Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
A study published this week found that lead exposure may be responsible for up to 10 times more deaths in the United States than previously thought (Source: “Study: Lead Exposure Linked to 10 Times More Deaths Than Reported,” U.S. News and World Report, March 13, 2018).
The study, published in the journal The Lancet Public Health, concluded about 400,000 deaths per year can be attributed to lead, a much higher number than previously reported.
Included in these deaths is 256,000 annual deaths from cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that individuals with a blood lead concentration at the 90th percentile had a 70% increase in cardiovascular disease mortality compared to those with a blood lead concentration at the 10th percentile (1.0 microgram per deciliter), which suggests lead exposure could be an overlooked contributing factor to this cause of death.
The researchers wrote even “low-level lead exposure is an important, largely overlooked, risk factor for deaths in the United States, particularly for cardiovascular disease deaths.” They also concluded the estimated number of deaths attributable to lead were comparable to the number of deaths from tobacco smoke exposure.