The effect of blood lead on blood pressure in children

S. M. Selbst, R. K. Sokas, F. M. Henretig, S. C. Weller, A. M. Tershakovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The effect of elevated blood lead levels on the blood pressure of children has not been clearly described. In order to define this association better, we conducted a cross-sectional study, evaluating the association between lead and high blood pressure. Using a Dinamap® monitor to measure blood pressures, blood pressures and blood lead levels were measured in 149 children (ages 1-10 years) receiving medical care at the General Medical and Lead Poisoning Clinics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Blood lead levels ranged from 7 to 70 mg/dL with a mean of 27 mg/dL. The mean systolic blood pressure was 108 mmHg and the mean diastolic reading was 63 mmHg. Higher systolic blood pressure was significantly correlated with increased weight, age, and height. Diastolic pressure was significantly associated with weight and height. There was a small, negative correlation between blood lead levels and systolic blood pressure, and a positive but insignificant correlation between lead levels and diastolic blood pressure. Our study population had both higher mean lead levels and a higher prevalence of hypertension than is true of the U.S. population as a whole. We concluded that elevated blood lead levels are not associated with elevated blood pressure in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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