Blood lead and cadmium levels in a six hospital employee population PESA study, 2009

Exposure to lead and cadmium is a public health problem due to the broad exposure to these toxic substances among the general population. During the present study, blood lead and cadmium concentrations were detected in a working population drawn from six university hospitals in Madrid, Getafe, Cartagena, Santiago de Compostela, Santander and Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and to identify associated factors. Nine hundred and fifty-one individuals participated in the study and were administered the standardised PESA questionnaire regarding exposure to lead and cadmium. The blood lead and cadmium concentrations were measured by electrothermal atomisation atomic absorption spectrometry with Zeeman background correction in Perkin-Elmer spectrometers, guaranteeing the transferability of the results. The median overall blood lead concentration was: 1.6 íg/dL (IQR: 0.9-2.7) and that of cadmium was: 0.21 íg/L (IQR: 0.10-0.50). There were significant differences in lead levels between men (2 íg/dL) and women (1.5 íg/dL), postmenopausal (2.6 íg/dL) and premenopausal women (1.1 íg/dL), and between participants who cooked in earthenware (2.1 íg/dL) and those who did not (1.5 íg/dL). The median of cadmium in women (0.24 íg/L) was higher than in men (0.11 íg/L) and was also higher in subjects who smoked (0.70 íg/L) than in nonsmokers (0.13 íg/L). A reduction in blood lead and cadmium levels was observed with respect to previous studies carried out in Spain. The authors concluded that the findings suggest that there are certain factors which increase risk such as age, gender, menopause, age of housing, cooking in lead-glazed earthenware and exposure to cigarette smoke.

Authors: Gonzalez-Estecha, Montserrat; Trasobares, Elena; Fuentes, Manuel; Martinez, Maria Jose; Cano, Sara; Vergara, Nuria; Gaspar, Maria Jesus; Gonzalez-Revalderia, Joaquin; Barciela, Maria Carmen; Bugarin, Zoila; Fernandez, Maria Dolores; Badia, Pilar; Pintos, Concepcion; Gonzalez, Monica; Guillen, Jose Jesus; Bermejo, Pilar; Fernandez, Cristina; Arroyo, Manuel ;Full Source: Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology 2011, 25(S1), S22-S29 (Eng) ;