Determinants of Erythrocyte Lead Levels in 454 Adults in Florence, Italy

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Background: Lead exposure, even at low levels, is associated with adverse health effects in humans. We investigated the determinants of individual lead levels in a general population-based sample of adults from Florence, Italy. Methods: Erythrocyte lead levels were measured (using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry) in 454 subjects enrolled in the Florence cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study in 1992⁻1998. Multiple linear regression models were used to study the association between demographics, education and working history, lifestyle, dietary habits, anthropometry, residential history, and (among women) menstrual and reproductive history and use of exogenous sex hormones, and erythrocyte lead levels. Results: Median lead levels were 86.1 μg/L (inter-quartile range 65.5⁻111.9 μg/L). Male gender, older age, cigarette smoking and number of pack-years, alcohol intake, and residing in urban areas were positively associated with higher erythrocyte lead levels, while performing professional/managerial or administrative work or being retired was inversely associated with lead levels. Among women, lead levels were higher for those already in menopause, and lower among those who ever used hormone replacement therapy. Conclusions: Avoidable risk factors contribute to the lead body burden among adults, which could therefore be lowered through targeted public health measures.


  • Saverio Caini
  • Benedetta Bendinelli
  • Giovanna Masala
  • Calogero Saieva
  • Melania Assedi
  • Andrea Querci
  • Thomas Lundh
  • Soterios A. Kyrtopoulos
  • Domenico Palli
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • National Hellenic Research Foundation
  • Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network (ISPRO)
  • Skåne University Hospital

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin


TidskriftInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
StatusPublished - 2019 feb 1
Peer review utfördJa