Associations of blood lead, cadmium, and mercury with estimated glomerular filtration rate in the Korean general population: analysis of 2008-2010 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data.Environ Res. 2012 Oct; 118:124-9.ER
The objective of this study was to evaluate associations between blood lead, cadmium, and mercury levels with estimated glomerular filtration rate in a general population of South Korean adults.
This was a cross-sectional study based on data obtained in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) (2008-2010). The final analytical sample consisted of 5924 participants. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was calculated using the MDRD Study equation as an indicator of glomerular function.
In multiple linear regression analysis of log2-transformed blood lead as a continuous variable on eGFR, after adjusting for covariates including cadmium and mercury, the difference in eGFR levels associated with doubling of blood lead were -2.624 mL/min per 1.73 m² (95% CI: -3.803 to -1.445). In multiple linear regression analysis using quartiles of blood lead as the independent variable, the difference in eGFR levels comparing participants in the highest versus the lowest quartiles of blood lead was -3.835 mL/min per 1.73 m² (95% CI: -5.730 to -1.939). In a multiple linear regression analysis using blood cadmium and mercury, as continuous or categorical variables, as independent variables, neither metal was a significant predictor of eGFR. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CI values for reduced eGFR calculated for log2-transformed blood metals and quartiles of the three metals showed similar trends after adjustment for covariates.
In this large, representative sample of South Korean adults, elevated blood lead level was consistently associated with lower eGFR levels and with the prevalence of reduced eGFR even in blood lead levels below 10 μg/dL. In conclusion, elevated blood lead level was associated with lower eGFR in a Korean general population, supporting the role of lead as a risk factor for chronic kidney disease.