Exposure to Lead, A Potentially Hazardous Toxin: Paget's Disease of Bone

his report details observations of the association between Paget's disease of bone and occupational or environmental exposure to lead according to our previously reported hypothesis. The patients in the present study were males, ranging in age from 34 to 91 years, average age 73 years, with established diagnosis of Paget's disease. Detailed life-long histories of occupational activities and environmental exposure to toxins were obtained by personal interviews from 44 of a total of 48 patients with Paget's disease. The interviews were conducted independently by a physician and a registered nurse. Histories were not available from four patients. All 44 patients interviewed were, according to their histories, occupationally or environmentally exposed to lead for 2-50 years. The time interval from the start of lead exposure to the initial diagnosis of Paget's disease ranged from 8 to 52 years, with an average of 34 years. The histories of occupational or environmental exposure to lead in 44 of 48 patients, in 92%, or in all patients who were interviewed, suggests that there may be a possible relationship between exposure to lead and the pathogenesis of Paget's disease of bone. A detailed occupational history, comprising the life-long work history, is necessary to demonstrate this association.

H Spencer, V O'Sullivan, SJ Sontag J Trace Elem Exp Med 1995;8:163-171