Background - That lead is harmful to multiple systems of the human body has been known since antiquity and numerous recent studies have shown that blood transfusion may be an important source of exposure to lead in blood recipients. In this study factors influencing elevated lead levels in blood samples from donors in Qingdao, a city in northern China were investigated to provide screening procedures for blood donors and safer blood transfusions for blood recipients.
Materials and methods - In 2021, subjects from 15 blood donation sites in Qingdao were selected by stratified random sampling. Blood lead levels (BLL) were analyzed by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. Multiple linear regression and logistic regression models were used to analyze factors influencing BLL.
Results - Of 2,142 blood donors, 1,434 were male and 708 were female, with an average age of 34.8 years. The geometric mean of BLL was 26.03 μg/L (95% confidence interval: 25.52-26.56), and donors in the high blood lead group (≥35 μg/L) accounted for 25.6% of the study population. Multiple linear regression results showed BLL was associated with gender, age, place of residence, duration of residence, and smoking status. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that male, increasing age, living in Jimo, duration of residence ≥30 years, and smoking were risk factors for high BLL, with odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) being 2.10 (1.61-2.73), 1.03 (1.01-1.04), 3.89 (1.09-13.86), 1.64 (1.22-2.20), and 1.76 (1.40-2.22), respectively.
Discussion - Male, advanced age, living in Jimo, smoking, and duration of residence ≥30 years were associated with higher BLL. Infusion of blood with elevated lead concentration can be reduced by screening out donors presenting one or more of the above risk factors.
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