Gender and race/ethnicity differences in lead dose biomarkers

Keson Theppeang, Thomas A Glass, Karen Bandeen-Roche, Andrew C. Todd, Charles A. Rohde, Brian S. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. We sought to identify predictors of lead concentrations in the blood, tibias, and patellae of older adults and to describe differences by gender, race/ ethnicity, and other factors that can influence lead toxicokinetics and, thus modify health effects. Methods. Participants aged 50 to 70 years (N = 1140) were randomly identified from selected neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland. We measured lead concentrations by anodic stripping voltammetry (in blood) and 109Cd-induced K-shell x-ray fluorescence (in bone). We used multiple linear regression to identify predictors of lead concentrations. Results. Mean (SD) lead concentrations in blood, tibias, and patellae were 3.5 (2.4) μg/dL, 18.9 (12.5) μg/g, and 6.8 (18.1) μg/g, respectively. Tibia concentrations were 29% higher in African Americans than in Whites (P < .01). We observed effect modification by race/ethnicity on the association of gender and physical activity to blood lead concentrations and by gender on the association of age to tibia lead concentrations. Patella lead concentrations differed by gender; apolipoprotein E genotype modified this relation. Conclusions. African Americans evidenced a prominent disparity in lifetime lead dose. Women may be at higher risk of release of lead from bone and consequent health effects because of increased bone demineralization with aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1248-1255
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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