Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Testing Lead's Limits: Time for Another Reassessment of Guidelines?

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Testing Lead's Limits: Time for Another Reassessment of Guidelines?

Article excerpt

Cohort data during the 1980s linked blood lead levels of at least 10 [mu]g/dL with low cognitive test scores in children, prompting the decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to redefine the action level for elevated blood lead from 25 to 10 [mu]/dL. Now, new data add to the growing evidence that the 10-[mu]g/dL level may not be protective [EHP 116:243-248; Jusko et al.].

The investigators recruited children aged 24-30 months who had been previously enrolled in a dust control study. All the children were born between July 1994 and January 1995 and lived in Rochester, New York, with parents expressing no plans to relocate. To reduce the possibility of misclassification of exposure, blood samples were collected for measuring blood lead on up to 8 occasions (at ages 6, 12, and 18 months, and annually from age 2 through 6 years).

The children were given the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence during their 6-year visit by an examiner trained in neurobehavioral testing and blinded to each child's blood lead level. These assessments were made at an age when IQ is measured reliably and is a significant predictor of IQ scores and educational and occupational success during adolescence and adulthood. …

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