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Blood lead levels and delayed onset of puberty in a longitudinal study of Russian boys
Lee Lab Publications
  • Paige L. Williams, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Oleg Sergeyev, Samara State Medical University
  • Mary M. Lee, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Susan A. Korrick, Harvard Medical School
  • Jane S. Burns, Harvard University
  • Olivier Humblet, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Julie T. Del Prato, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Boris Revich, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Russ Hauser, Harvard School of Public Health
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Pediatrics; Department of Cell Biology
Publication Date
Document Type
Adolescent; Body Size; Child; Cohort Studies; Food Habits; Health Surveys; Humans; Lead; Lead Poisoning; Longitudinal Studies; Male; Proportional Hazards Models; Puberty, Delayed; Russia; Sexual Maturation; Socioeconomic Factors

OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the association of blood lead levels (BLLs) with pubertal onset in a longitudinal cohort of Russian boys.

METHODS: A total of 489 Russian boys were enrolled in 2003-2005, at 8 to 9 years of age, and were monitored annually through May 2008. Cox proportional-hazards models were used to evaluate the association of BLLs at enrollment with time to pubertal onset during follow-up monitoring.

RESULTS: A total of 481 boys had BLLs, with a median of 3 microg/dL and 28% with values of > or =5 microg/dL. The proportion of pubertal boys increased with age, from 12% at age 8 to 83% at age 12 for testicular volume of >3 mL, from 22% to 90% for genitalia stage 2 or higher, and from 4% to 40% for pubic hair stage 2 or higher. After adjustment for potential confounders including BMI and height, boys with high BLLs (> or =5 microg/dL) had 24% to 31% reduced risk of pubertal onset, on the basis of testicular volume of >3 mL (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.73 [95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.55-0.97]; P = .03), genitalia staging (HR: 0.76 [95% CI: 0.59-0.98]; P = .04), and pubic hair staging (HR: 0.69 [95% CI: 0.44-1.07]; P = .10), compared with those with lower BLLs. Pubertal onset occurred 6 to 8 months later, on average, for boys with high BLLs, compared with those with BLLs of <5 microg>/dL.

CONCLUSION: Higher BLLs were associated with later pubertal onset in this prospective study of peripubertal Russian boys.

DOI of Published Version
Pediatrics. 2010 May;125(5):e1088-96. Epub 2010 Apr 5. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Paige L. Williams, Oleg Sergeyev, Mary M. Lee, Susan A. Korrick, et al.. "Blood lead levels and delayed onset of puberty in a longitudinal study of Russian boys" Vol. 125 Iss. 5 (2010) ISSN: 0031-4005 (Linking)
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