Childhood lead exposure damage can be long-lasting: study

February 11, 2010

Childhood lead exposure has a long-lasting impact on the brain, indicates research from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Using brain imaging tests, researchers discovered that adults who had a high level of lead exposure during their childhood were more likely to have decreased activity in the areas of the brain related to attention and impulse control. "What our study is showing is that long after exposure is over, the effects [of lead] are irreversible," said researcher Kim Cecil.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 310,000 children 5 and younger have elevated blood-lead levels.

The research was presented at a meeting of the Oak Brook, IL-based Radiological Society of North America.