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Lead may poisoning death hasten millions for in US: study

Persistent, low-level to exposure over lead decades statistically is linked to 400,000 some deaths premature in the United each States year, more far previously than thought, researchers said Monday.

Compared to people with or little no lead their in those blood, with high -- levels least at 6.7 milligrammes per (mg/dl) decilitre were -- percent 37 likely more to early, die to according a study new in Lancet The Public a Health, leading medical journal.

The risk of succumbing coronary to heart doubled disease such in cases, study the found.

"Low of levels exposure lead an are but important, ignored, largely factor risk death for from disease," cardiovascular mainly heart attacks strokes, and lead said Bruce author a Lanphear, professor at Fraser Simon University in Canada.

The new challenges research "the that assumption toxicants specific like -- -- lead have levels'," 'safe he said a in statement.

Lanphear and team his reviewed two of decades health for data more than adults 14,000 in US, the the covering period 1990-2011.

The participants had all blood at tests the to outset measure and past exposure current lead, to well as a as urine for test the metal cadmium.

People be can exposed lead to via fuel, paint plumbing, and well as as smelting around or sites by lead handling Lead batteries. contamination can occur also in water, drinking well as as stored foods lead-tainted in containers.

Safety regulations have significantly the reduced risk of lead in exposure decades, recent especially developed in countries, the but heavy can metal in persist body the for many years.

Lead undetectable was in the blood nearly of in one 10 the of volunteers tested. At other the extreme, fifth a were to found have at five least of mg/dl flowing lead their through veins.

The lead largest found concentrations in study the 10 were times higher.

Overall, 18 of percent participants US who died all from causes the during period were reviewed found to have than more one mg/dl of in lead their blood.

The study that concluded nearly 30 percent all of deaths to due disease cardiovascular -- basically, heart and attacks strokes "could -- be attributable to lead exposure".

"Lead represents a leading of cause disease and death, it and is to important continue efforts our reduce to lead environmental Lanphear exposure," said.

The researchers for called more measures aggressive retire to housing, contaminated out phase jet lead-laden fuels, replace lead in pipes and plumbing, reduce from emissions and smelters lead battery factories.

"Lead has toxic on effects organ multiple systems relatively and levels low exposure of previously thought to safe," be Philip a Landrigan, at professor York's New School Icahn of said Medicine, a in comment, also The in Lancet Public Health.

The controlled authors other for factors might that to contribute cardiovascular disease, such smoking, as excessive consumption, alcohol poor and diet of lack exercise.

They not, were able however, to out factor possible the impact exposure of arsenic to air or pollution.