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Papers And Originals

Environmental Lead Pollution in an Urban Soft-water Area

Br Med J 1972; 2 doi: (Published 27 May 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;2:491
  1. A. D. Beattie,
  2. M. R. Moore,
  3. W. T. Devenay,
  4. A. R. Miller,
  5. A. Goldberg


    An investigation has been reported on the clinical and metabolic effects of lead acquired by soft domestic water from lead plumbing systems in 23 Glasgow households. The lead content of water from cold taps was up to 18 times the upper acceptable limit and was proportional to the amount of lead in the plumbing system. The blood lead of 71 inhabitants of these houses showed a significant positive correlation with water lead content. Delta-aminolaevulic acid dehydrase activity, an extremely sensitive indicator of lead exposure, showed a significant negative correlation with water-lead content. Atmospheric lead was within acceptable limits in all but one house and no significant correlation could be found with biochemical measurements. A small number of clinical abnormalities were found but could not be directly attributed to lead toxicity. The results of the study underline the possible danger to health of lead plumbing systems in soft-water regions.