Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Another Test for Lead Effects: Early Childhood Exposure Influences End-of-Grade Scores

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Another Test for Lead Effects: Early Childhood Exposure Influences End-of-Grade Scores

Article excerpt

Low-level lead exposure has been linked to decreased aptitude--or ability to learn--on standardized IQ tests for school-aged children. Moreover, research studies have suggested that declines in aptitude occur at blood lead levels below the current CDC blood lead action level of 10 [micro]g/dL. Now a team of scientists has studied how lead exposure affects educational achievement--how well children have mastered material taught in school [EHP 115:1242-1247; Miranda et al.]. The results show that blood lead levels far lower than 10 [micro]g/dL in early childhood correlate with lower educational achievement in elementary school as measured by performance on end-of-grade (EOG) tests.

Data for the study came from two large databases generated by two different offices of the State of North Carolina for the same population but at different time periods. Blood surveillance data were provided by a state registry for seven adjacent North Carolina counties. The scientists used screening data from 1995 through 1998 for 35,815 children. For children who were screened more than once, the researchers used the highest blood lead level recorded. During this period, an estimated 21.9-30.4% of North Carolina children aged 1 and 2 years were screened for lead.

The North Carolina Education Research Data Center provided educational testing data from 2000-2004 for fourth-grade students in the sevencounty study region. …

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