Toxic Lead: Early Exposure Could be Lowering Childrens IQ

State and federal policies now limit the use of lead in gasoline paint and plumbing but children can still ingest the metal through contaminated soil. The effects of even fairly small amounts can be long-lasting the evidence suggests
Lead exposure alters the trajectory of children's lives decades later, study finds

30 March, 2017

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.

Aaron Reuben, M.E.M., of Duke University, Durham, N.C., and colleagues conducted a study that included participants of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, an investigation of health and behavior of individuals born between April 1972 and March 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand. This could have an effect on the type of jobs and the level of income of people who had exposure to lead (Pb) in childhood.

In Reuben's study, every 5 microgram increase in lead concentration in the blood at age 11 corresponded to a drop in IQ of 1.6 points at age 38 - primarily because of a drop in scores on perceptual reasoning and working memory. It further noted that lead levels in the blood are higher in childhood while the loss of IQ happens in adulthood.

"This is despite the fact that in the 1970s this same study [the Dunedin Study] was one of the best in the world at showing that lead was damaging the IQ of children". Each person had their blood lead levels measured when they were 11 years old, and the researchers followed up with blood tests about decades later, when they were 38.

Not surprisingly, participants with blood lead levels above 10 µg/dL scored -2.73 mean IQ points lower (95% CI -4.34 to -1.12, P 0.001) than their peers with normal or lower blood lead levels, after adjusting for childhood IQ level and other factors. This suggests a link between work achievement and lower IQ due to childhood lead exposure, the researchers said.

According to Reuben, New Zealand had some of the highest lead and gasoline levels of anywhere in the world.

"Lead exposure is very rare in Kiwi children today". People in New Zealand actually exhibit the exact same situation, according to a renowned Dunedin study.

"For communities that have experienced collective lead exposure events and for countries where lead exposures are still routinely above health standards, the findings raise questions about the reasonable duration and magnitude of public responses".

More news: The First Official 'Justice League' Trailer is Finally Here

Children playing outside near roads either inhaled lead-laden dust or swallowed small amounts of leaded soil.

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.

The study also compared changes in social standing using a measure from the New Zealand government that plots families on a 6-point scale. The results don't apply only to the generation now entering middle age, Bellinger says that lead exposure could potentially affect more generations. "If everyone takes a hit from environmental pollutants, society as a whole suffers".

This was slightly higher than the historical "level of concern" for lead exposure in the 1990s.

CITATION: "Association of Childhood Blood Lead Levels With Cognitive Function and Socioeconomic Status at Age 38 Years and With IQ Change and Socioeconomic Mobility Between Childhood and Adulthood", Aaron Reuben, Avshalom Caspi, Daniel Belsky, Jonathan Broadbent, Honalee Harrington, Karen Sugden, Renate Houts, Sandhya Ramrakha, Richie Poulton, Terrie Moffitt. After various statistical controls were applied to the data, "the decline in occupational status is partially but significantly explained by the loss of IQ", he said.

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

This study was supported in part by grants from the US National Institute on Aging, as well as United Kingdom government grants.

More news

  • Where will Raiders play next season? Lawyers reviewing lease

    Where will Raiders play next season? Lawyers reviewing lease

    Another possibility for the Raiders would be moving in with the 49ers at Levi's Stadium for a season or two. It will be a odd and potentially ugly situation with the Raiders as a lame-duck team in the Bay Area.
    Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine 'killed by own men'

    Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine 'killed by own men'

    Mughniyeh, who was Badreddine's brother-in-law, was killed in a 2008 auto bombing in Damascus that Hezbollah blamed on Israel. In a statement, the military said the "Skylark" went down on Sunday and that the incident was being investigated.

    Trump shifts blame to conservatives on health care bill failure

    While they know the Freedom Caucus may be the biggest reason the healthcare bill failed, they weren't the only ones against it. He said that Democrats shouldn't be applauding this because America's health care system still requires some serious changes.
  • Adele May Never Tour Again

    Adele May Never Tour Again

    Adele's promoter Michael Coppel warned her fans Down Under that this could likely be her last series of shows in the region. For the record, she's on tour because she wanted to see fans who have been supporting her since.

    Gunman barricades himself in bus in Las Vegas

    Police surrounded the bus as they investigated the shooting, Officer Larry Hadfield told CNN. Police have confirmed one person has been shot and transported to UMC Trauma.
    Families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia

    Families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia

    In addition, the lawsuit also argued the September 11 attacks were not possible without the involvement of the Saudi royal family. The families say Saudi Arabia's support of the organization directly caused the deaths of more than 3,000 people.
  • Trump says he expects a health care deal soon

    Trump says he expects a health care deal soon

    Trump's first visit to a golf course since becoming President was on February 4 at the Trump International Golf Club in Florida. In other words, Trump is attempting to use his power as president to grab power for the 1% while destroying the 99%.
    Saints won't give CB Malcolm Butler offer sheet

    Saints won't give CB Malcolm Butler offer sheet

    If he waits until after the draft (April 27-29), one would think that increases the chances he's playing for the Patriots in 2017. Currently, it's my understanding he hasn't signed his tender, so it was just that.

    Amazon tests grocery pickup service in Seattle

    Specifically, the Journal says Amazon has had issues with tracking transactions when over 20 people are in the store. Amazon is offering this service for free to Amazon Prime members which provides them more bang for their buck.
  • Ford recalls 440K vehicles for fire risk, door latch trouble

    Ford recalls 440K vehicles for fire risk, door latch trouble

    About 208,584 of the affected vehicles are in the US and federalized territories, 21,854 are in Canada and 318 are in Mexico. It's adding another 211,000 vehicles to the mix, including the 2014 Fiesta, 2013-2014 Fusion and the 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ.
    III Apparel Group, Ltd. (GIII) Trading Down 3.3% After Earnings Miss

    III Apparel Group, Ltd. (GIII) Trading Down 3.3% After Earnings Miss

    The current share price indicate that stock is -62.00% away from its one year high and is moving -7.56% ahead of its 52-week low. Finally, SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new position in G-III Apparel Group during the third quarter worth $338,000.
    Spending £100m on Hazard no problem for Real Madrid, says former president

    Spending £100m on Hazard no problem for Real Madrid, says former president

    Hazard is said to be keen on a move to Real Madrid , and on Sunday it was claimed the Belgian global is learning Spanish. AS: Chelsea boss Antonio Conte wants to sign Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata .