LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News Volume 7 No 4, 2000, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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Relationship of Ascorbic Acid to Blood Lead Levels

By Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH and Esther S. Hudes, PhD, MPH

The following is an extract of the abstract from the Journal of the American Medical Association - June 23/30 JAMA. 1999;281(24):2289-2293] http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=190540

Context Some animal studies suggest that orally administered ascorbic acid may chelate lead and decrease the risk of the toxic effects of lead.

Objective To examine the relationship between serum ascorbic acid levels and prevalence of elevated blood lead levels.

Design, Setting, and Participants Cross-sectional analysis of a probability sample of the US population enrolled in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994 (4,213 youths aged 6-16 years and 15,365 adults aged >17 years) without a history of lead poisoning.

Main Outcome Measures Elevated and log blood lead levels by serum ascorbic acid level.

Results After controlling for the effects of age, race, sex, income level, and dietary energy, fat, calcium, iron, and zinc intake, youths in the highest serum ascorbic acid tertile had an 89% decreased prevalence of elevated blood lead levels compared with youths in the lowest serum ascorbic acid tertile (odds ratio, 0.11; 95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.35; P for trend=.002).

Conclusions Our data suggest that high serum levels of ascorbic acid are independently associated with a decreased prevalence of elevated blood lead levels. If these associations are related causally, ascorbic acid intake may have public health implications for control of lead toxicity.

Corresponding Author and Reprints: Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, General Internal Medicine (111A1), San Francisco VA Medical Center, 4150 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121 E-mail Address

Article available at: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=190540

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