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Trends in Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Blood Lead Levels Among Youths and Adults in the United States: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2008

Age of ResidenceBlood Lead Level, μg/dL
Youths (aged <19 years)Adults (aged ≥19 years)
Nonsmokers Without SHS ExposureNonsmokers With SHS ExposureNonsmokers Without SHS ExposureNonsmokers With SHS ExposureSmokers
1949 or earlier1.31.61.41.62.1
1950–19771.01.31.31.41.9
1978 or later0.91.11.31.31.9


Figure 1. Blood lead levels in youths with and without exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) and in adult smokers and nonsmokers with and without SHS exposure, by categories of age of residence, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1999–2008.

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Job StatusBlood Lead Level, μg/dL
Nonsmokers Without SHS ExposureNonsmokers With SHS ExposureSmokers
Lower lead job1.241.381.78
Higher lead job1.641.852.83
Currently unemployed1.611.802.09


Figure 2. Blood lead levels among adults aged 19 or older, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), 1999–2008. Participant NHANES occupation codes were matched to industry subsectors identified in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) survey. NHANES job categories that matched ABLES industry subsectors in which adults are found to have BLLs ≥25 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) were categorized as “higher” lead jobs. Other NHANES job categories were categorized as “lower” lead jobs. Participants reporting being unemployed at the time of the survey were assigned to the “currently unemployed” category

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