Lead exposure among pregnant U.S. women was examined via the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009–2016 data to examine its role in bad cholesterol and oxidative stress. Mean values of the clinical markers non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-c) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), a marker of oxidative stress, were explored. In four quartiles of lead exposure, clinical makers were compared. Binary logistic regression predicted the likelihood of elevated clinical markers in pregnant compared to non-pregnant women, while linear regression was used to examine associations between blood lead levels (BLL) and the clinical markers of interest. Mean non-HDL-c was statistically significantly more elevated in pregnant women than non-pregnant women. Mean GGT levels were more statistically significantly elevated in the highest quartile of BLL exposure among pregnant women than in the lower quartiles. In binary logistic regression models, pregnant women were statistically significantly more likely to have elevated non-HDL-c, while in linear regression BLL was statistically significantly associated with GGT levels in pregnant women. Lead exposure in pregnant women is an issue of public health concern that must continue to be studied.
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