Risk factors for lead exposure in adult population in Southern Brazil

Ana Carolina Bertin De Almeida Lopes, Ana Navas-Acien, Rachel Zamoiski, Ellen Kovner Silbergeld, Maria De Fatima H. Carvalho, Marcia Liane Buzzo, Mariana Ragassi Urbano, Airton Da Cunha Martins Junior, Monica Maria Bastos Paoliello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In Brazil there is no systematic evaluation to access blood lead levels (BLL) in the general population and few studies with adults have been published. The aim of this study was to examine the socioeconomic, environmental, and lifestyle determinants of BLL in the adult Brazilian population. In total, 959 adults, aged 40 years or more, were randomly selected in a city in southern Brazil. Information on socioeconomic, dietary, lifestyle, and occupational background was obtained by interviews. A spatial analysis was conducted to discern whether there were any identifiable sources of exposure. BLL were measured by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. There was an adjustment for gender, age, race, education, income class, smoking status, alcohol consumption, occupation, and red meat or cow milk consumption (Model 1), and for occupation and gender (Model 2). The geometric mean of BLL was 1.97 g/dl (95% CI: 1.9-2.04 g/dl). In Model 1, BLL were positively associated with male gender, older age, and drinking and smoking habits, and less frequently with milk consumption. In Model 2, data showed higher BLL in non-white than white participants, in former smokers and individuals with current or former employment in lead (Pb) industries. The participants living in the area with more Pb industries had higher BLL (3.3 g/dl) compared with those residing in other areas with no or fewer Pb industries (1.95 g/dl). Despite the low BLL found in adults living in an urban area, Pb industries need to be monitored and regulatory laws implemented to prevent metal contamination in urban settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-108
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 17 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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