Lead poisoning - One approach to a problem that won't go away

J. D. Bogden, J. M. Oleske, D. B. Louria

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A reduction in sources of environmental lead exposure has resulted in substantial declines in mean blood lead concentrations of all age groups in the United States. However, some segments of the population continue to have unacceptable levels of lead exposure and elevated blood lead concentrations. In addition, virtually all residents of industrialized countries have bone lead stores that are several orders of magnitude greater than those of our preindustrial ancestors. Recent studies suggest that these skeletal lead stores adversely affect health and can contribute to reduced birth weights, aggressive behavior in children, and anemia, hypertension, and kidney disease in adults. Evidence is described that demonstrates that an increase in dietary calcium consumption can reduce lead absorption and toxicity from exogenous and endogenous lead exposure. A relatively inexpensive and effective way to reduce the substantial morbidity that will result from widespread lead exposure is by fortification of a variety of foods with low levels of calcium. This approach can complement other efforts to prevent lead exposure and reduce lead toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1287
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Bone
  • Calcium
  • Food
  • Lead
  • Toxicity


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