Association of tibia lead and blood lead with end-stage renal disease: A pilot study of African-Americans

Paul Muntner, Andy Menke, Vecihi Batuman, Felicia A. Rabito, Jiang He, Andrew C. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The association between body lead burden and kidney disease remains controversial. Fifty-five African-American end-stage renal disease (ESRD) cases and 53 age- and sex-matched African-American controls without known renal disease were recruited from Tulane University-affiliated dialysis clinics and out-patient clinics, respectively. Blood lead was measured via atomic absorption spectrophotometry and tibia lead (a measure of body lead) was measured via 109Cd-based K shell X-ray fluorescence. Median blood lead levels were significantly higher among ESRD cases (6 μg/dL) compared to their control counterparts (3 μg/dL; P<0.001). Although no participants had overt lead poisoning (blood lead ≥25 μg/dL), seven cases but no controls had blood lead levels above 10 μg/dL (P=0.006). The median tibia lead level was 17 micrograms of lead per gram of bone mineral (μg/g) and 13 μg/g among ESRD cases and their control counterparts, respectively (P=0.134). Four ESRD cases (7%), but no controls, had a tibia lead level above 40 μg/g (P=0.115) while a similar proportion of cases and controls had tibia lead between 20 and 39 μg/g (33% and 32%, respectively; P=0.726). After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds ratios of ESRD associated with a tibia lead ≥20 μg/g and each four-fold higher tibia lead (e.g., 5-20 μg/g) were 1.55 (95% CI: 0.55, 4.41) and 1.88 (95% CI: 0.53, 6.68), respectively. These findings support the need for prospective cohort studies of body lead burden and renal disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-401
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Body lead burden
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Lead


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