It has been suggested that certain trace metals may affect human blood pressure. We recently measured trace metals in the tapwater from the homes of 246 male participants of the Normative Aging Study. Participants were free of any disease or medication known to influence blood pressure. No statistically significant relationship was found between lead concentration and systolic blood pressure in an analysis of covariance, controlling for age and body mass index. Diastolic pressure was examined as well and the results were almost identical. Since educational level and town of residence were potential confounders, we stratified on these variables but no association between lead concentration and blood pressure emerged. Similarly, no statistically significant relationships were found between blood pressure and copper or iron. Blood pressure did differ significantly among zinc concentration groups but no uniform trend appeared. In light of evidence from other studies suggesting that blood pressure is influenced by lead or other elements in drinking water, further investigations with more highly exposed subjects or a prospective design appear warranted.
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