Lead stored in women’s bones and released when they reach menopause multiplies their risk of potentially fatal high blood pressure, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

A study of more than 2,000 women aged 40 to 59 found the quarter with the highest levels of lead in their blood were at 3.4 times the risk of developing high blood pressure than those with the lowest levels of lead.

Roughly one in five women in that age group suffers from high blood pressure. High blood pressure is closely linked to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among women.
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