Recently, scientists have found that four common metals, including lead, copper, cadmium, and arsenic, are linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke.
Previous research has shown that exposure to environmental toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, copper, and mercury is a major global health problem.
In the current study, the researchers reviewed 37 studies published before December 2017 involving almost 350,000 participants.
These studies examined the association of arsenic, lead, copper, cadmium, and mercury with coronary heart disease and stroke.
In the studies, a total of 13,033 coronary heart disease, 4,205 strokes, and 15,274 cardiovascular outcomes were reported.
The review found that exposure to arsenic was linked to a 23% higher risk of coronary heart disease and a 30% higher risk of composite cardiovascular disease. There was no association with risk of stroke.
The team also found that exposures to cadmium and copper were linked to higher risks of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
In addition, exposure to lead and cadmium was linked to an increased risk of stroke.
The team found mercury was not linked to heart disease and stroke.
The researchers suggest that their review was solely based on observational data.
Future research needs to directly test the cause and effect between exposure to toxic metals and heart disease and stroke.
They believe their findings reinforce the importance of environmental toxic metals in enhancing global cardiovascular risk.
The research leader was Rajiv Chowdhury from the University of Cambridge.
The study is published in The BMJ.
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