Tags: lead | heart disease | death toll

Lead's Heart Disease Death Toll 10 Times Higher Than Thought, Study Suggests

Lead's Heart Disease Death Toll 10 Times Higher Than Thought, Study Suggests

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By    |   Tuesday, 13 March 2018 10:37 AM

Lead exposure could be causing heart disease deaths in the U.S. to soar into the hundreds of thousands each year, a new has found.

Published in the journal Lancet Public Health, the study attributed 412,000 annual deaths in the U.S. to lead contamination. Of these, at least 256,000 occurred from cardiovascular disease – a number suggesting lead exposure could be a far greater cause of death than initially thought.

These figures are almost 10 times higher than previously estimated in a report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, CNN reported.

By tracking more than 14,000 adults over 20 years, researchers discovered that even people with low levels of lead in their blood had an increased risk of mortality and were more likely to suffer from a heart-disease related death.

“We saw risk down to the lowest measurable levels,” said Bruce Lanphear, a lead-poisoning researcher at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia who led the study, according to The Desert Sun.

“It’s a big deal and it’s largely been ignored when it comes to cardiovascular disease deaths.”

So, what is the link between lead exposure and heart disease?

According to Dr. Philip Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who was not involved in the study, the contaminant could increase the risk of plaque formation and arteriosclerosis by causing endothelial damage.

“It also causes kidney damage, which causes hypertension, and the two probably act synergistically with each other,” he said, per CNN.

There are regulations in place to safeguard people against lead exposure but about 90 percent of U.S. are still exposed to the contaminant, CNN noted.

Despite this, there are measures that can be taken to reduce lead exposure, such as checking for lead paint and being wary of lead water pipes in your home, having your children tested for the toxin and being aware of recalls and news about lead, Consumer Reports reported.

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Lead exposure could be causing heart disease deaths in the U.S. to soar into the hundreds of thousands each year, a new has found.
lead, heart disease, death toll
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2018-37-13
Tuesday, 13 March 2018 10:37 AM
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