, received either chelation therapy with calcium disodium EDTA or placebo for 3 months, followed by repeated chelation therapy, as needed, or placebo for an additional 24 months. The progression of renal failure was slower in patients who received chelation therapy. There was a 95% reduction in health costs in the treated group and improved kidney function. Low-level environmental lead exposure may have a role in the decrease in renal function observed during aging. Chelation therapy may retard the progression of renal insufficiency. The patients that were chelated with EDTA cost 20x less in medical costs compared to the control group that had progressed to near renal failure.
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), March 26, 2003 High blood pressure was found to be positively related to levels of lead that were previously thought to be nontoxic (1-2 micrograms per dl instead of 40!). This was particularly evident in postmenopausal women who were having heavy bone turnover due to estrogen loss. Lead is stored in the bone and released as bone is broken down by hormonal imbalances making premenopausal women and older men and women targets for lead toxicity and hypertension.
American Heart Association, July, 2004 Very low levels of lead and cadmium increase risk of Peripheral Artery Disease. Levels defined as "safe", 10 times less than previously identified OSHA standards, were found to increase risk significantly.
Environmental Health Perspectives, September, 2004 From the NIEHS: Lead, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Renal Function: The Normactive Aging Study. Bone levels of lead (not blood levels) reflect total body burden of these metals. Elevated total body burden is related to development of high blood pressure and diabetes during the aging process.
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