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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.


Originally published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health vol. 6 iss. 7 2009.

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph6071930

© 2009 by the authors; licensee Molecular Diversity Preservation International, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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