Table of Contents

Locator Record

Title: Blood Cadmium, Lead, and Total Mercury (PbCd_F )
Contact Number: 1-866-441-NCHS
Years of Content: 2009 - 2010
First Published: September, 2011
Revised: June, 2013
Access Constraints: None
Use Constraints: None
Geographic Coverage: National
Subject:The data have been used to document the burden and dramatic decline of elevated blood lead levels, to promote the reduction of lead use, and to help to redefine national lead poisoning prevention guidelines, standards, and abatement activities. A cadmium assay is performed to identify cases of cadmium toxicity.
Record Source: NHANES 2009 - 2010
Survey Methodology: NHANES 2009 - 2010 is a stratified multistage probability sample of the civilian non-institutionalized population of the U.S.
Medium: NHANES Web site; SAS transport files

Component Description

Lead

Lead is a known environmental toxin that has been shown to deleteriously affect the nervous, hematopoietic, endocrine, renal, and reproductive systems. In young children, lead exposure is a particular hazard because children more readily absorb lead than do adults, and children’s developing nervous systems also make them more susceptible to the effects of lead. The primary sources of exposure for children are lead-laden paint chips and dust as a result of deteriorating lead-based paint. The risk for lead exposure is disproportionately higher for children who are poor, non-Hispanic black, living in large metropolitan areas, or living in older housing. Among adults, the most common high exposure sources are occupational. Blood lead levels measured in previous NHANES programs have been the cornerstone of lead exposure surveillance in the U.S. The data have been used to document the burden and dramatic decline of elevated blood lead levels, to promote the reduction of lead use, and to help to redefine national lead poisoning prevention guidelines, standards, and abatement activities.

Cadmium

A cadmium assay is performed to identify cases of cadmium toxicity. Occupational exposure is the most common cause of elevated cadmium levels.

Total Mercury

Uncertainties exist regarding levels of exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and potential health effects resulting from this exposure. Past estimates of exposure to methyl mercury have been obtained from results of food consumption surveys and measures of methyl mercury in fish. Measures of a biomarker of exposure are needed for improved exposure assessments. Blood mercury levels will be assessed in two subpopulations particularly vulnerable to the health effects from mercury exposure: children 1–5 years old and women of childbearing age.

Blood measures of total and inorganic mercury will be important for evaluation of exposure from exposure to mercury in interior latex paints

Eligible Sample

Participants aged 1 year and older who do not meet any of the exclusion criteria are eligible.

Description of Laboratory Methodology

Whole blood specimens are processed, stored, and shipped to the Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis.

Detailed instructions on specimen collection and processing can be found in the NHANES Laboratory/Medical Technologists Procedures Manual (LPM). Vials are stored under appropriate frozen (–30°C) conditions until they are shipped to National Center for Environmental Health for testing.

Whole blood lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and toal mercury (THg) concentrations are determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. This multi-element analytical technique is based on quadrupole ICP-MS technology. Coupling radio frequency power into a flowing argon stream seeded with electrons creates the plasma. Predominate species in the plasma are positive argon ions and electrons. Diluted whole blood samples are converted into an aerosol using a nebulizer inserted within a spray chamber. A portion of the aerosol is transported through the spray chamber and then through the central channel of the plasma, where it experiences temperatures of 6000–8000 oK. This thermal energy atomizes and ionizes the sample. The ions, along with the argon, enter the mass spectrometer through an interface that separates the ICP, operating at atmospheric pressure (approximately 760 torr), from the mass spectrometer, operating at approximately 10-5 torr. The mass spectrometer permits detection of ions at each mass-to-charge ratio in rapid sequence, allowing individual isotopes of an element to be determined. Once inside of the mass spectrometer, the ions pass through the ion optics, then the mass analyzing quadrupole before being detected as they strike the surface of the detector. The ion optics focuses the ion beam using an electrical field.

Electrical signals resulting from the detection of the ions are processed into digital information that is used to indicate the intensity of the ions and subsequently the concentration of the element. In this method blood samples are diluted with 18 M-ohm water and with diluent, containing 1% v/v tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH), 0.05% disodium ethylenediamine tetraacetate (EDTA), 5% ethyl alcohol, 0.05% Triton X-100?, Au is added to reduce intrinsic Hg memory effects, Rh for internal standardization of Cd, and Bi for internal standardization of Hg and Pb [11-13]. The samples were prepared with the following ratio Sample: Water: Diluent = 1:1:48 correspondingly.

