Even low levels of lead in blood are linked to gout

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 3, 2012

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Currently accepted blood lead levels are associated with increased prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia, says a study in the Aug. 21 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The study calls for refinement in national goals for preventing lead exposure, detecting the toxin and removing it from drinking water.

Blood lead levels less than 25 ug/dL in adults are considered to have minimal risk of adverse health effects, the study said. But researchers found that levels as low as about 1.2 ug/dL can be associated with increased prevalence of gout independent of other major risk factors, such as a patient’s age and renal function (link).

The prevalence of gout was 6.1% among patients in the highest blood lead level quartile, which was a mean 3.95 ug/dL compared with 1.8% for those in the lowest quartile, mean 0.89 ug/dL, the study said.

Researchers examined data on 6,153 adults age 40 through 85 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2008. Participants had an estimated glomerular filtration rate greater than 10 mL/min per 1.73 m².

Note: This item originally appeared at

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