One of the Dangers of Lead Exposure: Learning Deficits

Research Explains How Lead Exposure Produces Learning Deficits. ‘A study of young adult rats by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provides evidence that explains exactly how exposure to lead during brain development produces learning deficits. The study shows that exposure to levels of lead that are similar to those measured in lead-intoxicated children reduces the birth and survival of new neurons (neurogenesis) in the brain. Lead also alters the normal development of newly born neurons in a part of the brain (hippocampus) known to be important for learning and memory. The study is published in the March 30, 2007, issue of Neuroscience.’

EPA: An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality – Lead. ‘Lead has long been recognized as a harmful environmental pollutant. In late 1991, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services called lead the “number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States.” There are many ways in which humans are exposed to lead: through air, drinking water, food, contaminated soil, deteriorating paint, and dust. Airborne lead enters the body when an individual breathes or swallows lead particles or dust once it has settled. Before it was known how harmful lead could be, it was used in paint, gasoline, water pipes, and many other products.’

NSC: Lead Poisoning – What is it and who is affected?. ‘Lead is a highly toxic substance, exposure to which can produce a wide range of adverse health effects. Both adults and children can suffer from the effects of lead poisoning, but childhood lead poisoning is much more frequent. Over the many years since we have known about the hazards of lead, tens of millions of children have suffered its health effects.’



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