Mortality and burden of disease from lead
Situation and trends
In 2004, exposure to lead has caused 143,000 deaths in adults from cardiovascular diseases. Among the 9.0 million DALYs caused by lead exposure, 1.8 million DALYs were due to cardiovascular diseases in adults, and 7.2 million DALYs were a result of mild mental retardation due to lead-associated IQ deficits. 98% of this disease burden occurred in developing countries.
Although exposure is on the decline due to targeted policy actions, in particular the wide-spread outphasing of leaded gasoline, exposure to lead remains an important cause of disease. In 2004, 0.6% of the global burden of disease (in DALYs) was attributable to exposure to lead. The highest lead-associated rates of disease occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asian regions, where exposures also remain the highest.