Toxic Metals and Chronic Kidney Disease: a Systematic Review of Recent Literature

Emily C. Moody, Steven G. Coca, Alison P. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) are ubiquitous toxicants with evidence of adverse kidney impacts at high exposure levels. There is less evidence whether environmental exposure to As, Cd, or Pb plays a role in development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). We conducted a systematic review to summarize the recent epidemiologic literature examining the relationship between As, Cd, or Pb with CKD. Recent Findings: We included peer-reviewed studies published in English between January 2013 and April 2018 for As and Cd, and all dates prior to April 2018 for Pb. We imposed temporality requirements for both the definition of CKD (as per NKF-KDOQI guidelines) and environmental exposures prior to disease diagnosis. Our assessment included cohort, case-control or cross-sectional study designs that satisfied 5 inclusion criteria. We included a total of eight articles of which three, two, and four studies examined the effects of As, Cd, or Pb, respectively. Summary: Studies of As exposure consistently reported positive association with CKD incidence; studies of Pb exposure were mixed. We found little evidence of association between Cd exposure and CKD. Additional well-designed prospective cohort studies are needed and we present recommendations for future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-463
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Environmental Health Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Lead


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