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  QUESTION: Could a lodged lead bullet in pelvic area cause hypertension/kidney disease after 19 yrs? 14 Dec 2004, Canada

Hi, I have been diagnosed with kidney disease, they think because of hypertension. My question does fall onto lead poisoning. This is why, I was shot with a 22 calibre rifle 19 years ago, they left the bullet inside of my pelvic area. At the time they thought they would damage my reproductive organs so they made the decision to leave it there. Could this be a problem for me now? The doctor has not done a blood test for lead, he informed me that there is no way that a bullet would cause this damage, yet I have no family history of kidney disease or hypertension. Please let me know what you think. Greg Martens.

ANSWER: 14 Dec 2004

Dear Greg,

Ask your doctor to do a blood lead test in order to determine whether the bullet or bullet fragments are lodged, say, in a joint such that it is leaching lead which can then be measured in your blood stream. If he won't organise the blood lead test then go to another doctor. You sound like a perfect candidate to join a support group that I have set up, for people with lodged lead bullets. Go to the Lodged Lead Shot or Bullet Support (LLSBS) Group at to join up and read the archives and case files and write to the group about your situation especially once you have your blood lead test result. Make sure to get both the number and the unit when you get the result (preferably in writing) from your doctor.

I very much look forward to hearing from you again via the LLSBS e-group. It is possible that surgical techniques have improved in the last 19 years and your case would seem to warrant re-investigation by competent doctors.

Does your email address mean that you are also involved in motor racing? If so, is leaded petrol used in Canada as it is in Australia for motor racing? If you have exposure to leaded petrol then you would also require a urine lead test but the blood lead test will still be the best indicator of lead leaching from your lodged bullet.

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

Also see: What are the lead poisoning risks of a lead pellet, bullet or shot lodged in the body? and Health Impacts of Lead Poisoning

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