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J Bone Metab. 2016 Nov;23(4):223-231. English. Original Article.
Lim HS , Lee HH , Kim TH , Lee BR .
Department of Clinical Nutrition, Soonchunhyang University Bucheon Hospital, Bucheon, Korea.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea.
Department of Biostatistics, Clinical Trial Center, Soonchunhyang Unversity Bucheon Hospital, Bucheon, Korea.

BACKGROUND: Exposure to heavy metals from environmental and industrial sources remains a concern of serious public health risk. This study was conducted to analysis the relationship between heavy metal concentrations and bone density. METHODS: This study used data from a nation-based sample of Koreans (n=2,429) from 2008 to 2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We were obtained heavy metals (lead, mercury and cadmium), socioeconomic and demographic factors and bone mineral density (BMD) measured by T-score. RESULTS: Menopausal women, current smoker or the frequent alcohol drinking, low educational level and low family income were greater in the osteopenia or osteoporosis groups than normal group, and were associated with an increased blood heavy metal concentration levels. The highest quartile group in blood lead had a 1.47 times (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.16-1.87) risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis. In case of blood cadmium, the risk for osteopenia or osteoporosis increased 2.1 times (95% CI 1.64-2.68). CONCLUSIONS: We observed a significant association between blood heavy metals (lead and cadmium) levels and low BMD. Our findings suggest that heavy metal exposure may be a risk factor for osteoporosis.

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