Blood pressure and blood lead concentration in bus drivers

Environ Health Perspect. 1988 Jun;78:131-7. doi: 10.1289/ehp.8878131.


San Francisco bus drivers have an increased prevalence of hypertension. This study examined relationships between blood lead concentration and blood pressure in 342 drivers. The analysis reported in this study was limited to subjects not on treatment for hypertension (n = 288). Systolic and diastolic pressures varied from 102 to 173 mm Hg and from 61 to 105 mm Hg, respectively. The blood lead concentration varied from 2 to 15 micrograms/dL. The relationship between blood pressure and the logarithm of blood lead concentration was examined using multiple regression analysis. Covariates included age, body mass index, sex, race, and caffeine intake. The largest regression coefficient relating systolic blood pressure and blood lead concentration was 1.8 mm Hg/ln (micrograms/dL) [90% C. I., -1.6, 5.3]. The coefficient for diastolic blood pressure was 2.5 mm Hg/ln (micrograms/dL) [90% C. I., 0.1, 4.9]. These findings suggest effects of lead exposure at lower blood lead concentrations than those concentrations that have previously been linked with increases in blood pressure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • San Francisco


  • Lead