NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Incident ESRD among participants in a lead surveillance program.

Chowdhury R; Darrow L; McClellan W; Sarnat S; Steenland K
Am J Kidney Dis 2014 Jul; 64(1):25-31
BACKGROUND: Very high levels of lead can cause kidney failure; data about renal effects at lower levels are limited. STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study, external (vs US population) and internal (by exposure level) comparisons. SETTINGS & PARTICIPANTS: 58,307 men in an occupational surveillance system in 11 US states. PREDICTOR: Blood lead levels. OUTCOME: Incident end-stage renal disease determined by matching the cohort with the US Renal Data System (n=302). MEASUREMENTS: Blood lead categories were 0-<5, 5-<25, 25-<40, 40-51, and >51 µg/dL, defined by highest blood lead test result. One analysis for those with data for race (31% of cohort) and another for the whole cohort after imputing race. RESULTS: Median follow-up was 12 years. Among those with race information, the end-stage renal disease standardized incidence ratio (SIR; US population as referent) was 1.08 (95% CI, 0.89-1.31) overall. The SIR in the highest blood lead category was 1.47 (95% CI, 0.98-2.11), increasing to 1.56 (95% CI, 1.02-2.29) for those followed up for 5 or more years. For the entire cohort (including those with race imputed), the overall SIR was 0.92 (95% CI, 0.82-1.03), increasing to 1.36 (95% CI, 0.99-1.73) in the highest blood lead category (SIR of 1.43 [95% CI, 1.01-1.85] in those with =5 years' follow-up). In internal analyses by Cox regression, rate ratios for those with 5 or more years' follow-up in the entire cohort were 1.0 (0-<5 and 5-<25 µg/dL categories combined) and 0.92, 1.08, and 1.96 for the 25-<40, 40-51, and >51 µg/dL categories, respectively (P for trend=0.003). The effect of lead was strongest in nonwhites. LIMITATIONS: Lack of detailed work history, reliance on only a few blood lead tests per person to estimate level of exposure, lack of clinical data at time of exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Data suggest that current US occupational limits on blood lead levels may need to be strengthened to avoid kidney disease.
Humans; Men; Lead-compounds; Employee-exposure; Risk-factors; Epidemiology; Surveillance-programs; Medical-monitoring; Lead-absorption; Kidney-damage; Kidney-function; Kidneys; Renal-absorption; Renal-toxicity; Occupational-health-programs; Blood-analysis; Blood-tests; Racial-factors; Statistical-analysis; Long-term-study; Author Keywords: End-stage renal disease; ESRD; lead; kidney disease; occupational exposure; Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance; ABLES
Kyle Steenland, PhD, Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30322
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-008989; M102014
Issue of Publication
Source Name
American Journal of Kidney Diseases
Performing Organization
Emory University
Page last reviewed: September 25, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division