Mixed heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury exert adverse effects on kidney function, with the effects more pronounced among postmenopausal than premenopausal women, a study has found.
The study used data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009–2017) and included 5,372 women. Researchers examined the associations of single heavy metals and their mixtures with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) using multivariate linear regression models, marginal effects, and weighted quantile sum regression.
Results showed that postmenopausal women had higher risks of reduced eGFR, comorbidities, and heavy metal exposure than premenopausal women.
Among postmenopausal women, eGFR had a negative association with cadmium (β, −2.97, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], −5.10 to −0.85) and a positive association with mercury (β, 2.97, 95 percent CI, 1.49–4.44).
Meanwhile, lead exposure was inversely associated with eGFR among both premenopausal (β, −4.75, 95 percent CI, −6.04 to −3.46) and postmenopausal women (β, −4.54, 95 percent CI, −6.96 to −2.13).
Interaction effects were detected between lead and mercury and between cadmium and lead for eGFR, with the effects greater among postmenopausal women (β, −3.52, 95 percent CI, −6.04 to −1.01) than premenopausal women (β, −2.04, 95 percent CI, −2.98 to −1.10).
The findings highlight a need for early interventions such as water filtering and heavy metal yearly screening in women, especially postmenopausal women, to reduce the incidence of chronic kidney disease.