Lead exposure alters the trajectory of children's lives decades later, study finds

Those who had high blood levels of lead as children -more than 10 micrograms per deciliter - scored on average 4 points lower on the IQ scale at age 38 than kids exposed to lower levels of lead.

Dr Nick Wilson, of the University of Otago's Department of Public Health in Wellington, said the oil industry, and specifically Associated Octel which supplied the lead added to New Zealand petrol, should take some of the blame for the damage caused before lead was banned from being added to petrol in 1996. Childhood lead exposure ascertained as blood lead levels were measured at age 11 years. Moreover, participants above this level of concern showed a mean decline of -1.68 IQ points from childhood to adulthood, said the authors - in contrast to those who were at or below the worldwide level of concern, whose IQ level rose by 1.22 points on average (2.90-point difference, 95% CI 1.20-4.61, P 0.001), said the authors. "The vast majority of the children were just elevated, just the 5 micrograms [per decilitre of blood], so they really lost only one IQ point, but there were a few children who had quite high lead levels and they are the ones that are bringing the effect to the fore".

The study showed that for each five-microgram increase in childhood blood lead, a person lost about 1.5 IQ points by age 38.

And 94 percent of children had blood-lead levels greater than five micrograms per deciliter, the level at which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to be a public-health intervention.

Another finding: Adults who had higher lead levels at age 11 had poorer-paying jobs than those with lower lead levels in childhood.

And although lead was phased out of gasoline in New Zealand and the United States, soil surrounding major roadways is still a hazard. While lead paint was banned in housing construction in NY in 1960, buildings built before 1960 still have high amounts of lead which landlords, especially in impoverished neighborhoods, are reluctant to remove. For the study, the team included 1,037 participants from New Zealand. The children growing up in 1970s New Zealand likely experienced ongoing lead exposures during childhood, mainly from emissions in the air.


Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that can accumulate in a child's bloodstream, then settle in the bones, teeth and soft tissues and build up in the body. Children playing outside either inhaled lead-laden dust or swallowed small amounts of leaded soil, which remains in the body.

The researchers also compared changes in social standing using the New Zealand Socio-economic Index.

"Regardless of where you start in life, lead is going to exert a downward pull", said Avshalom Caspi, Edward M. Arnett Professor of psychology & neuroscience and psychiatry & behavioral sciences at Duke, who is a co-author on the paper. The occupations they held at age 38 tended to be slightly less well-paid or prestigious than their parents had.

Still, the findings were stark enough to prompt David C. Bellinger, a professor of environmental health at Harvard, to write in an accompanying JAMA editorial that much more needs to be done to eliminate lead exposures in every form. The authors noted that 259 participants had blood lead levels above the worldwide level of concern (10 µg/dL) and 531 participants had blood lead levels above the current reference value of 5 µg/dL.

Main author Aaron Reuben, a Duke PhD candidate, said the lower job status was "partially but significantly explained by the loss of IQ".

'The cognitive deficits associated with lead persisted for decades, and showed in the kinds of occupations people got, ' he said.


Popular
  • Bears player calls Hernandez 'my guy' at double-murder trial

    Prosecutor Mark Lee noted that Crawford could recall various details of the night during his grand jury testimony. Prosecutors say Hernandez shot Bradley because, as a witness to the Boston shooting, he knew too much.
    Saudi Arabia Wants Trump to Drop 9/11 Terror Victims Law

    Saudi Arabia Wants Trump to Drop 9/11 Terror Victims Law

    But Congress unanimously passed the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" last fall, which permits such lawsuits to proceed. The law allows the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia and seek compensation from its government.
    Rare cancer linked to deaths with textured breast implants, FDA says

    Rare cancer linked to deaths with textured breast implants, FDA says

    If you have patients with breast implants, you should continue to provide them routine care and support. This applies to both saline and silicone implants.
  • What James Gunn Thinks Of The Justice League Trailer

    USA Today published a new interview with director Zack Snyder to coincide with the release of the new Justice League trailer. The trailer runs two and a half minutes and shows off Aquaman in full-on combat mode, both underwater and in the streets.

    Trump administration approves previously delayed Keystone XL pipeline

    The State Department was formally responsible for the permit TransCanada was given to construct a line that crosses the US border. The company has said it has agreements for more than 90 percent of the route on the US side, according to The Washington Post .
    Starbucks To Hire More Vets, Confirms Expansion Plans

    Starbucks To Hire More Vets, Confirms Expansion Plans

    The goal, an expansion of a plan set in motion three years ago to hire 10,000 veterans by 2018 - a goal it has already reached. Schultz, referring those who believe the company has lost its luster, said, "They don't know what they're talking about".
  • Amazon tests grocery pickup service in Seattle

    Groups within Amazon are often encouraged to come up with zany initiatives, of which many are shelved after further discussion. It is a very large market and one now dominated by regular markets on the street, paving the way for a new supermarket chain.
    Republicans cancel Thursday health care vote

    Republicans cancel Thursday health care vote

    The GOP-controlled House will delay its vote on the bill , called the American Health Care Act , sources told CNBC. If all Democrats and 23 Republicans in the House vote against the bill, it would be defeated.

    Barbados, Jamaica in Brazilian meat bans

    The government has suspended exports from the 21 companies under investigation, but that has not quelled concern overseas . Trotman has advised retailers to withdraw all Brazilian meat products from their shelves.
  • Saints coach Payton: Team not looking to bring in Manziel

    Saints coach Payton: Team not looking to bring in Manziel

    The 27-year-old cornerback is now left with two options: get traded, or return to the Patriots for $3.91 million. Currently, it's my understanding he hasn't signed his tender, so it was just that.

    Police investigating Bellagio casino burglary in Las Vegas

    According to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, three men walked into the Bellagio dressed in "dark, nice suits" and animals masks. When it wouldn't start, they tried to carjack someone else's auto , and then tried to run away, the Las Vegas Sun reported .

    Vladimir Putin denies French election interference after Marine Le Pen meeting

    Le Pen said in Moscow that financial aid to her party had "in no way" been discussed during her meeting with Putin. The party yesterday dismissed the possibility of seeking further funding from a Russian bank. [nL5N1GT6JO] " Mr.

CONNECT