A new study suggests that lead may be harmful even at very low blood concentrations. The study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, will appear in the April 17 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.
The five-year study found that children who have blood lead concentration lower than 10 micrograms per deciliter suffer intellectual impairment from the exposure. The researchers also discovered that the amount of impairment attributed to lead was most pronounced at lower levels. The study was carried out by researchers from Cornell University, Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center, and the University of Rochester School of Medicine.
An important feature of this new study is its focus on children with blood lead levels below 10 micrograms per deciliter, a threshold currently used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to define an elevated lead level. Previous research has been concerned primarily with leads effects in the 10 to 30 micrograms per deciliter range, yet the new study finds lead-related impairments at lower levels.
Tom Hawkins | EurekAlert!
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