Tobacco smoke exposure and levels of urinary metals in the U.S. youth and adult population: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Jul;6(7):1930-46. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6071930. Epub 2009 Jul 2.


We assessed 12 urine metals in tobacco smoke-exposed and not exposed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants. Our analysis included age, race/ethnicity, and poverty status. Gender and racial/ethnic differences in cadmium and lead and creatinine-adjusted and unadjusted data for group comparisons are presented. Smokers' had higher cadmium, lead, antimony, and barium levels than nonsmokers. Highest lead levels were in the youngest subjects. Lead levels among adults with high second-hand smoke exposure equaled smokers. Older smokers had cadmium levels signaling the potential for cadmium-related toxicity. Given the potential toxicity of metals, our findings complement existing research on exposure to chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Keywords: cadmium; lead; metals; race/ethnicity; secondhand smoke (SHS); smoker; tobacco smoke; toxicity; youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metals, Heavy / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Smoking / urine*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution