Cognitive development and low-level lead exposure in poly-drug exposed children
The impact of early postnatal lead exposure measured at age 4 on children's IQ and academic achievement at and 11 years of age was examined. The sample consisted of 278 inner-city, primarily African American children who were polydrug exposed prenatally. Regression analyses indicated a linear effect of lead exposure on outcomes and no moderating effects of polydrug exposure. An IQ loss of about 4.1–5.4 Full Scale IQ points was estimated for each 10 µg/dL increase in blood lead level at ages 4, 9, and 11 years as a function of blood lead level at age 4.
Decrements in scores on tests of non-verbal reasoning were consistently associated with higher lead levels at age 4, while verbal decrements became apparent only at age 11. Lower reading summary scores at 9 and 11 years were consistently associated with higher lead exposure, while decrements in mathematics were not apparent until 11 years. Subgroup analyses on children with blood lead levels < 10 μg/dL showed detrimental lead effects even at the 5 μg/dL level, providing additional evidence of adverse effects occurring at blood lead levels below the current 10 μg/dL public health blood lead action level.
Min, M.O., Singer, L.T., Kirchner, H.L., Minnes, S., Short, E., Hussain, Z., Nelson, S. (2009). Cognitive development and low-level lead exposure in poly-drug exposed children. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 31(4), pp. 225-231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ntt.2009.03.002