Research Article

Effects of alcohol and smoking on blood lead in middle-aged British men.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 30 January 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:299
  1. A G Shaper,
  2. S J Pocock,
  3. M Walker,
  4. C J Wale,
  5. B Clayton,
  6. H T Delves,
  7. L Hinks


    A survey of middle-aged men in 24 British towns showed a strong association between blood lead concentrations, alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoking. The association with alcohol persisted after age, social class, body mass index, cigarette smoking, water lead concentrations, and the town of residence had been taken into account. There was an independent but less pronounced association between cigarette smoking and blood lead concentrations after adjustment for the other factors. The possible mechanisms include a decreased excretion of lead due to alcohol-induced hepatic dysfunction and an increased lead intake from cigarette smoking. These findings have implications for widespread measurement of blood lead concentrations in adults in the community and for all studies attempting to relate blood lead concentrations to environmental exposure.