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Child Neuropsychol. 2003 Mar;9(1):22-34.

The relationship between blood lead, bone lead and child intelligence.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and New York State Pyschiatric Institute, New York City, 10032, USA.


We report associations between serial measures of blood lead and intelligence in children age 10-12 years, half heavily exposed to lead from the prenatal period onward, and half relatively unexposed. For a subsample, we examine bone lead-IQ associations, comparing them with bone lead associations. Both blood and bone lead levels were associated with intelligence decrements, small relative to the contribution of social factors. For each doubling of Tib-Pb, Full Scale, Performance, and Verbal IQ decreased by an estimated 5.5, 6.2, and 4.1 points, respectively. Bone lead-IQ associations were stronger than those for blood lead, which nonetheless provide robust analogues. Current BPb, easy to obtain, provides a useful means for assessing Pb exposure/IQ associations.

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