Epidemiological observations concerning the relationship between water hardness, concentrations of lead (Pb) in drinking water, and cardiovascular mortality in Great Britain and Norway suggest that Pb may have been far more important than hitherto recognized as one of the main causes of the 20th Century coronary heart disease epidemic in the United States and Europe. The aim of this study was a literature review of the association between Pb concentrations in the environment, in blood, and cardiovascular diseases. Materials and Methods. The search for relevant scientific publications was carried out in databases of evidence-based medicine (PubMed, Cochrane Library), and specialized search systems (Google Scholar). The following search filters or inclusion criteria were used: environmental studies on Pb sources in the environment, drinking water and food, epidemiological studies on the association between Pb and cardiovascular pathology, on the hardness of drinking water, published in English, full versions of articles. Preference was given to studies of high methodological quality (cohort studies and reviews of studies of various designs), in the absence of which results of cross-sectional studies were taken into account. The research was obtained by searching the following keywords: drinking water AND lead; cardiovascular diseases AND lead; mortality AND lead. Results. It was found a correlation between blood Pb concentration and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, stroke, and heart attacks. The toxic effects of Pb can explain the association between water hardness and cardiovascular mortality.
Geir Bjørklund 1* 1Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (CONEM), Mo i Rana, Norway.
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