Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between iron deficiency and low-level lead poisoning.
Methods: Data were collected in an urban primary care clinic from 3650 children aged 9 to 48 months. Iron deficiency was defined as a red cell mean corpuscular volume (MCV) of less than 70 fL and a red cell distribution width (RDW) of more than 14.5 in children younger than 2 years, and an MCV of less than 73 fL and RDW of more than 14.5 in those 2 years or older.
Results: After adjustment for age, hemoglobin concentration, and insurance status, the odds ratios for iron deficiency predicting blood lead levels greater than or equal to 5 micrograms/dL and greater than or equal to 10 micrograms/dL were 1.63 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.29, 2.04) and 1.44 (95% CI = 1.004, 2.05).
Conclusions: Iron deficiency is significantly associated with low-level lead poisoning in children aged 9 to 48 months.