There were no changes (from the previous 2 years of NHANES) to equipment, lab methods or lab site.

Data Processing and Editing

Three additional variables were created for this data file. The formula for their creation is as follows: 

Detection Limits
The detection limit for all analytes was constant in the data set.

Laboratory Quality Assurance and Monitoring

The NHANES quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) protocols meet the 1988 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act mandates. Read the General Documentation of Laboratory Data file for detailed QA/QC protocols. Detailed QA/QC instructions are discussed in the NHANES Laboratory/Medical Technologists Procedures Manual (LPM) NHANES Laboratory/Medical Technologists Procedures Manual (LPM) NHANES Laboratory/Medical Technologists Procedures Manual (LPM) . Read the General Documentation on Laboratory Data General Documentation on Laboratory Data file for detailed QA/QC protocols.

Analytic Notes

The analysis of NHANES laboratory data must be conducted with the key survey design and basic demographic variables. The NHANES Household Questionnaire Data Files contain demographic data, health indicators, and other related information collected during household interviews. The Household Questionnaire Data Files also contain all survey design variables and sample weights required to analyze these data. The Phlebotomy Examination file includes auxiliary information on duration of fasting, the time of day of the venipuncture, and the conditions precluding venipuncture. The Household Questionnaire and Phlebotomy Exam files may be linked to the laboratory data file using the unique survey participant identifier SEQN.

In cases, where the result was below the limit of detection, the value for that variable is the detection limit divided by the square root of two.

Exam sample weights should be used for analyses. Please refer to the NHANES Analytic Guidelines and the on-line NHANES Tutorial for further details on the use of sample weights and other analytic issues.

References

Codebook and Frequencies

SEQN - Respondent sequence number

Variable Name:
SEQN
SAS Label:
Respondent sequence number
English Text:
Respondent sequence number.
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS

LBXBCD - Blood cadmium (ug/L)

Variable Name:
LBXBCD
SAS Label:
Blood cadmium (ug/L)
English Text:
Blood cadmium (ug/L)
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
0.14 to 8.67 Range of Values 8793 8793
. Missing 1042 9835

LBDBCDSI - Blood cadmium (nmol/L)

Variable Name:
LBDBCDSI
SAS Label:
Blood cadmium (nmol/L)
English Text:
Blood cadmium (nmol/L)
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1.25 to 77.14 Range of Values 8793 8793
. Missing 1042 9835

LBDBCDLC - Blood cadmium comment code

Variable Name:
LBDBCDLC
SAS Label:
Blood cadmium comment code
English Text:
Blood cadmium comment code
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Hard Edits:
to
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
0 At or above the detection limit 5396 5396
1 Below lower detection limit 3397 8793
. Missing 1042 9835

LBXBPB - Blood lead (ug/dL)

Variable Name:
LBXBPB
SAS Label:
Blood lead (ug/dL)
English Text:
Blood lead (ug/dL)
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
0.18 to 43.52 Range of Values 8793 8793
. Missing 1042 9835

LBDBPBSI - Blood lead (umole/L)

Variable Name:
LBDBPBSI
SAS Label:
Blood lead (umole/L)
English Text:
English Instructions:
Blood lead (umole/L)
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
0.009 to 2.102 Range of Values 8793 8793
. Missing 1042 9835

LBDBPBLC - Blood lead comment code

Variable Name:
LBDBPBLC
SAS Label:
Blood lead comment code
English Text:
Blood lead comment code
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Hard Edits:
to
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
0 At or above the detection limit 8770 8770
1 Below lower detection limit 23 8793
. Missing 1042 9835

LBXTHG - Mercury, total (ug/L)

Variable Name:
LBXTHG
SAS Label:
Mercury, total (ug/L)
English Text:
Mercury, total (ug/L)
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Hard Edits:
0 to 99.9900
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
0.23 to 85.7 Range of Values 8793 8793
. Missing 1042 9835

LBDTHGSI - Mercury, total (umole/L)

Variable Name:
LBDTHGSI
SAS Label:
Mercury, total (umole/L)
English Text:
Mercury, total (umole/L)
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1.1 to 427.6 Range of Values 8793 8793
. Missing 1042 9835

LBDTHGLC - Mercury, total comment code

Variable Name:
LBDTHGLC
SAS Label:
Mercury, total comment code
English Text:
Mercury, total comment code
Target:
Both males and females 1 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Hard Edits:
to
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
0 At or above the detection limit 6791 6791
1 Below lower detection limit 2002 8793
. Missing 1042 9835