Scientists have linked the presence of lead in tap water with the risk of anemia in chronic kidney disease. Research published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Lead is one of the substances whose concentration is regulated by special sanitary standards. In Russia, the maximum permissible concentration of lead in drinking water is set at 0.03 milliliters per liter, in the USA – 0.015. American scientists have determined that even in this amount, this metal can be dangerous for people with chronic kidney disease.
Authors of a new study analyzed the medical records of almost 600,000 patients who underwent dialysis (a blood purification procedure that is required for kidney dysfunction) from 2005 to 2017. The scientists compared these data with the concentration of lead in the tap water of the cities in which these people lived during the five years prior to dialysis.
Since lead can interfere with red blood cell function, the researchers focused on the hemoglobin levels in the blood of the study participants. It turned out that people who lived in cities where lead was present in tap water, even in acceptable amounts, had significantly less hemoglobin. They also received more medication to treat anemia.
“For people with increased susceptibility to the effects of lead, such as those with chronic kidney disease, there is no safe level of lead in drinking water,” John said. Danziger of Harvard Medical School, co-author of the study.
An increase in the concentration of lead in water for every 0.01 milliliter per liter was associated with a decrease in hemoglobin levels of 0.02 grams per deciliter in the blood of patients.
“To protect people from unrecognized threats, sustained efforts are needed to improve water infrastructure,” says Danziger.
Whether lead in water leads to other problems in kidney patients, new research will show.